Visiting Scholar Program

Each year, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES) welcomes scholars from universities and institutions throughout the world, who are drawn to UCLA for its dynamic research environment.

These visitors include academics and scholars, representing a wide range of disciplines, who’s research focuses on the study of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). They provide a valuable resource for the Center’s faculty and graduate students, as well as the Los Angeles community as a whole, and enhance UCLA’s coverage of the MENA. CNES provides limited administrative assistance to visiting scholars and helps them with access to UCLA’s library and research facilities.

Due to space and administrative limitations, there is an annual quota on the number of visiting scholars who may be invited. The Center may not be able to accommodate all qualified candidates who apply. CNES is unable to provide private office space to visiting scholars.

1. A Ph.D., or equivalent evidence of professional achievement, by the time the appointment would begin.

2. All applicants must be affiliated with an established institution (i.e., academic institutions, government, and non-governmental institutions).

3. Applicants must directly contact and obtain consent from a CNES affiliated UCLA faculty member to serve as the university sponsor for the applicant during his or her stay at UCLA and under whose direction the Visitor Scholar’s primary activity will be carried out.

4. Applicants who are non-U.S. citizens nor U.S. residents must provide documentation certifying sufficient proficiency in the English language. For more information see section below for International Applicants>Additional Documentation. The U.S. Department of State requires J-1 Exchange Visitors to have “sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, to successfully participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis." [22 CFR 62.11(a)(2)] An applicant whose first language is English and is a citizen of a country in which English is the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) is exempt from this requirement.

5. Visiting scholars are expected to be in residence at UCLA for the duration of the program and participate in the CNES lecture series.


Academic Year Program (3 quarters)
Program dates: October 1st - June 30th
Online application deadline: November 1st (during the calendar year prior to the program start date)
Program fee payment deadline: March 1st
Visa fee payment deadline (for accepted international scholars): March 1st

Summer Program (1 quarter)
Program dates: July 1st - September 30th
Online application deadline: October 1st (during the calendar year prior to the program start date)
Program fee payment deadline: February 1st
Visa fee payment deadline (for accepted international scholars): February 1st

Complete applications must be received by the deadline. Please make sure that the application is complete and correct before submission. Applicants will be notified after review, between December-January.


Application Fee: The non-refundable application fee is $700. CNES charges an administrative fee to defray the administrative costs of processing and evaluating the visiting scholar application. This application fee is non-refundable, even if the scholar is ultimately unable to visit UCLA, or if the Center is unable to accept or accommodate the applicant. Please note that submitting an application is not a guarantee of acceptance.

Program fees: The current cost for this program is $700 per quarter including the summer period.

International Scholar fees: Visitors who require a visa must pay $480 for administrative processing of the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for J-1 status and mailing fees, plus an additional cost of $55 per each dependent.

Additional Fees for Foreign Scholars: In addition to the DS-2019 processing fees, the scholar will be responsible for paying the following fees to government agencies or to the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars (DCISS) once they have received their DS-2019 form:
• SEVIS I-901 Fee: $220
• MRV Visa Application Fee: $160 (additional fees may apply depending on the U.S. Embassy)
• jPATH Orientation Fee: $59 Fee (Scholars can pay directly through the DCISS website after obtaining their DS-2019 form. jPATH is not required for visitors with a program duration of 3 months or less).

Application Process/Procedure
1. Submit an application and pay the non-refundable application fee. As part of the Visiting Scholar Application, applicants will be required to submit information and supplementary materials as listed below in Adobe PDF:
• A curriculum vitae or professional resume.
• A proposal (no more than one page) outlining the research that will be undertaken while in residence at UCLA.
• A letter of consent from a CNES affiliated faculty member, with expertise in the area of the applicant’s intended research, willing to serve as the university sponsor. Applicants must directly contact and obtain consent from the UCLA faculty member under whose direction the Visitor Scholar’s primary activity would be carried out during the applicant’s program at UCLA. The consent may be in the form of email correspondence which can be uploaded as part of the application.
• All non-U.S. citizen or resident applicants must provide documentation certifying sufficient proficiency in the English language. See section below for International Applicants>Additional Documentation

2. A CNES Faculty committee will review applications and determine which applicants are recommended for the program to the Senior Associate Vice Provost and Director of the UCLA International Institute. We are unable to provide additional documentation to scholars before a review and approval is complete.

3. Once the review is complete, the applicant will be notified. If approved, acceptance letters will list deadlines for program fees and detail information about starting the Visiting Scholar appointment and obtaining a Bruincard, which serves as a library card. For international applicants, the notification letter will inform the applicant if they have received preliminary acceptance into the program. Final acceptance requires visa approval and scholars will need to provide additional documentation and fees for visa processing, see further information below regarding international applicants below.

4. Program fees must be paid by the deadline and before the appointment commences. 

5. International applicants must obtain the appropriate J1 visa in order to qualify as a visiting scholar. Please see below for more information.

International Applicants
Once non-U.S. citizen/resident applicant scholars have received preliminary acceptance, in order to begin a visiting scholar appointment at UCLA, J-1 visa status must be obtained for the duration of their program. It takes at least three months to process visiting scholar applications. When applying, please take into consideration the time that it will take to make all the necessary arrangements before arriving in LA, including applying for the visa appointment at the appropriate U.S. Embassy once the required Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for J-1 status is processed. Incomplete or incorrect applications can significantly delay the process. Accompanying dependents (spouse and unmarried children 21 years of age or younger), who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, would need to obtain J-2 visa status. Please see International Scholar fees above.

Additional Documentation needed for processing the Certificate of Eligibility 
The preliminary CNES acceptance letter will provide a link to submit additional information for the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for J-1 status, including:  
• A scanned copy of the applicant’s passport clearly showing the first two pages.
• Documentation certifying sufficient proficiency in the English language with one of the following:
- Certification by a language test recognized by UCLA Admissions.
- Certification by home academic institution where English is used.
- Certification by English language school where English training was completed within the past 2 years.
- Copy of signed diploma or signed transcript from U.S. universities or universities in countries where English is the native language.
- A documented interview conducted by the UCLA faculty sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option, and signed Certification of English Language Proficiency Form.

• At the time of processing the DS-2019 form, the scholar must present evidence of financial support for the duration of the Visiting Scholar program period. Minimum required financial support is found HERE.

Once International Scholar fees have been paid and the additional documentation below has been provided, CNES will submit a request for a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for J-1 status to the DCISS on behalf of the scholar. A DS-2019 is required in order to apply for a J-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once processed, the DS-2019 will be mailed to the International Scholar via FedEx.

J-1 Visa Check-In
The J-1 visa requires that scholars check-in with the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars (DCISS). The DCISS check-in and orientation can only be completed after arriving in the U.S. It should be completed upon arrival, preferably before your appointment begin date, and is due within 25 days of the program start date listed on the DS-2019.

Insurance Requirements
Accepted Visiting Scholars on a J-1 visa must provide proof of health insurance enrollment for the duration of their program at UCLA, upon arrival to campus. The insurance policy must provide the following coverage:

• $100,000 per accident & illness in medical coverage
• Deductible cannot exceed $500 per accident or illness
• Coinsurance that does not exceed 25%
• Medical evacuation up to $50,000
• Repatriation up to $25,000
• Pre-existing conditions must be covered with a waiting period no longer than 12 months
• Carrier must be at least A- rated

The Center is not able to provide housing assistance to visiting scholars. DCISS has a resources page that covers many topics that visitors may find useful. 

Online Application

Apply HERE 

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Published: Friday, September 13, 2019