For Departments

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The information provided on this page is specifically for USA Departments/Schools hiring or hosting international faculty, scholars, or staff.

▼   Step 1: Determining the Proper Visa Type

Categories Sponsored by the University of South Alabama

H-1B Worker

  • Can hold a permanent position and be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 6 years of maximum stay
  • Department pays filing fees: Legal fees, I-129 Fee, New Application Anti-Fraud Fee, and an optional Premium Processing Fee
  • Department agrees to employ the international employee for the entire period requested on the H-1B application; early termination requires the department to pay the return flight costs for the employee
  • Requires approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services which can take several months unless Premium Processing is used
  • Perfect for any permanent position or tenure-track position

J-1 ECFMG Medical Trainee

  • The ECFMG exchange visitor program is the sole organization authorized to sponsor physicians in the Alien Physician exchange visitors category for internships, residencies, specialized clinical training, and in other positions involving more than incidental patient contact.
  • The USA Healthcare LLC has designated Training Program Liaison (TPL) responsible for the ECFMG trainees, their immigration documents, and advising. 
  • More information regarding the ECFMG program can be found here 
J-1 Research Scholar/Professor
  • A research scholar is defined as a foreign national whose primary purpose is teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited academic institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor also may conduct research where authorized by the sponsor.
  • A professor is defined as a foreign national whose primary purpose is conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. A research scholar also may teach or lecture where authorized by the sponsor.
  • Expected to have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree
  • Cannot be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 5 years of maximum stay
  • Requires a minimum stay of 3 weeks
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • University can sponsor Scholar/Professors who are self-funded or funded by outside agencies, funding can also be split between department and outside agency
  • Perfect for temporary instructor positions or for research positions and for visiting professors on sabbatical
J-1 Short-Term Scholar
  • Cannot hold a permanent position or be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 6 months of maximum stay
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • University can sponsor scholars who are self-funded or funded by outside agencies, funding can also be split between department and outside agency
  • Perfect for very short research projects or visiting lecturers
J-1 Specialist
  • Cannot hold a permanent position or be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 12 months of maximum stay
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • Perfect for specialty occupations such as Coach or Athletic Trainer

*Please visit Applying for J-1 Visa: Exchange Students and Scholars for information on J-1 Waiver of the 212(e) requirement.

Visa Policy for International Post-Doctoral Scholars:

International post-doctoral scholars at the University of South Alabama ("USA") and USA Health Care Management LLC ("USAHCM") are sponsored on J-1 visas unless they are already in the United States on an F-1 student visa.  Students who have completed their degrees in the United States may be appointed as post-doc​s during their Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the period of time listed on their EAD card​s, but will remain on F-1 visa​s​.  ​However, because​ neither USA nor USA​HCM are required to nor do they ​E-Verif​y all​ employe​e​s, OPT-based post-docs of USA​ or ​USAHCM will not be eligible for STEM OPT Extension. 

 An “Application for Visiting International Scholar or Visiting International Student” must be completed and approved by USA Academic Affairs or the applicable USAH​CM ​​hiring department before submitting the J-1 Scholar Application to the Office of International Education. Once the prospective scholar is officially offered a post-doc position, the hiring department can submit a completed J-1 Scholar Application to OIE. The Manager of Immigration will then process the appropriate immigration documentation. 

 ​​The above-referenced categories of visa are the only ones available to post-doctoral scholars at the University of South Alabama or USA HealthCare Management, LLC.

