If you will be visiting the department as a visiting scholar (i.e. a Distinguished Visiting Professor; Max Kade Writer or Critic; Fulbright Scholar; Volkswagen postdoc; summer fellow; etc.), please note the information and instructions below which pertain to the period before your arrival. At the conclusion of this document are instructions for items that need to be addressed on your first day in St. Louis.
Please send your email address, home address, and FedEx mailing address to Sweta Khanal, the German Department's Administrative Coordinator, as soon as possible (at least six months in advance of your arrival):
One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1104
St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: (314) 935-5106
Invitation Letter from the Chair
You should receive an official invitation letter from the chair with the dates of your stay and any salary or reimbursement details. Keep this letter: you will need it a) when you apply for your visa and b) when you go through customs.
When you receive your invitation letter, double-check your arrival and departure dates! (See below.) Please let us know of any problems or changes.
Think carefully about your arrival and departure dates if you're being paid by WashU while you're here.
If you’re teaching for us, you’ll be paid monthly. This means you’ll receive a paper check on the last day of each month. Washington University will not pay your paycheck to you as a wire transfer. Therefore, if you schedule your departure date for the day before the last day of the month, you won’t be here to receive your paycheck, deposit it, and close your US bank account. We would have to mail your paycheck to you at your home address in your home country. One way to mitigate this while you’re here is to sign up for direct deposit, so that your second paycheck can be direct deposited into your US bank account. You could leave and then wire transfer your funds out of your US bank account later. However, if you don’t sign up for direct deposit, you must be very careful about which date you leave. Therefore, it’s best to leave a day or two after the end of the month.
The same is somewhat true for when you arrive. If you arrive a week before the end of February, you will not be set up in the accounting system in time to generate a paycheck at the end of February. That means you could not be paid until the end of March. Therefore, it’s better to arrive at the beginning of the month, to give the accounting system time to process you.
Start the process as early as possible!
This is especially important if you need an appointment with the consulate to get your visa. Scheduling these appointments can take months AND you might have to go back for a second interview if they have questions or issues with your documents. Note: You can apply for your visa in the eScholar system up to one year before your arrival.
Photo and CV/bio
Please submit a photo (jpg) and a short bio and/or CV to Sweta Khanal at least three weeks before your arrival.
Personal Information Form (PIF)
Please complete your PIF as soon as possible so that we can create an entry for you in our Human Resources system and begin the process of getting you set up for the time you are here.
If you are being paid by WashU, please complete the Employee PIF.
If you are not being paid by WashU, please complete the Non-Employee PIF.
J-1 VISA HOLDERS ONLY
Arrival and departure dates
In applying for your DS-2019 and then your J-1 visa, you will provide arrival and departure dates to the US government through our Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS). While these dates are allowed to change slightly, OISS must always be aware of your exact dates of stay. If your arrival or departure date changes by even one day, please notify the German department immediately. We will notify OISS, and they will need to issue a new DS-2019 for you.
Information we will need to begin your eScholar record
As you will be informed by both letter and email, you will be asked to complete an eScholar record for OISS so that they can create a DS-2019 for you. You will need the DS-2019 in order to apply for a J-1 visa with the US consulate.
By that time, you will have been asked to provide Ms. Khanal with the following information in order to create your eScholar record:
- Country and city of birth
- Country and city of residence
- Country of taxation
- Social Security Number (if you have one)
Providing this information on your PIF is usually the easiest way to submit this information.
Ms. Khanal will also ask you the below questions in order to complete your eScholar record. Please provide the following pieces of information in an email to her.
- Current position in home country
- How your proficiency with English was established (e.g., has taught in English before, went to university in US, or has taken courses in English)
- Who is providing your traveler's health insurance (what company); you will also be asked for a statement from that company, in English, which shows that you will have health insurance while in the States.
Overview of what you need to do in eScholar to get your DS-2019
1. Complete the biographical, address, and other tabs. Note that there are six subheadings under the other tab which must be completed. (If you are bringing dependents, there is a subpage under other which asks for their information.) Note also that some questions will not apply to you, but the system will still want you to answer no. If you are having problems completing your eScholar record, we have a tip sheet which may help you resolve these problems. [NOTE TO APPLE USERS: You may not be able to see the other submenu. If you cannot view it, you can download the questions in the document For Those With Apple Computers. Send the answers to Ms. Khanal.]
2. Upload your documents using the Documents tab. Required documents include:
- A copy of your passport pages - including a very good copy of your passport photo page
- Copies of any past visa stamps for trips to the US (if you have them)
- Copies of any past DS-2019's, if you have come to the US on a J-1 visa before
- A letter from your health insurance provider or travel insurance provider (in English) stating that they will provide you with health care coverage while you are at WashU
- The signed "Health Care Supplementary Statement" form required by OISS (see documents listed below)
If you cannot upload your documents for some reason, please email them to Ms. Khanal (please make sure they're clearly labeled!).
