How to Apply

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Those interested in visiting should apply at least five months before they intend to visit, because of the length of time it can sometimes take for visa paperwork to be processed.

To apply, please submit:

  • A statement of objectives and outline of a research plan, not to exceed 500 words.
  • A current curriculum vitae or resume, including publication record.
  • The specific dates of the intended visit (mm/dd/yyyy), including start date and end date.
  • Two letters of recommendation from those qualified to speak to scholarly and academic achievements.
  • A list of any and all family members who may accompany the visiting scholar and a photocopy of the visiting research scholar's passport photo page and each traveler's passport photo page.
  • Fill out and returnVisiting Scholar Agreement form (PDF).
  • Fill out and return DS-2019 II - Personal Information Form
  • Fill out and return Release of Liability form (PDF).
  • The sources and amounts of funding (upon acceptance as a research scholar, for the final stage of the visa process, this documentation has to be the original, signed document), either mailed directly to UNC Law or uploaded via our Secure Document Upload

English language proficiency documents for j-1 visa

The English language assessments described below are internationally recognized and widely available. “Secure testing sites” means that the identity of the test taker is verified and that testing materials are protected from unauthorized distribution.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL score). Measures academic English proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in a single test. Developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) at secure testing sites. Fee varies by country. Score required by J-1 Visa administration for VRS Program at UNC School of Law is 68-78.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS score). Two versions of the test are available: academic and general English, academic version is needed. Measures proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in a single test. Developed and administered by the British Council at secure testing sites. Fee varies by country. Score on academic version required by J-1 Visa administration for VRS Program at UNC School of Law: 6.5 or above.

ProFluent+. (OPI score). This test is the webcam version of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), described in detail below. Measures oral proficiency in a semi-structured interview with a certified rater. Developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and administered by Language Testing International via webcam from any location. Not accepted for university admission but broadly accepted for professional purposes. Level necessary for community interaction and exchange: Intermediate High.

Proficiency Guidelines

Oral Proficiency Interview. The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is a semi-structured interview designed to assess what a learner can and cannot do in their foreign language. It is designed to resemble a casual conversation which lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Interviews take place in person, by telephone, or online. They are rated by people who have been trained and certified as OPI raters by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The OPI is administered by Language Testing International. If the test is taken by telephone or by computer, test takers must arrange for a test proctor according to strict guidelines. If it is taken with a webcam (ProFluent+ version described above), no proctor is necessary.

The UNC-CH International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office will accept the following for the mandated proof of English Language Proficiency:

  1. Recognized English language test – must minimally include speaking and listening; with preferably speaking, listening, reading and writing included

    1. TOEFL
    2. IELTS
    3. ProFluent+
  2. Transcripts or other documented evidence from an English language school or academic institution in the U.S. or another English-speaking country (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and English-medium Universities in Canada and South Africa of having attended full-time for at least one academic year within five years of arriving to UNC-Chapel Hill, or documented evidence of having been employed and having resided in the U.S. or one of the countries listed above for at least two years.

This requirement can be waived if:

  • The individual will transfer their current J-1 status to UNC Chapel Hill from another U.S. institution, where the individual has meet this requirement already

  • The individual is a native or permanent resident of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or English-speaking regions of Canada or South Africa
  • ISSS deems appropriate based on other outstanding circumstances


Funding Minimum Increase for Scholars Effective 1/01/2018

After thorough review of the cost of living in this area, we have determined it is necessary to raise the minimum funding requirement for our J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors. The funding requirements will increase as follows effective 1/01/2018:

$2,000 per month for J-1 scholars

$800 per month for first dependent (spouse or child)

$400 per month for each additional dependent

ISSS expects to have updated request forms with this information ready for distribution by mid-December. All requests received after 1/01/2018 must meet the new funding requirements.


Effective 8/1/17, HTH Health Insurance is now GeoBlue:

  1. Scholars self-enroll in the policy online

  2. Scholars can pay for coverage using most major credit cards
  3. The policy covers pre-existing conditions from day one
  4. Rates are weekly instead of monthly
  5. Scholars may enroll from abroad before arrival
  6. GeoBlue is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network (prior HTH plans were part of Aetna network)

ISSS pre-arrival documents have been updated accordingly. Scholars who are currently enrolled in HTH will continue under those policies until the termination of their coverage period. Therefore, we will have some scholars on HTH coverage and others on GeoBlue as we transition over the next year. All new enrollments will be with GeoBlue and scholars will self-enroll. Please direct scholars with enrollment questions or questions regarding how to use a plan other than GeoBlue to Kory or Jane at ISSS. Federal regulations make health insurance a condition of the J-1 exchange visitor status in the U.S. and specify the types and levels of coverage. The requirement applies to all exchange visitors and J-2 dependents for the entire duration of the J-1 program. UNC has contracted with GeoBlue to provide health insurance coverage that meets these requirements for our J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors. You do not need to be in the U.S. to enroll in coverage. We encourage scholars to purchase insurance before arriving to the U.S. when possible.

Policy rates for GeoBlue:

J-1 Exchange Visitor: $23.80 per week

J-1 Exchange Visitor + J-2 spouse: $103.95 per week

J-1 Exchange Visitor + J-2 child(ren): $61.30 per week

J-1 Exchange Visitors +J-2  family (spouse and 1 or more children): $141.45 per week

GeoBlue accepts payments using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

View a brochure of the GeoBlue insurance plan.

Information on the Department of State’s health insurance requirement for J-1 exchange visitors can be found online in our J-1 Scholar Welcome Handout.

Outside Health Insurance Coverage Programs

Scholars may continue to use outside policies if they meet the U.S. Department of State’s requirements and the insurance provider can complete the Insurance Certification for ISSS confirming their policy meets these mandatory coverage requirements.

Fee for Visiting Scholars and Researchers

The fee for Visiting Scholars and Visiting Researchers is $5,000 per semester ($10,000 for the academic year). The fee is to be paid upon arrival, not before. In cases where the length of stay is known from the start that it will be significantly less than a semester or year, the fee will be pro-rated. There is no additional charge for the summer months period following the spring semester or if the research scholar comes during the summer preceding the academic fall semester.

Accommodation for Research scholars

Visiting Research Scholars at UNC School of Law are responsible for arranging their own housing accommodations while at UNC. They are not eligible for university housing, which is only available to enrolled students. However, there are many apartments for rent in Chapel Hill and Carrboro on the bus route or within walking distance from the law school. 

The Daily Tar Heel (UNC's student-run newspaper) also maintains Carolina's Finest Guide to Off-Campus Housing.
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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