Visa Options for UW Academic Personnel

Visas for academic personnel at the UW are processed through International Scholars Operations (ISO) at 239 Gerberding Hall on behalf of the Provost. For information about visas and faculty appointments, contact acadvisa@uw.edu. UW departments must not provide immigration advice or make promises regarding visa type or sponsorship.

This summary of visa sponsorship guidelines reflects a blending of federal regulations and institutional practice. Sometimes there are exceptions to the guidelines, and other visa options (B-1, J-2, F-1, O-1, etc.) may exist.

J-1 "Exchange Visitor" Scholar

J-1 "Exchange Visitor" Intern

H-1B "Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation"

E-3 Treaty Professional Visas for Australian Citizens

TN NAFTA Work Visa for Canadian and Mexican Citizens

Permanent Residence ("Green Card")

Employment Authorization Document ("EAD Card")

J-1 "Exchange Visitor" Scholar

Guide for Scholars : UW Administrators

The UW sponsors J-1 visas for international faculty and other academic staff, salaried or non-salaried, who engage in a full-time program of teaching, research, observation or consultation. At the time of appointment, the expectation is that the Exchange Visitor will return home upon completion of the activity. If the UW provides no salary support, some amount of funding must come from the J-1′s home institution or other agency (not personal funds only). If the UW is providing salary support, the amount (including any portion of salary paid by the J-1′s home-country employer) must match the UW faculty salary schedule and be commensurate to the rank held in the home country. Foreign medical graduates may participate in non-clinical programs where patient contact is incidental to their primary activity of teaching, research, consultation or observation. University sponsorship is required for a J-1 visa. Period of eligibility is up to five years. Depending on circumstances, there could be 12-month and 24-month bars on repeat participation. The US Department of State expects J scholars to possess a bachelors degree or higher. The UW sponsors J visas for faculty and other academic staff, including:

  • Acting Instructor

  • Artist in Residence

  • Visiting Scholar

  • Visiting Lecturer
  • Visiting Instructor

  • Visiting Scientist

  • Visiting Professor (assistant, associate, full)

  • Senior Fellow and Research Associate, if coming to the UW from outside the US

  • The UW does NOT sponsor J visas for tenure-track faculty appointments

  • The UW does NOT sponsor J visas for professional or classified staff

J-1 "Exchange Visitor" Intern

Students pursuing degrees abroad may participate in full-time internships at the UW. Internships are structured programs of research and work-based learning that pertain to the intern’s study requirements at the home institution and enhance the intern’s knowledge of American culture and society. Interns are hosted for up to 12 months by a UW academic department or program and are closely supervised by a member of the faculty. Interns may not audit or take classes for credit at the UW, engage in clinical or other tasks that involve patient care or contact, or be employed. In certain circumstances, they may receive a stipend from the host department or program. For more information, see Visiting International Student Internship and Training (VISIT) program details.

H-1B "Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation"

Guide for Scholars : UW Administrators

To qualify for an H-1B visa at the UW, the appointment must be full-time, salary must meet the Department of Labor’s wage requirements, job must require a minimum of a bachelors degree, and the foreign national must be fully-qualified for the job at time the petition is filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Additional requirements apply to foreign medical graduates who perform patient care. Return-home transportation costs are paid by the employing department if the H-1B is terminated prior to the end of the authorized stay. University sponsorship is required for an H-1B visa. Period of eligibility is six years. The UW sponsors H visas for the following appointment titles (other titles may also qualify):

  • Senior Fellow and Research Associate, if the foreign national is currently in the US

  • Instructor, Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor, including appointments that are "acting," "research," "visiting" and "clinical"

  • Research or Clinical Technologist if no minimally-qualified US workers are available for the job

  • The UW does NOT sponsor professional staff for H-1B status

E-3 "Treaty Professional" Visa for Australian Citizens

Guide for Scholars : UW Administrators

The E-3 visa classification permits Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the US for up to two years, and may be renewed indefinitely provided the beneficiary can demonstrate he/she does not intend to remain permanently in the US. The UW will sponsor E-3 status only for individuals eligible for H-1B sponsorship. Though the E-3 may occasionally be a useful alternative to the H-1B, the H-1B is often the better option. Before agreeing to sponsor a foreign national for E-3 status, please call ISO to discuss.

TN "NAFTA" Status for Canadian and Mexican Citizens

Guide for Scholars : UW Administrators

To qualify for TN status at the UW, the foreign national must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen who will work for salary in a professional occupation on a temporary, short-term basis. Employment may be full or part-time. Qualifying occupations listed in the NAFTA treaty include university teachers, nurses, and research assistants (postdocs). Period of eligibility is three years, and may be renewed. A letter from the employing department, presented by the applicant at the port of entry, is needed to obtain TN status.

Permanent Residence ("Green Card")

Green Card Guide for UW Administrators

The UW supports permanent residence applications for full-time faculty at the Assistant Professor/Research Assistant Professor, Associate Professor/Research Associate Professor, and Professor/Research Professor levels. (Faculty holding visiting or acting appointments are ineligible for the permanent residence process.) Position must include teaching duties.

Employment Authorization Document ("EAD Card")

Depending on circumstances, foreign nationals may work at the UW even though they have not been sponsored by the UW for any of the visas described above. These may include F-1 students who engage in certain types of employment, J-2 spouses of J-1 Exchange Visitors, green card applicants, asylum seekers and refugees, and others whose immigration status permits them to apply for work authorization. Typically in these situations the evidence of employment eligibility is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) commonly known as a "work permit." The EAD is a laminated plastic card issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services and provides its holder a legal right to work in the US during the card’s validity dates.