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Visas, Visas, Visas and Working at NIH Presented by Division of International Services ORS/OD Candelario Zapata Linda Kiefer.

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Presentation on theme: "Visas, Visas, Visas and Working at NIH Presented by Division of International Services ORS/OD Candelario Zapata Linda Kiefer."— Presentation transcript:


2 Visas, Visas, Visas and Working at NIH Presented by Division of International Services ORS/OD Candelario Zapata Linda Kiefer

3 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.082 Todays Focus About DIS Selection of Foreign Scientists Understanding The Process Retention Foreign Scientists –maintenance of status Lawful stay Work permission Policies to consider

4 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.083 ABOUT DIS Assist all of NIH, including remote sites (AZ, MT, NC, MI, NY, MD) in all immigration related matters Work with Institutes and Centers to help recruitment and retention of foreign scientists Provide guidance and immigration-related services to all foreign scientists and their dependents Ensure that NIH maintains compliance with all applicable immigration laws

5 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.084 Selection When pondering a selection consider: –Credentials Educational institution Degree type Publications Number of years of experience Field of research experience –Check References –Verify English ability –Obtain US immigration history, if any Consult with DIS as necessary

6 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.085 Consider: Non-FTE –Visiting Fellow, Guest Researcher/Volunteer, Exchange Scientist (Courtesy)/PSC –J-1, TN, EAD (includes F- 1 OPT) FTE –Research Fellow, Staff Scientist/Clinician, Tenure-track, Tenured, Adjunct Investigator –All options to left –In addition: H-1B, O-1 Designation

7 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.086 The Process Work with AO/AT to prepare appropriate DIS Request Forms –NIH Form 829-1, FTE –NIH Form 829-2, VF –NIH Form 590, Guest Researcher/Volunteer, Exchange Scientist/PSC Verify that request forms are complete and accurate –Dependent information –Birth date –Correct spelling of name (use passport name) –Correct order of name, family name, first name

8 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.087 The Process - continued Confirm Degree –Submit proper confirmation letter if diploma/transcripts not available Provide a clear description of research activities Verify mailing address Verify that scientist is ready to come to NIH –Are they ready to leave home country? –Are they ready to make visa interview appointment?

9 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.088 DIS Role Review requests for completeness –Verifies that all required documents are received –Verifies that all approvals are in place –Verifies that all required information is obtained Review for adherence to NIH policies Issue appropriate immigration document –USCIS –SEVIS –Mail documents to scientist Processing time dependent on type of request and immigration status of scientist –See DIS processing times chart

10 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.089 Visa Application

11 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0810 Visa Issuance Steps Applicant receives immigration document from DIS –Check form for accuracy –Initiate visa application immediately after receiving forms Applicant locates appropriate post and obtains visa application forms/instructions Applicant makes interview appointment Consular official reviews application and interviews applicant –Performs name check in consular database –Decides if Security Advisory Opinion (SAO) is required Applicant collect passport w/visa Applicant arranges travel to the US

12 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0811 Visa Issuance Factors Consular Post location Interview required –Posts may waive, but unlikely –Posts have own interview schedule process Applicant work history/research area reviewed Applicant prior stay in the US reviewed Security Check required (SAO) Technology Alert (TAL) check required –Does research involve sensitive technology? –Does research involve select agents? –Is research applicable in development of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

13 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0812 Arrival to US Meet with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspector Receives Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

14 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0813 Valid Form I-94

15 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0814 Arrival to NIH/EOD Must report to DIS immediately after arrival –Within three days after arrival to US –Appointment Start Date Confirmation form Verify status –J-1s must report for SEVIS validation Can enter up to 30 days in advance of start date Activate award/appointment/ assignment –Give scientist basic information to get started at NIH –Schedule for appropriate orientation –Activate pay

16 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0815 Maintain Status Passport valid Report All Changes (examples) –Home address Report to DIS and USCIS within 10 days of change –Program or activity change BEFORE it occurs IC transfer Research change No unauthorized employment –work only as authorized by either USCIS or DIS No independent work or side jobs, e.g., consulting, cashier, guard, etc. No unauthorized stay –Stay beyond date on I-94 –Stay beyond grace period for those with D/S –File of extension or change of status before expiration of stay Follow requirements specific to visa category –J-1 (insurance) –Work site Follow Employer policies Failure to maintain status could complicate or prevent future stay in the US

