Basic Overview of Sponsorship and Academic Training Options
Visas for international faculty and academic staff at the University of Mississippi are processed through the Office of International Programs. 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 the Office of International Programs.
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: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html.
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.
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 H-1B sponsorship, visit the TN 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, Office of International Programs 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 OIP and the university’s designated legal counsel.
- For more information about UM-sponsored Permanent Residency, visit the