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This page covers general information about the various occupations at Stanford and the visa classifications that accommodate them.
Departments or units hosting a conference may be interested in the State Department’s services offered through the Business Visa Center.
Business visitors may be reimbursed or provided non-salary compensation (honorarium) through Travel and Reimbursement; see the Controller’s site for information about how to make these payments.
If your department is paying a grant to a fellow or other visitor on an SU-21, you must use a J-1, so that the recipient is eligible to receive the payment.
The Visiting Scholar category only applies to senior, established scholars who are using University facilities at the invitation of a Stanford faculty member, per the Vice Provost and Dean of Research and Graduate Policy.
Note that an invitation to a Visiting Scholar must be approved by the department chair or the equivalent individual (such as the director, division chief, etc.) or a designee. Visiting Scholars to the School of Medicine are approved by the Dean’s Office.
Postdocs are considered advanced students who are conducting research under the supervision of a Stanford faculty member. For a more complete discussion, please see the Research Policy Handbook here.
Visa types for Postdoctoral Scholars are the prerogative of the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs. Click here to visit the Postdoc Services web site.
The visa used by most postdocs at Stanford is J-1. Newly graduated students are free to use their post completion practical training or academic training (depending on student visa type) until a change to J-1 is needed.
The use of other visa types, such as H-1, Free Trade, or O-1, is officially discouraged by Postdoc Services. Exceptions are a matter of discussion between the Assistant Dean and the Principal Investigator.
Visiting researchers are persons who have not yet obtained a Ph.D. (or its foreign equivalent), or who are not recognized experts in their fields, and wish to engage in research on the Stanford campus using Stanford research facilities. The visa used by visiting researchers at Stanford is J-1.
All applications for visiting researcher status must first be approved by the Registrar's Office before the department submits the DS-2019 request to the Bechtel International Center.
Further information on applying for the Visiting Researcher appointment may be found on the Registrar's web site
Once the application has been approved by the Registrar, the DS-2019 request may be submitted by the department to the I-Center. Instructions and request form for applying for the DS-2019 document may be found here.
Research Associates are considered to be employees of the University and may be eligible for the following visa types:
University policies relating to Visiting Faculty may be found in the Faculty Handbook. Visiting Faculty are usually accommodated by the following:
- J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the "Research Scholar" or "Short-term Scholar" category.
- H-1 status may also be petitioned on behalf of such faculty if the Chair deems it necessary or appropriate. This may be the case if the faculty member has already used up some or all of the three years in the J-1 program elsewhere. Some prospective visiting faculty may make acceptance of an offer conditional upon H-1 status, but if they are otherwise eligible for J-1 status the Chair should contact Legal Services at 3-9751 for a referral to the University's external counsel for assistance; the faculty member is never allowed to use a attorney of his or her own choosing.
- Post-degree employment authorization
- Potential faculty who have just graduated from a US university are eligible for a period of post-graduate employment authorization. Those who are in F-1 status should be asked whether they have any "Practical Training." Practical Training is valid for one year, and if hired such a faculty member may need to move to J-1 status in relatively short order, if the intent is to employ the individual for a longer term. Potential employees in J-1 status should be asked whether they have any "Academic Training." Academic Training is valid for between 18 and 36 months, depending upon the willingness of the degree-granting institution. A change of status may be needed depending upon the same factors that influence the F-1 employee.
- Canadian and Mexican faculty can use TN status for such appointments, since they are not tenure-track.
Tenured or Tenure-Track Faculty
International faculty who are hired in the tenure track or at the tenured level have the expectation that the offer includes all the necessary immigration work for permanent resident status (i.e., a green card). Normally however, they will need some type of legal work status that permits them to go on payroll within a relatively short period of time that will bridge them to permanent status.
J-1 status can not be used to bridge faculty to permanent resident status although most of them would like to because of the opportunity for spouses to have work authorization. The Exchange Visitor Program regulations prohibit the use of the J-1 program in the "Professor" and "Research Scholar" category for tenure-track or tenured faculty.
However, this does not exclude the possibility that a recent graduate with Academic Training might use this period of work authorization in J-1 status as their "bridge". The major difficulty this arrangement poses is the fact that, unlike the H-1 program, the J-1 is not a dual-intent classification. For the purposes of this discussion, this means that travel may be "dangerous" for a J-1 Exchange Visitor once the permanent residence process has been started.
Physician faculty must have a license, exemption, or review letter from the Medical Board of California indicating that the faculty member is eligible for a California license or exemption therefrom. Information about the review letter is available from the Medical Board of California or the Office of Graduate Medical Education.
Staff refers to non-faculty, non-postdoc, non-academic staff positions. This includes the Research Assistant series (LSRA, SSRA, etc.) as well as programmers, the bargaining unit and administrative positions.
In general, in order to be eligible for an H-1B, thses positions must be exempt and, furthermore, demand at least a Bachelor's degree or higher as defined by Human Resources.