How a university can secure visas for foreign professors

Universities must secure visas for foreign professors to attract global talent.

This process involves several important steps that ensure compliance with immigration laws and make the transition smooth for the incoming faculty.

Identify the appropriate visa category

According to the USAFGIS, there are nearly 400,000 foreign-born post-secondary teachers in the U.S. First, the university needs to identify the appropriate visa category for the foreign professor. The most common visas for professors are the H-1B visa for specialty occupations and the J-1 visa for exchange visitors. Each visa has specific requirements and eligibility criteria. The institution must choose the correct one based on the professor’s qualifications and the nature of their employment.

File a petition with USCIS

After selecting the appropriate visa category, the university must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. For an H-1B visa, the university needs to submit a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. This form includes information about the professor’s job duties, salary and qualifications. The university must also demonstrate that the professor’s salary meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for the position to ensure fair compensation.

Work with a designated program sponsor

In the case of a J-1 visa, the university must work with a designated program sponsor. The sponsor will issue a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, which the professor will use to apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.

Prepare for the visa interview

Once the USCIS approves the petition, the foreign professor must attend a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy. The university can assist by providing the professor with all necessary documentation, such as the job offer letter, proof of qualifications and the approved petition.

Support during the transition

After obtaining the visa, the professor can travel to the United States. The university should provide support during this transition, such as assistance with finding housing and understanding local regulations. Helping the professor settle into the new environment ensures a positive start to their tenure at the university.

By following the correct process, a university can recruit qualified professors from foreign countries.