3. Submit your record. After submitting your record, email Sweta to let her know that your record is ready for review by the German department and OISS.
(Remember to keep a printout of your eScholar answers, because you will need them again during your first few weeks at WashU.)
Health insurance statement and proof of health insurance
1. The signed health insurance supplement statement is a form from OISS that you must sign. It indicates that you plan to have health insurance while here.
2. The proof of health insurance is the actual proof that you have health insurance. It is a one page document from your provider stating that you'll be covered by them while you're here. It must be in English. It can be your regular provider (if they provide insurance while you're traveling) or a traveler's insurance policy specifically for this trip. ***If you are bringing dependents, your proof of health insurance must state that it covers your dependents for this trip.*** Click for an example of a letter of proof of insurance.
For a list of the requirements your insurance must have, please see the information sheet prepared by OISS.
Once you have both of these documents, scan and upload them to your eScholar record. Then mail the originals to Sweta. (Keep a copy for yourself.) These documents need to be submitted before OISS will finalize your eScholar record.
Copies of your passport ID page and your visa stamps
Besides the two health insurance documents, the third document to attach to your eScholar record is a copy of your passport identification page and any visa stamps for the US. The copy of your identification page must be very good or we will ask you to express mail a copy, creating a delay.
What needs to be done AFTER your eScholar record is submitted
If you are coming on a J-1 visa, you should have already completed your eScholar record. About two or three weeks after that, the German department will send you your SEVIS fee receipt and DS-2019. Only after you have these documents in hand should you make an appointment with the US consulate to request a visa.
The consulate will ask you for your SEVIS receipt number, etc., and you do not want to have to reschedule because your documents did not arrive in time for the appointment. Also, be certain to bring your documents to the appointment (passport, SEVIS fee receipt, invitation letter, DS-2019, and anything else that the consulate has requested).
Get permission to travel/speak elsewhere in advance
Since Washington University is your sponsor institution while you're here, you will need to notify OISS in writing (email is acceptable) should you wish to travel/speak elsewhere during the period of time you will be employed by WashU. Once approved, you will receive a letter from OISS. (The other institution will also require you to have this, if you're being paid an honorarium.)
You can also apply for permission to speak elsewhere shortly after you arrive. You should bring this up when you check in with the OISS.
Online I-9 form
J-1 visa holders must complete an I-9 even if they are not being paid by WashU while here. Review the section on I-9 completion below.
FOR ALL THOSE WHO WILL RECEIVE A SALARY OR PAYCHECK WHILE AT WASHU
Complete your FNIS (Foreign National Information System) record
If you are receiving a paycheck from WashU, you will have to complete a FNIS record through the OISS & Tax offices. OISS (Cathy Abernathy) will most likely contact you in advance of your arrival in order to request that you complete your FNIS (Tax Form and Tax Treaty eligibility system) record. You will need to complete this quickly so that you are able to be paid by Wash U the following month. Start on this record as quickly as possible. The good news about FNIS is that it asks the same questions that eScholar did, so if you have a printout of your eScholar answers, use it. The bad news is that there are some fields that are difficult to find, and the last stage of the FNIS record is confusing to some. Also be aware that your FNIS information is confidential and the German Department staff are not allowed to help you with it or advise you. Direct all questions about FNIS to Cathy Abernathy. Direct questions about the final stage and the tax forms that are generated to Joyce Wiseman.
(If you are receiving a paycheck from the German Department) be aware that you will receive your paycheck by paper check. The university, as a matter of policy, will not wire transfer a paycheck overseas. Similarly, your paycheck cannot be set up for direct deposit (unless your stay is along the lines of several months). It will take at least one pay period to set up your direct deposit, and you must have a bank account by then. If you think you will be here long enough that this would be convenient for you, please fill out the direct deposit form, attach a voided check, and deliver both to the payroll representative for our department, Julie McCarthy, in Cupples II 320. (Cupples II is by Olin Library.)
Therefore, it’s strongly recommended that you set up a bank account when you arrive so that you have somewhere to cash your paycheck. Most visitors try to get an account with Bank of America on campus. If your stay is very short, BoA may refuse to set up an account. In that case, Commerce Bank will set up an account for you, no matter how long you’ll be here.
Online I-9 form
(If you are not being hired as an employee, disregard this point.) You will receive a notification from our Human Resources department that your online I-9 needs to be completed. If you’ve been here before, these used to be paper forms that needed to be completed in person with a staff member.; now you can do this remotely. This form is very important, and if it’s not completed within two days after you start work at WashU, the university is subject to fines from the government.
