Every year, SMEA receives requests from international scholars who would like to visit the UW for a short term (e.g., 3 months to 1 year) to study with faculty and/or conduct research on marine and environmental affairs related issues. SMEA has developed the following policy on Visiting Scholars. For those who are interested in coming to SMEA in this manner, please read the statement below and follow the application instructions.

Please be advised that as of January 1, 2015 there are new requirements for J-visa scholars for health/sickness/repatriation insurance and English language proficiency. Evidence of possession of the required insurance and of English language proficiency will be required prior to processing applications for Visiting Scholars on J-visas. Please visit the UW International Scholars Operations for complete information on J-visas.

SMEA Visiting Scholar Policy (Adopted February 2014)

SMEA welcomes Visiting Scholars whose substantive and research interests match with those of our faculty and students, and meet the eligibility requirements of the US government and University of Washington. Application for Visiting Scholar status at SMEA is by a faculty member agreeing to serve as sponsor for the Visitor and then nominating the Visitor for consideration. The faculty sponsor and the proposed Visiting Scholar develop a plan for the visit that clearly defines benefits for the Visitor, the faculty sponsor and SMEA more broadly.  SMEA is not in a position to provide funding for Visitors and expects Visitors to pay Visa processing fees and nominal expenses for communications and other services if provided by SMEA or the UW. The amount of funding paid by the Visiting Scholar to SMEA is determined with each application.


J-1 Visa Exchange Visitors (not citizens of the United States) must meet the eligibility requirements for the University of Washington appointment title offered to them, “Visiting Scholar” (click here for those details), including that they must hold a professorial title at another institution. Additionally, J-1 Visa Exchange Visitors must qualify for one of the following four federally regulated and defined categories: Research Scholar/Professor, Short-term Scholar, Specialist, and Student. Visiting Scholars must also provide evidence of sufficient financial support and health/sickness insurance for the duration of their visit, and must possess and demonstrate English language proficiency prior to their visa application being processed.

For more information about the UW’s J-1 Visitor program and eligibility requirements, please visit here, and visit the Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program web page here.


Faculty sponsorship entails working with the proposed visitor for a plan for the visit, assistance to the Visitor and SMEA staff on Visa procedures, intellectual and individual support for the visitors academic needs, ensuring that the Visitor is integrated, as appropriate, into the research, teaching and life of SMEA.

Application instructions:

Prospective Visiting Scholars must contact potential faculty sponsors directly to discuss and determine if they can obtain faculty sponsorship for their visit. If this support is granted, the sponsoring faculty member brings the prospective Visiting Scholar’s application forward to the SMEA faculty for a vote. If approved by the SMEA faculty, the faculty sponsor and Visiting Scholar begin the J-1 Visa application process with assistance provided by SMEA staff. Please note that it is advised that the J-1 Visa application process begin three to four months prior to the desired start date of the visit.

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