What should the invitation letter include?

A letter of invitation is an expression of interest from a host institution in the United States. It is a required part of the application.

The letter should state that no tuition or any other research-related fees will be imposed on the applicant. Apart from that, there are no specific requirements for such letters. The letter might include:

  • The activities for which you are being invited by the host (i.e., research at an institution, special lecturing needs, etc.)
  • The period of time for which you are invited
  • A description of the host's interest in the applicant's project

Please be advised that a letter is not a legally binding pledge, nor does it guarantee an applicant a grant.

Grant funds are awarded on the basis of a competitive process. 

How should a letter of recommendation look like?

There are no strict guidelines on how to write it. Simply you need to get a recommendation for your research.

Is it enough to send a scan of the letter of recommendation?

Yes, it is enough but it has to be sent by your recommender via her/his email address associated with her/his university. It cannot be sent from the private email address.

What format should the Letter of Reconsideration have?

There is no set format for the Letter of Reconsideration, but typically they formally state that you want to be reconsidered and what new accomplishments or research activities you have been working on since you last applied.

As a helpful guideline to get you started, use your letter of reconsideration to answer the following question:

  • Why is this application better than the previous time you applied when you were not awarded a scholarship? 
  • Is your topic more relevant now? 
  • Do you have a different institution to work with? 
  • Are you personally more prepared for research in the U.S.? 
  • Have you made more contacts with important U.S. researchers in your field since you last applied? Etc.

When re-applying, do I need to include new letters of recommendation?

As we still have your old reference letters on file, you do not need to resubmit them. However, if the topic of your new research project is very different to the one you previously put in your research proposal, you should have to get new reference letters that reflect why you would be a good candidate for this field of work.

What documents should I send to prove my funding for 3 additional months?

Regarding your proof of funding letter for your visa, here is some good guidance I obtained from another organization that issues J-1 visas to research scholars:

J-1 visitors in the professor, research scholar or short-term scholar category must document funding of no less than USD 30,000 per year. With a very rare exception, personal funding may not be used by visiting professors or researchers except to support J-2 visa dependents. Personal funding for J-2 dependents is permitted if needed. The minimum amount of funding documentation required for dependents is as follows: $5000 per year for spouse; $3,750 per year for each child. The dependent amounts are required per visit, not per year.

While the specific type of documentation will vary depending on the funding source, examples of evidence of funding might be:

(1) a letter from your home university stating you (the visitor) will be on sabbatical, the amount, in foreign currency, of salary you will receive during the period that you will be at your U.S. institution and that your home university supports the visit to Rutgers for educational exchange purposes;

(2) a letter from a government agency or other bona fide sponsoring agency outlining the funding amount, the terms under which the funding for your educational exchange program is being granted, and the specific dates during which the funding will be provided. In your case, your letter in which you were awarded the KF Exchange Program to the U.S. grant would be appropriate.

Example Situation #1: Dr. Oberkampf plans to visit Rutgers University for one year. She does not have any dependents. During her sabbatical, she will receive USD 2,083 from her university, for a total of USD 25,000 for one year. Dr. Oberkampf does not have enough funding to support her one-year visit to Rutgers University. She must provide proof of additional funding in the amount of USD 5,000 from another bona fide educational exchange-related source (not personal funds).

Example Situation #2: Dr. Kopernik plans to visit Harvard University for 7 months, along with his wife and child. He is receiving USD 2,700 per month (USD 18,900 total) from the Kosciuszko Foundation. He has enough funding to cover his visit in the United States. However, he does not have enough to cover his spouse and child's visit to the United States. Since USD 2,500 per month is the required amount for him as the principal J-1 visitor, he has a surplus of USD 200 per month or a total surplus of USD 1,400 for the 7-month visit. The amount of USD 1,400 can count towards the financial support of his wife and child, but he still needs to show an additional amount of USD 7,350 in order for his wife and child to be able to accompany him to the United States. This can be shown by a letter from Dr. Kopernik's bank (in English) stating that he has at least USD 7,350 available, or a copy of his bank account statement (in English or official English translation).)

Should I ask my Host College to give me affiliation for the whole period of my research and during the grace period for application?

If possible, your host College should give you affiliation for the whole period. This will make it easier for you to obtain a J-1 visa for that whole time period. If they are not willing to do this, please let me know, and I can figure out some other option that will comply with the J-1 visa application procedure.

I understand that after having J1 visa I cannot apply for another J1 for 2 years - but can I travel to the US on any other kind of visa (e.g. B1 or as a short term scholar). I hope it doesn't mean that I can't go there at all for the whole 2 years...

Yes, you will be able to travel to the U.S. on other types of visas (tourist, business, etc). I have many friends who traveled to the U.S. several summers in a row after having a J-1 visa, so I know it is a common practice and easily done.

Can I use a Powerpoint for my presentation?

Yes, you can prepare a very brief PowerPoint or video presentation. 

Can I work at the host university during my fellowship?

Our visa type does not allow to work during your research. If you plan to work for your host university, simply ask them to sponsor you a J-1 visa. It happens that they can prolong your stay at the USA.

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