Hosting International Visitors
Hosting visiting international scholars and professionals on campus is an important part of internationalizing the campus. They bring valuable perspectives from abroad and provide opportunities for our campus and community. A few examples of the benefits include COIL collaboration, content-rich guest lectures, cooperative international research, strengthening international relationships abroad, and bringing more international awareness to Fredonia.
Many international visitors require an invitation letter, especially if they are seeking financial support or a visitor visa. Invitation letters should be requested from the Office of International Education and should be signed by the appropriate authority on campus before committing to an invitation. Contact the OIE as one of your first steps, and ensure that you've communicated plans with your direct supervisor and the relevant academic Chairs, Directors, and Deans.
Here is a breakdown of how the invitation process works:
Initial Contact and Matching
The initiation of a visit might start with a Fredonia faculty/staff member, or sometimes prospective visitors make contact on their own. Either way, the visitor will need a colleague at Fredonia who is willing to be their host for the duration of the visit. Even if the visitor has full financial support, other things might be considered including the fit of the academic disciplines, workload of the host, and available office space to support the visitor during their stay. During discussions with the prospective visitor, the host should consider how the visitor's background and interests are related to their own.
At this stage in the process, prospective visitors should submit a CV and a brief statement of purpose, and discussion should include details such as what financial support is required, specific activities they wish to do on campus, and the anticipated duration of stay. The academic department Chair and Dean should be consulted to make sure they are supportive of continuing the discussions. If there is a good match between the host and the visitor, contact the Director of the Office of International Education to finish information collection and request the invitation letter.
Stand-alone Invitation Letters
A visitor often needs an official letter verifying that Fredonia is willing to host them for a specific time period. The Office of International Education retains a set of pre-approved templates designed for different visitors' needs. Some visitors need two official letters: One to secure funding and a second to support a visa application. The Office of International Education can determine if the visitor will seek a visa independently or if they need Fredonia to help sponsor their visa.
The Director of International Education will confirm details from the visitor and will coordinate the required communication and signatures.
Visitor Invitation Letter and Visa Support Documents
Many visiting scholars need assistance with the sponsorship of a J-1 visa. There are some regulatory requirements before sponsorship can be approved, and the length of stay must be a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of one year. The Office of International Education can help determine which visa type is the most appropriate for the situation and will assist with collecting required documentation. For any visiting research scholar on a Fredonia-sponsored J-1 visa, the Office of International Education will oversee compliance and communication with the visitor on maintaining their status while in the U.S.
Roles and Responsibilities
The department/host faculty and Office of International Education will take on different roles:
|Department and Host Faculty||Office of International Education|
Once the support documents are sent to the visitor, the Office of International Education will confirm with the host and will keep in touch as procedures progress. The host should also keep in touch with the incoming scholar to coordinate academic and research activities, airport transportation options, and assistance with locating appropriate housing. If the visitor experiences any delay in their arrival, the Office of International Education should be notified to ensure that any paperwork on our end is updated.
Before arrival, the department should share the news of the visitor with the campus by submitting a Campus News story and sharing the dates and purpose of the visit at campus meetings.
Upon arrival, the visitor should report to the Office of International Education for orientation and documentation requirements. The department or faculty host should help the visitor arrange some outreach activities to the campus community to assist the visitor in facilitating cultural exchange. During the visit, it's important that the visitor engage only in approved activities. The faculty host will be the visitor's main point of contact, but if there are any questions about the activities of the visitor, consult the Director of the Office of International Education.
If the visitor will be traveling outside of the United States and then re-entering during the visit, contact the Director of the Office of International Education to make sure that the visitor has the appropriate travel signatures needed to re-enter the United States.
After the visit, the faculty host should offer a summary of the visit to the Office of International Education, and the results of the visit should be shared with the campus.