Overview: Staff Visa Types

Visa Types for International Academic Visitors

If your department wishes to appoint an international scholar or visitor, there are various options available. Which option(s) will be appropriate will depend on various factors.

If you are hiring for...

Consider:

...a short-term, unpaid appointment
...a temporary paid appointment
...a long-term or permanent appointment

 

Cornell Policy: Cornell will act as immigration sponsor for academic positions (see list of approved titles).  Most academic positions require PhDs. There are rare exceptions to this policy. For details on how to request a waiver of the policy, click here. Cornell will also sponsor J1 visa status for internship positions with a duration of not more than twelve months (see full intern policy) for those who already possess a Bachelors degree and who are engaged in graduate-level work. Foreign nationals who obtain work authorization independently (without Cornell sponsorship) may be appointed to either academic or nonacademic positions (eg.). Visa categories that do not require that Cornell act as Petitioner/Sponsor, include: F1 OPT, J1 Academic Training, J2 work authorization; B1/B2 and the TN. NOTE: waivers of the policy may only be requested by a Hiring Unit/Department. The prospective employees may not request a waiver of the policy.

See also:

Descriptions of Visa Types

Click each heading for more information, including application procedures.

B1/B2 Visitor (also WB/WT Visa Waiver)

  • Can be used for speakers or for short-term researchers (6 months or less)
  • Visitor can be given reimbursement for travel, food and lodging
  • If visitor is appointed for only 9 days or less, can also be given an honorarium
  • Cannot be paid salary
  • Visitor must apply for the B1 visa at a consulate, unless from a visa waiver country
  • Visitors from some countries can request WB status (waiver for business, not WT for tourism) when entering US. WB will be granted for no more than 3 months.

J1 Visiting Professor or Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar

  • Can be used for academic visitors who will be appointed at Cornell
  • Can be used by visitors coming as interns, as long as the visitor has a Bachelors degree, is working on graduate-level research, and the appointment does not exceed 12 months in length (see full policy on interns)
  • May be paid a salary by Cornell
  • Must be appointed and funded but do not necessarily have to be paid by Cornell
  • Appropriate for short-term or longer-term visits
  • Not appropriate for one time speaking engagement
  • Not available for tenure-track positions
  • Visitor could be subject to the two-year home residence requirement
  • Department fills our "J Scholar Initial Request" form, ISSO creates "certificate of eligibility" (DS-2019) and visitor applies for the J1 visa stamp at a US consulate.
  • More information and application procedures

TN (Trade NAFTA, available to citizens of Canada or Mexico)

  • Can be used for academic visitors who will be appointed and paid at Cornell
  • Can be paid a salary by Cornell
  • Short-term or long-term
  • Not appropriate for one-time speaking engagement
  • Canadian citizens apply at US border with offer letter from Cornell
  • The TN application procedures for Mexican citizens are more complicated (contact the ISSO for details)

H1B Temporary Worker of Distinguished Merit and Ability

  • Can be used for academic visitors who will be appointed at Cornell
  • Must be paid a salary by Cornell
  • Salary must meet or exceed "prevailing wage" determined by US Department of Labor
  • Most appropriate for longer term academic positions (1 year or more) but can be used for shorter appointments if absolutely necessary
  • Department initiates application and sends completed packet to ISSO; ISSO sends petition to immigration service
  • Can take up to one month from start of process to filing of position with immigration service
  • From date of filing, standard processing time can vary from 2 to 6 months (response guaranteed within 15 days if optional premium processing fee is paid)

E3 Worker (available to Australians only)

  • Only appropriate for Australian academic visitors who will be appointed at Cornell
  • Must be paid a salary by Cornell
  • Salary must meet or exceed "prevailing wage" determined by US Department of Labor
  • Most appropriate for academic positions of 2 years or less
  • Can apply for 2 years at a time (no maximum for extensions)
  • Department initiates application and sends completed packet to ISSO; ISSO submits application to Department of Labor
  • Can take 1 to 2 months for processing

O1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability

  • Can be used for academic visitors who will be appointed at Cornell and have earned great distinction in their field
  • Most appropriate for longer term academic positions (1 year or more) when the H1B is not a possibility
  • Department initiates application and sends completed packet to ISSO; ISSO sends application to immigration service
  • From date of filing, standard processing time can vary from 2 to 4 months (response guaranteed within 15 days if optional premium processing fee is paid)

Permanent Residency (Green Card)

  • For permanent academic positions at Cornell
  • Postdocs and those whose titles begin with "Visiting" do not qualify
  • Various criteria must be met—please make appointment with Laura Taylor at ISSO to discuss details if you are considering permanent residency
  • Employee initiates application with support of department
  • ISSO assists employee in putting together application; ISSO sends to Department of Labor or immigration service, as appropriate
  • Process can take 1 year to 3 years or more, depending on filing category and petition type