Visa assistance/immigration

Visas

There is a variety of non-immigrant visas for entering the U.S. Only some non-immigrant statuses allow employment at the Institute.

Visas are typically obtained from the U.S. consulate in the foreign national’s place of residence. Visa processing may differ from country to country, so foreign nationals should follow the procedures set forth by the consulates where they will apply for their visas. Further instructions can be found at the U.S. State Department's Destination USA website .

J-1 Exchange Visitors

Postdoctoral fellows frequently enter the U.S. with J-1 visas as exchange visitors. The Institute is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor research scholars, short-term scholars and specialists for vision research. The maximum stay for these categories are three years for research scholars, six months for short-term scholars, and one year for specialists. More details are provided on the Exchange Visitor Program page.

To assist the exchange visitor in applying for this visa, the Institute’s immigration specialist will obtain the required biographical data from the prospective visitor and prepare the DS-2019. The DS-2019 is a required component of the visa application.

F-1 Students on Practical Training

International students who are completing a degree at a U.S. university may be eligible to apply for work authorization for a one-year period of practical training with a F-1 visa. This must be authorized by the university’s DSO on the I-20. Since employment cannot begin until after the employment authorization document (EAD) is processed by the USCIS, and processing times range from several weeks to several months, the F-1 student contemplating practical training should begin this process well in advance.

To obtain permission for practical training, the F-1 student should initiate this arrangement with their university’s DSO. The DSO will assist the student by providing required documentation for the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

H1B Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupations

The Institute sponsors certain employees for H1B status. The position must be a temporary one, and the Institute is the petitioner on behalf of the employee beneficiary. The USCIS may approve H1B status for a particular individual for a total of six years, up to three years initially, with a 3 year extension. An H1B visa holder can only be employed by the sponsoring employer, unless a new petition is filed.

The immigration specialist will obtain the required biographical data and supporting documentation from the foreign national as well as details about the position from the supervisor. This information will be used to prepare the petition. It can take several months for an H1B petition to be approved by the USCIS. After approval, the foreign national must apply for a visa at the appropriate consulate national, unless they are in the U.S. in another status and a change of that status has been approved.

O-1 Temporary Workers with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics

The Institute sponsors certain employees for O-1 status. The position must be a temporary one and the Institute is the petitioner on behalf of the employee beneficiary. Those eligible include researchers who are highly distinguished in their fields. The USCIS may approve O-1 status for three years initially, with one year extensions. An O-1 visa holder can only be employed by the sponsoring employer.

The immigration specialist will obtain the required biographical data and supporting documentation from the foreign national as well as details about the position from the supervisor. This information will be used to prepare the petition. It can take several months for an O-1 petition to be approved by the USCIS. After approval, the foreign national must apply for a visa at the appropriate consulate national.