TN – Trade NAFTA
  • Cannot hold a permanent position or be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 1 year of stay per TN period, no maximum for TN
  • Only available to citizens of Canada and Mexico in certain areas of employment (https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-11261/0-0-0-17197/0-0-0-21051.html)
  • Department pays filing fees for TN applicants within the United States: $320 I-129 Fee and an optional $1000 Premium Processing Fee
  • Department agrees to employ the international employee for the entire period requested on the TN application
  • Perfect for temporary and non-tenure instructor positions or for research positions
Permanent Residency (Green Card)
  • Must hold a permanent position or be a candidate for tenure
  • Department must pay the legal fees and all fees associated with petition if university is filing 
  • Process can take several years
  • Requires substantial paperwork and documentation from the department and applicant
  • Processed by outside legal counsel
  • Perfect for any permanent position or tenure-track position; also perfect transition for H-1B employees who are nearing the end of their H-1B eligibility

Self-Petitioned and International Student Employment Categories

B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa or Visa Waiver
  • Cannot hold any position with the University of South Alabama
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • Stay is limited
  • Can receive honorarium and reimbursement for travel expenses in limited circumstances
  • Perfect for a guest lecturer coming to the University for less than 9 total days
F-1 Student Optional Practical Training (OPT) and OPT STEM Extension
  • Can hold a permanent position and be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 1 year of authorization for initial OPT, work must be in a field related to the student’s major. STEM students can apply for an additional 24 months of employment authorization. (USA is not an E-Verified employer)
  • Primarily used by recent college graduates. 
  • F-1 student must file for the OPT with his/her College or University
  • F-1 student must have the employment authorization card before beginning work
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • Perfect as a transition work authorization, F-1 OPT holders can change status to J-1, O-1, or H-1B
F-1 Student Curricular Practical Training
  • Should not hold a permanent position or be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 1 year of authorization at a time with work required to be in a field related to the student’s major
  • Primarily used by students to fulfill practicum or internship requirements
  • F-1 student must file for CPT Authorization with his/her College or University
  • F-1 student must have the CPT Authorization on his/her I-20 before beginning work
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • Perfect for internships and short-term research
J-1 Student Academic Training
  • Can hold a permanent position and be a candidate for tenure
  • Limited to 18 months of authorization (36 months for a postdoctoral researcher), work must be in a field related to the student’s major
  • Primarily used by recent college graduates, can also be used by students to fulfill practicum or internship requirements
  • J-1 student must file for the Academic Training with his/her College or University
  • J-1 student must have Academic Training approval on his/her DS-2019 before beginning work
  • Department pays no immigration filing fees
  • Perfect as a transitional work authorization, some J-1 Academic Training holders can change status to O-1 or H-1B
▼   Step 2: Academic Affairs, Human Resources, or Office of Postdoctoral Education Approval

All International Scholars and Professors who are being hired or hosted by the University of South Alabama must be processed for hire through Academic Affairs, Human Resources, and/or the Office of Postdoctoral Education before the Office of International Education can process any immigration paperwork. Academic Affairs, Human Resources, and/or Office of Postdoctoral Education processing is necessary, regardless of the source of the employee’s funding (this includes scholars whose funding comes from Fulbright sponsorship, personal funds, or outside grants).

Visa Policy for International Post-Doctoral Scholars:

International post-doctoral scholars at the University of South Alabama ("USA") and USA Health Care Management LLC ("USAHCM") are sponsored on J-1 visas unless they are already in the United States on an F-1 student visa.  Students who have completed their degrees in the United States may be appointed as post-doc​s during their Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the period of time listed on their EAD card​s, but will remain on F-1 visa​s​.  ​However, because​ neither USA nor USA​HCM are required to nor do they ​E-Verif​y all​ employe​e​s, OPT-based post-docs of USA​ or ​USAHCM will not be eligible for STEM OPT Extension. 

 An “Application for Visiting International Scholar or Visiting International Student” must be completed and approved by USA Academic Affairs or the applicable USAH​CM ​​hiring department before submitting the J-1 Scholar Application to the Office of Immigration and International Admissions. Once the prospective scholar is officially offered a post-doc position, the hiring department can submit a completed J-1 Scholar Application to OIIA. The Immigration Coordinator will then process the appropriate immigration documentation. 

 ​​The above-referenced categories of visa are the only ones available to post-doctoral scholars at the University of South Alabama or USA HealthCare Management, LLC.

