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Guide to Faculty/Staff Visa Types

Here’s a quick guide to common visa types for faculty, staff, and other international visitors at Cornell.

J-1 Exchange Visitors

For visiting professors, visiting research scholars, short-term scholars, and student interns:

  • International visitors with academic appointments at Cornell, excluding tenure-track positions, are eligible. 
  • Graduate students coming to Cornell as interns are eligible for J-1 professor, research scholar, and short-term scholar positions, as long as they are working on graduate-level research and the appointment does not exceed 12 months in length. 
  • Undergraduates and students who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree 12 months prior to their Cornell start date are eligible for the J-1 student intern program.

Quick Facts 

  • J-1 visitors may be paid a salary by Cornell, but do not necessarily have to be paid. 
  • J-1 status is appropriate for a range of visit durations (three weeks to five years, depending on the category). 
  • J-1 status is NOT appropriate for one-time speaking engagement. 
  • J-1 visitors may be subject to the two-year home country residency requirement.
  • Cornell departments are required to fill out the J-1 academic staff initial request. The Office of Global Learning creates the DS-2019 certificate of eligibility. The visitor applies for a J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate.  
  • Procedures for the J-1 student intern program are different than for visitors who are academic faculty and staff.  

H-1B Temporary Workers 

For international visitors with academic appointments:

  • H-1B visas are most appropriate for longer term academic positions of at least one year.
  • They can be used for shorter appointments, if absolutely necessary. 

Quick Facts 

  • H-1B temporary workers must be paid a salary by Cornell. 
  • Salaries for H-1B temporary workers must meet or exceed prevailing wage requirements determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. 
  • Cornell departments are responsible for initiating H-1B applications and sending completed packets to the Office of Global Learning. We forward petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 
  • The application process can take up to one month from the start to filing the petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). From date of filing, standard processing time can vary from six  to 12 months. A response is guaranteed within 15 days if an optional premium processing fee is paid. 

O-1 Extraordinary Ability

For individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement:

  • International visitors who are distinguished in their fields of study and who have academic appointments at Cornell are eligible.  
  • O-1 visas are most appropriate for longer term academic positions of more than one year, when an H-1B visa is not a possibility. 

Quick Facts 

  • Cornell departments are responsible for initiating the application and sending completed packets to the Office of Global Learning. We forward applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 
  • From date of filing, standard processing time can vary from two to four months. A response is guaranteed within 15 days if an optional premium processing fee is paid. 

TN Workers (Canadians and Mexicans) 

For citizens of Canada or Mexico with academic appointments:

  • Short-term or long-term stays are covered under the TN program. 
  • The TN visa is not appropriate for one-time speaking engagements. 

Quick Facts   

  • Canadian citizens apply at the U.S. border by presenting their offer letter from Cornell. 
  • Application procedures for Mexican citizens are more complicated. Contact the Office of Global Learning for details. 

E-3 Workers (Australians)

For Australian visitors with academic appointments of two years or less:

  • Only citizens of Australia are eligible.
  • E-3 workers have no limit on the number of allowable visa extensions. 

Quick Facts 

  • E-3 workers must be paid a salary by Cornell. 
  • Salaries for E-3 workers must meet or exceed prevailing wage requirements determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. 
  • Cornell departments are responsible for initiating E-3 applications and sending completed packets to the Office of Global Learning. We submit applications to the U.S. Department of Labor. 
  • Processing can take one to two months. 

B-1/B-2 (or WB/WT) Visitors

For speakers or short-term researchers who will be at Cornell for six months or less:

  • Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily.
  • These visas are for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
  • Visitors from some countries can request WB/WT status (waiver for business/tourism), when entering the United States. WB/WT visitors can stay in the United States for up to three months, with no extensions or change of status possible.

Quick Facts 

  • B-1/B-2 or WB/WT visitors can be reimbursed for travel, food, and lodging, but cannot receive a salary. 
  • B-1/B-2 or WB/WT visitors with appointments of nine days or less can receive an honorarium, in lieu of a salary, if the visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than five institutions or organizations.
  • B-1/B-2 or WB/WT visitors must apply for their visas at a U.S. consulate, unless they are from a visa waiver country. 

For international visitors with permanent academic appointments:

  • Having a green card (officially known as a permanent resident card) allows an individual to live and work permanently in the United States.
  • The steps an employee must take to apply for a green card will vary depending on the individual case.

Quick Facts 

  • Postdoctoral fellows and those whose titles begin with "visiting" do not qualify. 
  • The employee initiates an application with support of his or her Cornell department or unit. Various criteria must be met. Please ask the employee to make an appointment with the Office of Global Learning if considering permanent residency. 
  • The Office of Global Learning assists the employee in putting together an application and forwards materials to either the U.S. Department of Labor or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as appropriate. 
  • The process can take up to three years or more, depending on filing category and petition type. 
 

Next Up: Academic Appointment Policy