Guidance for Those Seeking an International Visiting Scholar Invitation


Purdue University's College of Agriculture has global reach and is widely regarded worldwide for its research, education, and engagement programs. As a result, each year a large number of overseas scholars and scientists seek to visit our college to engage in collaborative research and other activities. This document outlines some best practices for becoming a guest of the university. For additional information as well as specific advice and assistance on visa issues and current university policies related to visiting scholars, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) or visit their website.

Visiting Scholars are defined as scientists, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and others affiliated with institutions other than Purdue University who wish to spend an extended period of time conducting research on campus, at the invitation of a Purdue host. Visiting Scholars are those who are not otherwise classified as employees, undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff or postdoctoral researchers by Purdue University.

Purdue is a global institution and a welcoming place for visitors seeking knowledge and culture. Researchers, students and academic and industry leaders visit campus to explore collaborative opportunities in research, teaching and outreach. Historically the College of Agriculture has hosted thousands of visitors from all over the world. In 2019 the Office of International Programs tracked nearly 1200 invitation letters issued on behalf of the Dean. This reflects the high quality of our programs, the notoriety of our faculty, and the welcoming culture of the College of Agriculture. Visiting researchers add demonstrably to the progress of collaborative science, while at the same time enriching the culture and diversity of academic departments. Many initial visits to campus have blossomed into long-term research and educational collaborations, expanding the dimensions of our global engagement far beyond what was originally envisioned.

The College of Agriculture continues to operate under university guidelines regarding Covid-19 risks. Guidance and approval for specific visitors will depend on the campus research enterprise in question, activities taking place in that lab or physical space, and overall conditions on campus. The goal in the College of Agriculture is to facilitate invitations to Visiting Scholars and support research operations, while safeguarding the health of those in the Purdue community. Campus response to Covid-19 risks will continue to evolve. Those who intend to invite Visiting Scholars should understand and communicate to the invitee that plans are subject to change. Once invited, a Visiting Scholar may be barred or delayed from entering the U.S., and cancellation of an invitation or postponement of research activities may occur at any time prior to or after arrival. This may have financial implications for the visitor or host, as well as implications for the visitor's ability to conduct planned research.

If you are seeking an invitation as a Visiting Scholar at Purdue please note that invitations are issued by specific faculty members and their departments, and all requests for an invitation should begin with identifying a host researcher/professor/department at Purdue. To do this you should:

  1. Establish communication with your host in the College of Agriculture, Purdue University.
  2. Make sure your host's research interests are compatible with your interests.
  3. Make sure the potential collaborator is an ideal and welcoming host.
  4. Consider the timing of your visit in light of the Purdue university calendar.
  5. Inquire as to whether your institution specifically promotes or supports Visiting Scholars.
  6. Plan 6-12 months in advance, since it takes substantial time to complete visa formalities.

To obtain a visitor visa to the U.S. you must document credible financial resources to support your stay in advance (please refer to the ISS website for the latest information). Funding can be in the form of:  

  • Scholarships or sponsorships from national or private sources.
  • Borlaug and Cochran fellowships from USDA.
  • Fulbright fellowships or awards.
  • Support from collaborative projects.
  • Sponsorship by your institution or government.
  • Self-support.
  • Host faculty support, if agreed upon in advance.

In some limited circumstances a Visiting Scholar can compensated while at Purdue and some portion of living expenses can be covered by the host or the host department. The employment and tax rules governing these arrangements are complex and may involve visa considerations/restrictions. Please refer to the ISS website and the host department business office for information and guidance.