The J-1 visa is granted to participants of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and is the most common visa for Visiting Scholars at NC State. However, other visa options can be applied to specific situations. Explore this page to determine which visa option would work best for your prospective researcher. You will find a concise description of the most commonly used visa types for foreign nationals of NC State University. For your reference, it is important to remember that the J-1 visa (Research Scholar, Professor or short-term Scholar categories) is not an employment visa, but a temporary cultural exchange visa for overseas researchers who meet certain eligibility requirements.
B-1/B-2 Visitor visa
The B-1/B-2 visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for people who would like to visit the U.S. temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). Examples of appropriate activities at NC State for visitors on this visa are consulting with peers, conference attendance, or interviewing for a position. There is a 6 month maximum stay on this visa. The B visa is not an employment visa. A person would apply for this visa the U.S. Embassy in their home country and will (in most cases) need an invitation from NC State University for their application. The presumption in immigration law is that every visa applicant is an intending immigrant, so the applicant will need to provide proof of their nonimmigrant intent. Proof can exist of an invitation letter showing the specific start and end date of their visit and the purpose of their visit. They will also have to show that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay in the U.S. along with evidence of ties to their home country. You can find more information in the visitor visa section of the Department of State website and you can find a sample invitation letter here.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant employment visa, which has a 6 year time limit. NC State University’s International Employment Office must file a petition to USCIS for adjudication of this nonimmigrant status. The H-1B is meant for a foreign national who will be employed (there are minimum wage requirements) in a specialty occupation (this requires “the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation and the completion of a baccalaureate degree or higher in that specific occupational specialty”). For more information about this visa, please refer to the H-1B section of the International Employment website.
The TN visa is a nonimmigrant employment visa for Mexican and Canadian citizens. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must have a professional position (which normally requires at least a Bachelor’s degree). The visa can be issued in 3 year increments and has a possibility of extensions. Please note that this visa has nonimmigrant intent only, meaning the employment situation is temporary. For more information on this visa, please visit the TN section of the International Employment website.
The O-1 visa is a visa for foreign nationals who have and can prove “extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics”. The applicant must provide evidence of extraordinary ability or national or international acclaim. For more details on the eligibility criteria for this visa, filing times and duration, please visit the O-1 section of the International Employment website.
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) / J-1 Academic Training (AT):
Former F-1 and J-1 students who have applied for work authorization (F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training) can be hired for positions directly related to their field of study. Their status is nonimmigrant and the employment is therefore temporary. The employment authorization is adjudicated based on their studies in the U.S. and is intended to allow a recently graduated student some work experience in their field of study. For more information on J-1 Academic Training, please visit here. F-1 OPT is granted for 12 months and can be extended for students who earned a degree in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. In order to qualify for this extension (17 months), students must have full time (>20 hours) employment with an E-Verify employer and their work must be directly related to their field of study.