Basic Overview of Sponsorship and Academic Training Options
Visas for international faculty and academic staff at the University of Mississippi are processed through International Student and Scholar Services. This summary of visa sponsorship guidelines constitutes both federal regulations and institutional policy. Sometimes there are exceptions to the guidelines, and other visa options (B-1, J-2, F-1, O-1, etc.) may exist. For more information about visas and faculty appointments, contact International Student and Scholar Services.
J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
It is important to note that the J-program is a temporary program and that J-Visa holders should have no immigrant intent (i.e. no intention to become permanent residents). This visa category should not be used by departments or internationals for permanent employment positions or to seek Permanent Residency in the United States.
The J Exchange Visitor classification authorized by I.N.A. § 101(a)(15)(J) was developed to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961 [Public Law 87-256, as amended, 22 U.S.C. § 2451, et seq.]. The overall purpose of that Act and the objective of the Exchange Visitor classification is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” The Department of State issues J-Visas and establishes and administers the federal regulations and policies governing the J Exchange Visitor Program.
For more information about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, visit the J-1 page.
The H-1B status may be granted initially for up to a three-year period with a maximum total stay of six years. Workers in this category can fill permanent positions, but must leave the country at the end of their authorized period of stay.
A person in H-1B status is considered to have dual-intent with regards to immigration. This means that while in H-1B status, workers may file for a change to another immigration category. H-1B is often the category used while in the process of applying for U.S. permanent residency.
For more information about UM H-1B sponsorship, visit the H-1B page.
Only occupations specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation. A list of requirements for each occupation can be found here: NAFSA Adviser’s Manual 360 – 8 CFR 214.6
Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can be admitted to the United States in TN status in increments of up to one year. Extensions of stay are also granted in up to one-year increments. There is no cumulative total limit on the time a Canadian or Mexican citizen can be in TN status. Status can be renewed each year indefinitely, provided that the stay remains temporary in nature. For more information, please refer to this page: Travel.State.Gov -Visas for Canadian and Mexican NAFTA Professional Workers
There are two basic ways for Canadian and Mexican citizens to process the TN: apply for the TN Visa in their home country or apply for a change-of-status to TN within the United States.
For more information about UM TN sponsorship, visit the TN page.
The E-3 category is for persons who are coming to the U.S. to be temporary workers in a specialty occupation who are citizens of Australia. The requirements and conditions are extremely similar to those of the H-1B. To be considered eligible for E-3, the position must require at least a Bachelor’s degree as the normal entry requirement. Employment approval is granted through either the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or a U.S. Consulate abroad and is job specific as well as employer and department specific.
The E-3 status may be granted initially for up to a two-year period. There is no maximum on the number of renewals, but E-3s may only be requested in up-to two-year increments. Workers in this category can fill permanent positions, but must leave the country at the end of their authorized period of stay. Unlike the H-1B, a person in status is not considered to have dual-intent with regards to immigration.
For more information about UM E-3 sponsorship, visit the E-3 page.
Optional Practical Training/Curricular Practical Training (OPT/CPT) and Academic Training
F-1 Practical Training
There are two kinds of practical training available to F-1 Students: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).
CPT, refers to employment that is “an integral part of an established curriculum,” which may include internship, co-op education, or work/study alternative, and it must be a requirement for graduation. OPT, allows international students to be temporarily employed to gain practical experience in the student’s major area of study, and may be part- or full- time, and pre- or post-completion of the academic program.
J-1 Academic Training
Academic training refers to work, training, or experience that is related to a J-1 student’s field of study. Academic training is permitted at any stage of a student’s program, either while the student is enrolled in school or after the completion date of the academic program.
For more information about OPT/CPT and Academic Training options, visit the Practical and Academic Training page.
The categories of Permanent Residence which are sponsored by the University of Mississippi are: EB-1 Outstanding Researcher/Professor, EB-2 Advanced Degree Holders, EB-2 Exceptional Ability in the Science, Arts, or Business, and EB-3 Professional or Skilled Worker.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Only the University of Mississippi, International Student and Scholar Services can process permanent residency petitions that are based on university employment. University employees MAY NOT hire an immigration attorney or self-petition for EB-1 Outstanding Researcher/Professor, EB-2 Advanced Degree Holders, EB-2 Exceptional Ability in the Science, Arts, or Business, or EB-3 Professional or Skilled Worker. All employment-based options must be filed with ISSS and the university’s designated legal counsel.
- For more information about UM-sponsored Permanent Residency, visit the
|Government, personal, or other source||Must be UM funded|
|UM-funded ok but not required||Funding must be guaranteed for length of H- 1B requested|
|Minimum of $1971/month for scholar ($584/month for spouse, $417/month per child)||Salary must meet DOL prevailing wage and actual wage requirements|
|Employment||Authorized “incident to status” only with prior approval of UM ISSS and only at pre- approved site(s) of activity listed on J-1 immigration document (Form DS-2019)||Authorized only for approved position, at approved salary level, at approved employer/department listed on I-129 Petition|
|Purpose of visit||Educational or cultural exchange||Employment|
|6 months (Short-term Scholars)||
|5 years (Research Scholars/Professors)|
Nature of UM Position
|Temporary academic||Long-term or permanent|
|Not tenure-track eligible||Funding guaranteed for length of H-1B requested|
|Example titles: Visiting Research Scholar, Visiting Instructor, Post-doc, Research Scientist||Example titles: Assistant Professor, Professor, Lab Tech|
|Can UM sponsor for U.S. Permanent Residency?||No||Possible|
Costs to department
Shipping fees for DS-2019 documents
|$460 Filing Fee|
|$500 Anti-Fraud (new petitions only)|
|$2500 Premium Processing (optional depending on the situation)|
|Shipping Fees for Petition and Immigration Documents|
Costs to scholar
|$220 SEVIS fee||
Visa application and reciprocity fee if applying for H-1b visa at U.S. consulate
|$160 visa application fee|
|Visa reciprocity issuance fee (varies by country, see http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html)||
H-1B can pay $2500 premium processing fee (if the sole beneficiary of the premium processing is the H-1B holder)
|Health insurance costs|
|Living costs (minimum $1971/month required)|
Total Processing Time
2-5 days in ISSS once complete request received from host department,
|ISSS processing times (once complete application received):|
|With DOL Prevailing Wage Request 3-4 months|
|In-house Prevailing Wage Determination (university assumes liability; requires Provost approval) 2-5 days plus 7-10 days for Labor Condition Application|
|USCIS processing time (once submitted):|
1-2 months for J-1 visa processing at U.S. Embassy/Consulate
|Standard processing 4-6 months (check current processing times at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times)|
|Premium processing at USCIS guarantees USCIS processing in 15 days (only speeds up USCIS, not ISSS or DOL)|
|If H-1B beneficiary is outside of the U.S., 1-2 months for visa processing at U.S. Embassy/Consulate|
|Relatively easy process|
|J-2 spouse can apply for work authorization||Dual intent (can apply for U.S. Permanent Residency)|
|For all J-1s||UM can incur liability under DOL rules|
|2-year home country residence requirement (212(e)) applies if funded by home/U.S. government, or if in field of research on country “skills list”||H-4 spouse cannot work|
|For Research Scholars/Professors||Processing time|
|12- and/or 24-month bar after previous J participation may apply||May be ineligible if subject to 212(e)|