Visiting Scholar Program


Application Procedures

Thank you for your interest in becoming a visiting scholar at the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) at UC Berkeley. Please note that the entire application process may take as long as four months to complete.


Step 1 — Determine whether you meet the UC Berkeley criteria to become a visiting scholar. Applicants for visiting scholar appointments must satisfy all of the following specifications:

1A. Possess a Ph.D. or foreign equivalent conferred more than 5 years ago;


1B. Possess a Ph.D. or foreign equivalent conferred less than 5 years ago but is currently holding a professorial tenure-track position, e.g., Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor;


1C. Does not possess a Ph.D. but has substantial professional experience beyond a master's degree which permits the Center for Japanese Studies to certify to the authorizing unit that the individual functions at the level of a Ph.D. scholar;


2. Pursue a program of research which is of mutual interest to and endorsed by the Center for Japanese Studies;


3. Length of stay must be at least one month in duration.

Step 2 — Email the Center for Japanese Studies — cjs@berkeley.edu — expressing your interest in becoming a visiting scholar at the Center. Please attach 1) a current English-language curriculum vitae and list of publications; and 2) a one-page English-language research proposal which details the human and material resources the scholar wishes to make use of at Berkeley, and includes specific dates the scholar wishes to be in residence.

Upon receipt of the two documents, CJS will contact CJS-affiliated faculty members (with whom you share compatible research interests) to request to be your faculty sponsor and support your application. If you would like to request a specific faculty member, please indicate this in your research proposal (consult http://ieas.berkeley.edu/cjs/people_faculty.html for a list of CJS-affiliated faculty members).

Once we confirm the faculty member's support of your application, your application will be forwarded to the CJS Visiting Scholar Committee.

Step 3 — The CJS Visiting Scholar Committee will review your application. If your research proposal, length of stay, and academic background are compatible with the Center's academic mission, we will notify you of your preliminary acceptance by e-mail. After you received preliminary approval, please complete and mail the following documents to: Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1995 University Avenue, Suite 520G, Berkeley, CA 94704-2318.

a) Application Fee ($100) and J-1 Processing Fee ($500) (nonrefundable) – an international money order or check drawn on a U.S. bank — made payable to "U.C. Regents" — in the total amount of $600. Your application will not be processed until receipt of these fees.

b) Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) application form. Please fill out entirely.

c) DS-2019 Request form.* Applicants intending to become a visiting scholar for six months or less need to decide which J-1 visitor category to apply for: Short-Term Scholar or Research Scholar. For more information, see 24-Month Bar for J-1 visitors.

d) A financial statement verifying that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents while you are a visiting scholar at Berkeley (required amount: minimum $1,800/month for scholar, plus $500/month for spouse and $300/month for each dependent child.) The document can be a Letter from Department Chair or Dean on university letterhead stating approved sabbatical leave verifying and detailing funding for entire period of desired affiliation (see Sample Letter of Financial Proof), or a financial statement from your bank showing a sufficient balance. The letter must be dated within the past six months.

e) Photocopy of the biographical page of your passport.* If family members will accompany you, please include photocopies of their passports.

f) Proof of English Proficiency.* Per Department of State federal regulations, scholars must have “sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day bases [22 CFR 62.10(a)(2)]. Please submit one of the following documents with your application. Please note that the following recommendations are not intended to guarantee a visa approval at the embassy:

  • An objective, recognized English language test. The following scores are acceptable to fulfill the English proficiency requirement. Host departments may choose to require different scores and validity dates of scores specific to their programs.
       » International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — a score of 6.5 or higher on the academic
       » Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) — a score of 80 or higher on the iBT; or 550 or higher
          on the paper-based exam (PBT); or 213 or higher on computer-based.
  • Signed documentation from the scholar's academic institution or English language school. To satisfy the U.S. Department of State criteria, the certification by an academic institution or English language school must include the following on school letterhead stationery. Use the recommended template letter.

g) All previous DS-2019 copies. This applies only to scholars who have entered the U.S. on J-1 visas before.

* Not required for U.S. permanent residents and citizens.

Step 4 — After receipt of the completed forms and application fee, CJS will submit your application to the VSPA office for approval. The VSPA office approval will grant you visiting scholar status at the UC Berkeley campus. This process usually takes about one week. For non-US residents, CJS will then submit to the Berkeley International Office an application for a DS-2019 form, which will allow you to apply for a J-1 (Visiting Scholar) visa. The Berkeley International Office will issue the DS-2019 form two weeks after receipt of application. CJS will then mail the DS-2019 form and an official invitation letter to you.

Step 5 — After receipt of the DS-2019, you must pay a one-time Homeland Security processing fee, which can be done online. Once this fee has been paid, you may take your (and accompanying family members') DS-2019 and passport to a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country to apply for your visa. You MUST bring your DS-2019 form with you when traveling to the United States. For more information, see Understanding Your DS-2019.

Step 6 — Email CJS to establish a date to meet with a CJS-representative within the first week of your arrival to the United States.

Step 7 — Meet with a CJS representative. Please bring your (and accompanying family members')

a) DS-2019 form

b) Passport (in order for CJS to copy current visa stamp and the 1-94 form attached to passport upon entering the United States)

c) Proof of health insurance, if purchased in home country. This proof of insurance should consist of a health coverage booklet (with English translation) and/or letter, written in English, from your insurance company that details your health coverage. Click here for more information regarding health insurance.

d) An international money order or check drawn on a U.S. bank — made payable to "U.C. Regents" — for the following fees:

Fee Description
$500 J-1 Visa Processing Fee (not applicable to US residents)
$750/1,000 University Services Fee. This entitles you to use the library facilities of the nine-campus UC library system, to audit classes with professors' permission, to use the university's wireless internet service, and to establish an e-mail account. Visiting Scholars pay $750 for the year, while Visiting Student Researchers pay $1000. These fees increase if you wish to extend your appointment for a second year. See our Program Extension page for more details.
$1,000 CJS Visiting Scholar Program Fee. This one-time fee covers the administrative costs of your appointment as a visiting scholar at our center. It also entitles you to certain privileges and services at CJS for the duration of your appointment.
$500 CJS Visiting Scholar Work Space Use Fee. This fee entitles you to a work space at our assigned Visiting Scholar carrel desks (depends on availability on your date of arrival) at our center for the duration of your appointment.

At the meeting, the visiting scholar will also sign a Patent Acknowledgement Form, which is required by the University of California.

Program Extension

Financial Support

Health Insurance


Additional Information

Activities for Visiting Scholars

Partner Institutions in Japan

Former Visiting Scholars