Skip to main content

Coronavirus Updates: Visit Cornell’s Coronavirus Resources and Updates for campus-wide information. Visit COVID-19 Immigration FAQs for international community information.

Invite Visitors and Interns

If you are a faculty member who wants to invite an international visitor who is a student at home, please contact us! We are happy to discuss your case and offer a preliminary recommendation.

The Office of Global Learning will provide advice and information about what is possible from a regulatory perspective. Note that Cornell faculty and staff must follow whatever policies and procedures are set in place for international visitors within their department, college, school, or division. 

Request the Guidelines for Cornell Faculty and Staff Engaging with Interns and Visiting Students. This document ensures consistency in appointments and limits risk exposure for the university.

Hiring Options for Inviting Visitors and Interns 

  • F-1 non-degree student 
  • B-1/B-2 visitor or volunteer 
  • J-1 research scholar or short-term scholar 
  • J-1 student intern  

F-1 Non-Degree Student (graduate or undergraduate students) 

Inviting your international visitor to Cornell as a non-degree student is the first and the best choice, whether the person you want to hire is an undergraduate or a graduate student. 

An F-1 non-degree student must obtain F-1 visa status, unless already in the United States in a status that allows enrollment. The student cannot be in B-1/B-2 status.  

Pluses and Minuses for F-1 Non-Degree Students

Graduate students ...
  • Can work on campus for up to 20 hours per week (paid or unpaid). 
  • Can be reimbursed for travel expenses (travel, food, lodging). 
  • Must be registered at Cornell full time in the summer (6 credits of research) and also during the fall and spring semesters. Invited students may be able to enroll in the International Research Intern Program. 
Undergraduate students ... 
  • Can work on campus for up to 20 hours per week (paid or unpaid). 
  • Can be reimbursed for travel expenses (travel, food, lodging). 
  • Must register for at least 6 credits in the summer and 12 credits during the fall and spring. Invited students may be able to enroll in the International Research Intern Program. 
  • Must pay tuition.  
  • Must pay for their own accident and medical insurance. 

B-1/B-2 Visitor or Volunteer 

The B-1/B-2 visitor or volunteer program best serves students who are planning short visits to one or several U.S. universities. It is not intended for use by a scholar accepting any type of formal academic appointment. Please note that some colleges or departments at Cornell may have policies that preclude this choice for liability reasons. The Office of Global Learning does not set these policies and can only convey the immigration regulations. 

Pluses and Minuses for B-1/B-2 Visitors or Volunteers

  • Can be reimbursed for expenses (travel, food, lodging)—but be careful about recording exactly what is being reimbursed. 
  • Cannot register for classes at Cornell. It is clearly against the regulations for a B-1/B-2 or visa waiver status holder to register for classes. 
  • Cannot be paid to work on campus at all, with the exception of B-1s at Cornell for nine days or less. 
  • Will not qualify for university programs as visitor. 
  • Must have accident and medical insurance.  
  • Might not meet university requirements for volunteers. Generally, if a person is not allowed to work in the United States due to a visa restriction, then he or she is also prohibited from working as a university volunteer. 
  • Might have trouble obtaining B-1/B-2 visa stamp at U.S. consulates to come to Cornell to do research. 
  • Might have trouble gaining entry as B-1/B-2 or visa waiver visitor at U.S. ports of entry to come to Cornell to do research. 

J-1 Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar (graduate students only) 

If the visitor is a graduate student, consider the J-1 research scholar or short-term scholar categories. This status is for those who will be given an academic appointment or appointed as a research intern for a period not to exceed 12 months.  

J-1 research scholars and short-term scholars must be actively working toward a master's degree or Ph.D. The J-1 research scholar and short-term scholar categories are meant for people qualified to perform advanced teaching and research.

Pluses and Minuses for J-1 Research Scholars or Short-Term Scholars  

  • Can work on campus up to 40 hours per week (paid or unpaid). 
  • Can be reimbursed for expenses (travel, food, lodging). 
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree and be working on a master’s or higher degree. For some positions, a doctoral degree is required. 
  • Must have an academic appointment or be appointed as an intern for no more than 12 months. 
  • Must have sufficient financial support (personal funds, funding from Cornell, or funding from another source). 
  • If not benefits-eligible (temporary or part-time less than 20 hours), then students need to have their own accident and medical insurance. 

J-1 Student Intern (undergraduates) 

The J-1 student intern program allows international undergraduates who are currently pursuing a bachelor's degree to receive hands-on experience in their chosen field for an internship not to exceed 12 months.  

They must currently be enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting postsecondary academic institution outside the United States. The internship must fulfill the educational objectives of their current degree program and must expose the participant to U.S. techniques, methodologies, and technologies. It must also expand upon the intern’s existing knowledge and skills and not duplicate prior experience. 

Regulations for J-1 student interns are administratively complex. Please read our information page on this status if you are considering bringing a J-1 student intern to Cornell. 

Important: Students with this status may not be placed in a position that involves …  

Unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical positions or any other kind of work involving patient care or contact, including therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education); or any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department [of State] into notoriety or disrepute.” [22 CFR § 62.23(i)(7)(iii)] 

Pluses and Minuses for J-1 Student Interns 

  • May be paid or unpaid. To be employed, however, the student intern must receive approval from his or her home institution's dean or academic advisor. 
  • Cannot fill a labor need. The internship must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving educational objectives and must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor. 
  • Cannot displace American workers, whether full- or part-time, temporary or permanent. 
  • Must pay an administrative fee of $500. 
  • Must complete a minimum of 32 hours per week of internship activity, with no more than 20 percent clerical work. 
  • If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.