Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Hosting International Scholars

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One key element of UH Hilo’s educational mission is to provide students with global perspectives. We do this through GE coursework in Diversification, study abroad programs, COIL teaching initiatives, and by hosting visiting scholars from other countries. For many years, UH Hilo faculty have welcomed scholars from institutions across the world to campus, adding to and broadening students’ knowledge of global challenges and fostering cultural exchanges. Just as students studying abroad act as representatives of UH Hilo and their home countries, faculty and their departments are responsible for making international scholars’ visits successful and demonstrating UH Hilo’s aloha. This page contains information about hosting international scholars, aids UH Hilo faculty and their departments who may wish to invite international scholars for short-term residency on our campus, and outlines the involvement of multiple administrative offices who are key partners in making these visits a success.

Who are international visiting scholars?

  1. Faculty attached to international partner universities or colleagues of UH Hilo faculty working at universities outside the U.S.
  2. Faculty who come to UH Hilo for short-term research or shared teaching
  3. Faculty who are sponsored by an academic department within UH Hilo
  4. Fulbright-sponsored visiting faculty

What is the process for assisting an international visiting scholar?

  1. Discuss your request to invite an international visiting scholar with your Department Chair and the Dean/Director of your college.
  2. Ask for a written proposal from the visiting scholar.
  3. Request letter of invitation from department chair or College Dean/Director for scholar.
  4. Determine whether on-campus office space is required.
  5. If space is required, request the space from your College Dean/Director.
  6. Determine whether the visiting scholar will need a visa to enter the U.S. and stay in the U.S. for the intended length of time.
  7. Obtain IT approval and UH ID number.
  8. Request library access.
  9. Get UH ID card from Campus Center.

On-campus assistance

UH Hilo sponsoring faculty

  1. Acquire project proposal from visiting scholar
  2. Seek departmental approval and letter of invitation
  3. Assist in locating office space for visiting faculty if necessary
  4. Assist in coordinating IT and library arrangements
  5. Assist with personal arrangements

Center for Global Education and Exchange

  1. Assist with IT and Banner IDF (UH System IT)
  2. Assist with library access (Mookini Library)
  3. Assist with UH Hilo ID card (Campus Center)
  4. Assist with visa questions

Human Resources

  1. Assist with J-1 Exchange Visitor visa application (if necessary)
  2. Assist with other immigration and visa related questions
  3. Assist with any payment or employment questions

Visa considerations

  1. Visiting scholars will need to determine the rules and regulations regarding their entry into the U.S. The UH Hilo sponsoring faculty can work directly with the Center for Global Exchange and the Human Resources office for information regarding requirements.
  2. If visiting scholars are non-citizens and stay in the U.S. for less than 90 days, most will not need to obtain a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa during their stay in the U.S. The USCIS visa waiver program (VWP) allows non-citizens from certain countries the ability to travel in the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. There are restrictions for visiting scholars on the VWP. Please consult with the Human Resources office for more information.
  3. Visiting scholars staying for longer than 90 days will require a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. Human Resources coordinates J-1 visa applications with the Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services office at UH Mānoa.
  4. Scholars from countries that do not participate in the visa waiver program will need to get a visa to enter the U.S. They will need to work directly with Human Resources for a J-1 visa application.

Language considerations

The visiting scholar should provide evidence of language proficiency if not a native English speaker. In order for UH Hilo to benefit from a visiting scholar’s presence, proof of a minimum level of English proficiency should be provided by the visiting scholar.

Ways to determine proficiency include providing results from standardized English assessments such as TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo. Other methods could include conducting on-line interviews between the prospective visiting scholar and the UH Hilo host department, as well as letters from the academic department at the scholar's home university.

Personal arrangements


While locating housing is the visiting scholar’s responsibility, the UH Hilo sponsoring faculty can provide recommendations and facilitate communication with apartments for the visiting scholar.

Most visiting scholars have stayed at off-campus housing that cater to a student population. Recommended options are Waiakea Lagoon View Apartments and Tohbi Hale / Hale Haumana Apartments.


Arranging transportation is the visiting scholar's responsibility. However, the UH Hilo sponsoring faculty can provide assistance in recommending transportation options.

  1. Public transportation is limited. Please see the Hele-On bus schedule. The Hele-On bus is currently free for all riders.
  2. Ride-sharing such as Uber and Lyft are now widely available in Hilo.
  3. Some visiting scholars may choose to purchase a car. Purchasing a car and complying with all applicable rules and laws for driving and car ownership are the visiting scholar's responsibility, however the UH Hilo sponsoring faculty can provide assistance to help the visiting scholars make arrangements to meeet any transportation needs. Here are several important considerations to review.
    1. Driver’s license: International visitors in Hawaii can use their home country driver’s license for up to one year with a valid passport. A visiting scholar can obtain a Hawaii driver’s license. Please see the Country of Hawaiʻi website for more information on how to get a Hawaiʻi driver’s license.
    2. Vehicle insurance: If a visiting scholar purchases a car, the scholar will need to obtain insurance to meet all of Hawaii’s state laws regarding vehicle insurance.


  1. Visiting scholars can obtain SIM cards with monthly fees to use with their current phones. The Center for Global Education and Exchange/Study Abroad can assist with information.
  2. Visiting scholars can purchase phones and phone plans with a valid passport.