Re-confirm your arrival date with the German Department
All visitors should confirm their arrival dates with the German department several weeks before they arrive. The department will need to confirm with the hotel when you will arrive so that your room can be cleaned and stocked beforehand. More importantly, we need to finalize your arrival date with OISS. If it is different than what appears on any of your visa application documents (e.g. a DS-2019 for a J-1), then they will revise and reissue that document to the department (which we will then send to you).
NOTE: If you are teaching, it is not a good idea to arrive on the same day you will begin teaching. Find out in advance from your faculty sponsor when you will begin teaching and plan to arrive a few days prior, if possible. For example, if you are the Max Kade Critic, you will probably arrive in January. Classes usually begin the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Arriving the Friday before, to have the long weekend to prepare is a good idea. If you are the Max Kade Writer, you will begin teaching after spring break. Arriving during the last few days of spring break would give you a few days to get into the rhythm of things and complete your paperwork before you begin teaching the following week. However, you should discuss such matters with your faculty sponsor, as they can provide the best advice for your situation.
WUSTL Key (login and password)
If you receive an email from our Human Resources department that your WUSTL Key (temporary login and password) are ready for you to activate, take the opportunity to set up your WUSTL key right away. (You will probably get this email after you complete your I-9. If you don’t need to complete an I-9, you will get it when you arrive at the university after you receive a SSN.) This login/password combination is your “key” to getting fully set up at Washington University. You need it for almost everything. Once you have your WUSTL Key set up, please let Sweta Khanal know that you have requested it. (If you will be teaching, also let Cecily Stewart Hawksworth, our student coordinator, know. She can get you set up for WebFAC, which allows you to see class rosters and enter grades.)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION - ALL VISITORS
Bring your 6-digit employee ID number to the Campus Card office, located in the Women's Building. The process takes less than 15 minutes.
Taking courses at Washington University
It is rare that a visitor is set up to take courses while at WashU, but it can happen in some fellowship situations. If for some reason you are taking courses while here (either for pleasure, as part of your Fulbright program, or for an ELP requirement to improve your English so that you can teach) please note that the German department does not pay for such courses. You must arrange for some other entity to pay for your courses.
Tuition benefit for certain postdocs: In some special cases, we have heard that certain postdocs have a tuition benefit, but this is not something we are kept up-to-date on. If you think you have a tuition benefit as a postdoc, you will need to work this out with Human Resources, OISS, your sponsoring organization, and University College (if you are taking evening courses).
Please note: It is not the usual case that our visitors take courses while here, so we are not set up to provide assistance with this issue, nor do we pay for such courses.
If you do not have a Social Security Number: You may not have a Social Security Number before it is time to register for courses. If that is the case, you cannot register online using University College’s website. You will need to go to the University College registrar (Maria Hunter) in person in the lower level of January Hall. (January Hall is next door to Ridgley Hall.) BRING WITH YOU: A copy of your passport/visa; a means to pay for the course; and a completed registration form.
To find Maria Hunter’s contact information, go to www.wustl.edu and click on the “Directory” link at the top of the page.
If you do have a Social Security Number: In general, a visiting scholar may sign up for classes as an auditor (full tuition price) or Special Auditor for any of the courses in University College. You should go to this site to select courses, pay, and register:
Please note: If you plan to take courses, this is entirely your responsibility to arrange. If you plan to audit courses, again, you must arrange this with the professor teaching the course and get permission from the day school or University College. The German Department cannot provide assistance with this.
By now, you should already have an idea of where you’ll be staying while you are in St. Louis (e.g. Parallel Properties, Quadrangle Housing, or somewhere of your choosing that is not WashU-affiliated). The German Department may arrange housing for you in advance with Parallel Properties, if its units are available during the time of your stay. If a unit with Parallel Properties is unavailable, you will be referred to Quadrangle Housing, which is run by the university to provide short-term housing for guests. You will have to sign a contract with them (Jessica Kettler, firstname.lastname@example.org) and work this out before you arrive. (The German department will also need to sign the contract in order to vouch that your rent will be paid. Please notify Sweta Khanal when you need this signature.)
Be aware that you will need to pay your rent at some point by check or traveler’s check. This is why most visitors set up a bank account while here, so that they can deposit their paychecks, access this money, and pay their rent.
Course descriptions (for those teaching)
If you’re teaching, you probably have already been asked to submit several course descriptions to your faculty sponsor or to our chair, Matt Erlin. Course description requests may also come from Cecily Stewart Hawksworth, Student Coordinator.
