Costs of the WFI Fellowship
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WFI Fellowship Application Requirements
Both US and foreign nationals may apply to the WFI International Fellowship program, but visa, insurance, and salary requirements may differ. ALL applicants must submit the WFI Application Form, current resume, and two letters of recommendation to be considered for the program.
US Citizens / Green Card Holders
US citizens and Green Card holders do not require a visa or visa interview, so they will not need to pay any visa fees. US citizens and Green Card holders will be required to show proof of health insurance coverage for the entire duration of their fellowship.
Foreign Nationals Without Current Green Card or US Working Visa
Foreign nationals who participate in the WFI International Fellowship Program come under the U.S. Department of State’s J–1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. The primary objective of the Exchange Visitor Program is to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided training programs such as the WFI Fellowship Program. WFI partners with an independent, nonprofit organization, Experience International (EI), to provide visa sponsorship for WFI Fellows. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program requires applicants to participate through a Department of State authorized sponsor such as Experience International. Please note that a Visitor Visa does not qualify.
WFI Fellowship Program Fee
The 6-month Fellowship Program fee is $10,000 USD. A matching grant is available to cover 50% of the Fellowship program fee, so the cost to the applicant is $5,000 USD.
Once you are accepted into the WFI Fellowship Program, a formal letter of acceptance will be emailed to you along with an invoice for the program. You are required to pay a $250 USD non-refundable deposit within two weeks (14 days) of your acceptance into the program. Please read the Fellowship Fee Payment and Refund Policy document for details of fellowship fee payment to WFI.
The Fellowship Fee goes towards paying your monthly stipend and full program operations. Fellows receive a monthly salary of approximately $1,600 USD pre-tax (this is only an estimate and is different for everyone based on taxes). The salary is generally sufficient to cover rent for shared housing, utilities, phone, and food on an average budget. Individual lifestyle differences may result in higher or lower costs. You will also receive a public transportation pass for the Portland metro area. You can read more about this in our WFI Fellowship Program Basics document.
You must have a social security number to receive your monthly stipend. You can apply for a number upon arrival in the US, but it may take anywhere from 2-8 weeks before your number is sent to you. Please bring enough funds to cover at least your first months’ living costs until you can be put on payroll to receive your stipend.
J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program Fees
Separate from the WFI Fellowship Program Fee are the J-1 visa program application fees. Like the Fellowship Program Fee, there are matching funds to cover 50% of the J-1 visa program fees. Fellows will pay 50% of the visa program application fee directly to Experience International (EI) and WFI pays the other 50% of the visa fees directly to Experience International. There are other fees associated with the visa that are the responsibility of the applicant. Please download and read the J1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program Fees document for a complete breakdown of the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program costs. These fees are charged by EI and/or the US government and are not under our control and are therefore subject to change.
Visa Program Application Procedure
The Visa Program Application Procedure document outlines the step-by-step procedure for paying your WFI Fellowship Program fee and the process of applying and paying for your J-1 visa program. Please read this document carefully.
All Foreign nationals must purchase health insurance through the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program through Experience International. Health insurance coverage is a requirement of obtaining a J-1 visa and the cost is already rolled into the J-1 visa program fee. The visa program includes seven months of health insurance for your 6-month Fellowship Program. On the J-1 visa you are allowed to arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before your Fellowship Program start date and stay up to 30 days after your Fellowship Program end date (60 dates total, split evenly before and after your program dates). There can be no extension on these dates. You are required to have health insurance the entire duration of your stay in the U.S.
The extra month of health insurance that is already rolled into the visa program fee is meant to provide a buffer to allow you to arrive before your start date to find housing and get settled in and/or to stay later if you wish to travel after your fellowship. If you intend to be in the U.S for a total of more than 30 days before and after your official WFI Fellowship Program dates, you must purchase one additional month of health insurance through Experience International. This should be done at the time you apply for the J-1 program.
In 1998, WFI received a matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation to provide partial scholarships to the Fellowship Program. As noted above, the grant will pay 50% of the Fellowship fee if a matching 50% can be obtained either through sponsorship from another organization, or through self-funding from the Fellow. As a condition of the grant, you must participate in the annual week-long June study tour at Harry A. Merlo’s ranch. Please visit our WFI History page to learn more about Harry A. Merlo and the creation of this program.
The matching grant cannot be applied to scholarships for university programs or funding for work conducted in other countries or based outside of the WFI Fellowship Program.
All Fellows are responsible for their own airfare to and from Portland, Oregon. The Portland International Airport(PDX) is the closest airport.