17 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0816 Immigration Stay Limits Limits based on status –J-1: up to 5 years –H-1B: up to 6 years –O-1: indefinite (as approved by DHS) –TN: indefinite (as approved by DHS) –EAD: limited to dates on card; renewal dependent on DHS

18 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0817 Travel while pursing program in the US Always need three items to enter the US –Valid passport (unless exempt) –Valid visa Exceptions for some individuals who travel to contiguous territory –Valid enabling document Travel may complicate pending petitions –Change of status –Extension of stay

19 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0818 Policies to consider 5-year/8-year rule VF early termination NOS waivers Contract Workers (CW) –Visa/immigration status –212e waiver requirements –5/8 year rule –designation Occasional Lectures & Outside Activities Representation before govt. agencies NIH paying fees

20 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0819 NIH Policy Resources Your AO (DIS Key Contact) DIS –DIS Team –DIS Web Site OIR Sourcebook DDIR Web Board SD Minutes Manual Chapters

21 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0820 Thank you for attending! Questions?

22 Scenarios

23 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0822 Q:I hired a Research Fellow who already had an H1B visa, which I was able to transfer to the NIH. She is anxious to apply for a green card. I would like to know more about the process, to what extent the DIS will help with the green card application process, and the timelines and deadlines for the application process. A:Generally NIH will only support/sponsor green cards for designations higher than RF, e.g., staff scientists. The RF can, however, file self-petitions (National Interest Waiver and Extraordinary ability) Timeline: 12-36 months Deadline: none, but should be discussed with DIS to confirm ability to stay and work legally in the US while petition is pending DIS: may provide overall general information NIH policies: Green Card sponsorship and Letter writing policy

24 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0823 Q:Is it possible and what conditions should be met to transfer a postdoc from a visiting fellow position (J1 visa) to a FTE position (H1 visa)?How long can scientist stay at NIH? A:Yes. NIH policies: 5/8 rule; 212e waiver Q:How to retain a good scientist once their J-1 visa expires and there are no FTE positions? Would they get a Waiver if they are offered a position from a NIH contractor company? A:Contractor type position; do not apply for waiver if placement will be in NIH facilities NIH policies: Contractor worker; waiver policies

25 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0824 Q:Under which circumstances can a J-1 be exceptionally extended to a 6 th year, if at all possible? A:Not possible. Awaiting DHS and DOS rules on G-7 J- 1 program that may make a stay longer than five years possible. Q:Is there any way to transfer a fellow who is under an H1B visa in another institution to NIH? A:Yes. (Consult appropriate DIS team: NIH Policies: 5/8 year rule USCIS rules: H1b portability; 6 year H1B max

26 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0825 Q:I would like to ask about ways to speed up the whole process of bringing in foreign nationals for a postdoctoral position. As I understand it, the paperwork for the candidate to allow them to apply for their visa can only be sent once the candidate has received official confirmation about their PhD. Sometimes that official confirmation can take a long time coming through. I'm currently in communication with an excellent Israeli PhD.student who tells me that in his department the official approval of the PhD can take 3-6 months, and only then can he apply for the visa, which will take at least an additional month. Obviously this slows everything down and makes it difficult for candidates especially if they have no funding post-PhD. So my questions are: –Are there any ways in which we can speed this process up? When I first came over to the US, I applied for my visa before my PhD. was officially approved, which meant that I could come over as soon as my PhD. was finished. A:Visiting program Chapter Manual requires confirmation of PHD/MD Once confirmation is received DIS prepares appropriate documents. Pre-work (everything except degree confirmation) can be forwarded to DIS to shorten processing times. –Are there any ways around the restrictions? For example, is proof of submission of the dissertation sufficient? Or some form of informal approval of the PhD.? A:Proof of completion of all coursework and thesis defense and acceptance required. The confirmation letter should come from the office of the Registrar, Graduate Dean or equivalent office/official.

27 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0826 Division of International Services Building 31, Room B2B07 31 Center Drive MSC 2028 Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2028 Phone (301) 496-6166 Fax (301) 496-0847

28 DIS PI Seminar 06.27.0827 International Services Open Monday – Friday, except Federal Holidays –8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EST Walk-In Advising Mon. – Thurs. 1:30-3:30 P.M. EOD Processing Mon. – Friday 9:30 – 11:30 A.M. Phone: (301) 496-6166 Fax: (301) 496-0847 E-Mail:

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