▼   Step 4: Visa Processing Steps

 

1. The Applicant

In general, the first step for any visa application is that the international employee should work with the department to complete the appropriate application form with the Office of International Education (i.e. J-1 Scholar Application Packet, H-1B Application Packet, etc.). Once the international applicant has completed the appropriate forms, the applicant submit all forms and supporting documents to the University department which will host him/her.

 
2: The Department

After receiving all documents from the international applicant, the school or department should complete the departmental section of the appropriate application form (i.e. J-1 Scholar Application Packet, H-1B Application Packet, etc.). Once the department has completed their sections of the form, the department should submit both the international applicant’s materials and the department application form along with any accompanying financial documentation to the Office of Immigration and International Admissions.

In most cases, departments should also write a letter of support for any international applicant. The letter of support is similar to a job offer letter. The letter will be sent by the department along with all documents to the Office of Immigration and International Admissions. Sample support letters are included in the application packets on the International Programs website.

Additionally, departments should contact Human Resources and/or the Office of Postdoctoral Education for any incoming international employee. All international employees must be processed for hire through Human Resources or the Office of Postdoctoral Education, regardless of the source of the scholar’s funding.

 

3: The Office of International Education

After receiving all documents from the international applicant and department as well as the proof of finances, the Office of Immigration and International Admissions will process the immigration document application or petition forms either in-house or through legal counsel.

Additionally, all petitions require the approval of Human Resources. This means that there should be a record on file for an employee, such as a faculty, staff, or temporary employee status.

Once all application materials are received, please allow 1-2 weeks for the Office of Immigration and International Admissions to process all documents and/or submit petitions.

▼   Step 5: New Hire Check-In

Check-in and orientation for new international faculty and scholars is very important. The Office of International Education must meet with ALL new international employees, regardless of their immigration status. This means that all international employees on J-1, J-2 EAD, F-1 OPT or CPT, TN, O, H-1B, Permanent Residency, and PR-applicants with EAD Cards must check-in with the Office of Immigration and International Admissions when they first arrive at the University of South Alabama.

During check-in, the Office of Immigration and International Admissions will advise new international employees on a variety of immigration issues as well as provide resources to assist with adjustment to life in Mobile.

Topics typically covered during orientation include:
  • Social Security Application
  • Banking
  • Health Care and Health Insurance
  • Address Reporting Requirements
  • Travel Requirements
  • Immigration Regulations
  • Programming activities and opportunities for involvement

Check-in and orientation require 30 minutes to one hour to complete. New international faculty and scholars or the departments must set up an appointment with the Immigration Manager prior to check-in and orientation.

New international faculty and scholars should bring the following items with them to their check-in and orientation appointment:
  • Passport with proper, valid visa sticker
  • Immigration documents (DS-2019, I-797 Approval Notice, I-20)
  • I-94 Arrival Page (Department of Homeland Security)
  • Employment Authorization Card  (J-2, F-1 OPT, or PR-applicant only)
  • Green Card (for Permanent Residents only)
  • Dependent family members information, passport, supporting documents
  • Health insurance information
▼   Departmental Obligations

All international scholars and professors hired or hosted by the University of South Alabama must be processed for hire through Academic Affairs, Human Resources, or the Office of Postdoctoral Education before the Office of Immigration and International Admissions can process any visa paperwork. Academic Affairs, Human Resources, and/or OPE processing is necessary, regardless of the source of the employee’s funding (this includes scholars whose funding comes from Fulbright sponsorship, personal funds, or outside grants).

Additionally, if a scholar or faculty member’s title or salary is changed, the Office of Immigration and International Admissions must be notified so that the appropriate changes to immigration documentation can be made.

Finally, departments should inform the Office of Immigration and International Admissions if an international employee ends their employment or service to the University before the end-date of their sponsored visa program. With some visa-types, such as H-1B, the University may be held liable for unpaid wages and/or return flights to an employee's home country if the University’s sponsorship of their visa was not ended at the same time as the employment end-date.