If you plan to bring school-age children
Please note that enrolling your children in the St. Louis school system is more difficult than it is in Germany. Please talk about this with your sponsoring faculty member, many months in advance of your visit. You may also be required upon arrival in St. Louis to prove your occupancy in the city; for this, you may need to go to City Hall in University City. Please note that you will probably be asked to provide proof of residency in St. Louis (which at a minimum seems to require a copy of your lease agreement while here) and proof of your child's immunizations. (The City Hall and the school district will provide you with a full list of what you will need. Please talk to your faculty sponsor about this matter BEFORE you arrive.)
Apple computer users
Please let Sweta Khanal know if you would prefer to use an Apple computer in your office. We have one office that’s set up with a Mac. (First come, first serve.) Reminder: Most university housing seems to be set up for PCs and not Macs. You are responsible for bringing any converters that you might need in order to use other PCs or equipment off-campus, such as in your apartment. There is an Apple store in the Galleria shopping mall, which is accessible by Metrolink train, if you need to purchase something for, or service your Mac.
Honoraria for special lectures
Should it be agreed that you will also give a lecture for the department which is not covered by your regular duties and for which you should receive an honorarium, we will need the following information at least three weeks before your arrival. Please complete the yellow fields on the Lecture Fee Form and then send this form to Sweta by email or US or express mail.
- Your Social Security Number
- Your name (as it appears on your official ID, such as your passport)
- Your university affiliation and title
- Your home address
If you are not a US citizen and/or do not have a Social Security number, you will need to submit a copy of the photo id page from your passport AND an additional form to our tax department. Forms and checklists are available on the university's tax website at http://tax.wustl.edu/forms/. Please see their checklist for Foreign National Honoraria. Usually - but not always - the requested form will be an 8233 (if you have a SSN AND you have residence in a country with a tax treaty with the US) or a W-8BEN (if you do not have a social security number). If you know which to complete, you should complete and submit this form to Sweta in advance to speed the processing of your reimbursement. Sweta will also need you to submit to her the items on the checklist (completed form, visa stamp copy, DS-2019, passport copies, I-94 copy).
Olin Library information
Expect a welcome email from your two contacts at Olin Library, Chris Brady (CBrady22@WUSTL.EDU) and Brian Vetruba (email@example.com). Brian Vetruba is our subject librarian for German, and he is a resource in case you have questions about the German collection. Chris Brady can set you up with a guest account which will get you library access. He can also answer questions about lockers and general library policies. Chris will want to know if you know your employee id, WashU email address, and WUSTL key. If you don’t have them yet, tell him that you don’t have them but you expect to have them within your first two weeks of being on campus. (He may be able to set you up with a guest account without this information; it depends on your status and the length of your stay.)
Consider getting a wifi flash drive
If you want reliable wifi access while you’re here, consider getting a flash drive that gives you wifi capability. Wifi access on campus and in the Parallel Properties apartments exists, but sometimes is unreliable and difficult to set up.
Check with your accountant or tax adviser
Check with your accountant or tax adviser about how you should be taxed on your earnings while in this country, because the German department cannot give you tax advice. Know in advance if your country has a tax treaty with the US. If it doesn't, you will have to be taxed in the US, and will probably have to file a US tax return at the end of the calendar year. You will also have to complete the Missouri W-4 form and the federal W-4 form when you meet with Sweta Khanal.
Locate the MAC address on your laptop
If you will be using your laptop during your visit, please locate the “MAC” address of your laptop before you arrive. The MAC address is the address assigned to the network card in the computer from the manufacturer. This will make registering your laptop a much quicker process. Here are handy instructions for finding your MAC address: http://computing.artsci.wustl.edu/help/77. This is especially helpful for you to do in advance if your computer is not set up in English (e.g., Japanese, French, Russian). The technicians in our Computing lab are extremely helpful and friendly but they will have difficulty finding your MAC address, if they cannot read the language on your laptop.
See our Maps & Directions page for maps of Clayton, University City, and downtown St. Louis. They are also listed in the documents list at the end of this page.
UPON ARRIVAL - FOR ALL VISITORS REQUIRING A VISA
When you arrive, you will receive more information and instructions. For now, you need to be aware that the two most important things you need to do upon arrival are: a) check in with the German department on your first day of work and b) complete your J-1 Exchange Visitor Form on your first day in St. Louis. See the information below:
You must complete your J-1 Exchange Visitor Check-in form on your first day in St. Louis. You must email this form with attachments to the OISS office as soon as possible.
You must check in at OISS (Styx House) within 15 days of arrival. However, it is best to check in with them as soon as possible, so that your tax and payroll paperwork can finish processing. Their walk-in hours are restricted on Danforth Campus. Please see this page for more and/or the latest information about checking in: https://oiss.wustl.edu/contact-us/scholar-advising/.