Faculty and Staff Resources

Immigration Information for
International Faculty and Staff

General Immigration Information

Elon University can assist departments in bringing over visiting international scholars or researchers to campus. Employing departments should be aware that a certain category (of visa) may be more appropriate for a given visitor than the other.

Visiting scholars should come to the United States on appropriate visas. The USCIS will deny most applications for change of status for people who state one intention before they enter the United States and then immediately "develop" a different set of intentions after their entry.

The US Congress recently passed legislation (November 1998) to allow the payment of expenses and honoraria to visiting scholars in "B" or visitor status, but that arrangement is for a single event or short series of events (master class/lecture/demonstration) and is limited to 9 days and the payment of an honorarium and expenses, not salary.

At the time of this writing, the USCIS has not published regulations to put these new honorarium rules into effect. Until we have those regulations, a department that wishes to bring a visiting scholar to Elon University and pay that scholar an honorarium should use the J category. Check with the payroll office to see what their policy is during this interim period.

Please note that visitors from many European countries, as well as Japan, can enter the United States with no visa at all. These entries are "visitor" entries and CURRENTLY preclude payment of honoraria. Consult the Payroll Office for more information.

Be aware that Elon University assumes a major responsibility when sponsoring an international scholar. faculty, or staff member. We must be certain that our sponsorship is extended for purposes which are consistent not only with the University's goals, programs and immigration laws, but also with the goals and intent of State Department’s Exchange program. That responsibility rests with the departments and the individual faculty members who invite foreign scholars and request University sponsorship.

Elon University, like many other US institutions of higher learning intends to recruit the best and brightest among qualified non-immigrants in order to respond to the needs of its various academic programs in the Arts and Sciences and outstanding professional programs. To that end, Elon University, which “adheres to and believes in equal opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by law, is eager to petition on behalf of any qualified foreign national faculty or staff for work authorization. The following is a summary of visa categories that Elon University has been relying upon over the years to legally employ international faculty or staff:



F-1 When the faculty/staff has been authorized for employment by the Designated School Official based on a Curricular Practical Training or by the Department of Homeland Security with an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) based on Optional Practical Training.
~ See the staff at GEC for more information.
H-1B This is a temporary work visa for specialty occupation worker rendering services ONLY to a specific employer. Honorariums not permitted. Compensation for other services unrelated to employment not permitted. Nonimmigrant status. Appropriate for temporary long- term employment (up to 6 years), or possibly permanent appointments.
(Exchange Visitor)
This visa category is employer-specific as designated by RO (Responsible Officer) for permissible activity or training incidental to status. Nonimmigrant status. Appropriate for temporary employment (up to 5 years). ~ See the staff at GEC for more information.
O This visa status is intended for a small group of persons recognized internationally or nationally for their extraordinary ability in sciences, art, education, in business, motion pictures, athletics, and television.
TN This temporary work visa was created ONLY for citizens of Canada and Mexico as NAFTA professionals to work in the United States.
B-1/B-2 and WB/WT This category is intended for visitors.


Of course, based on each situation, there are other visa categories that can be explored to meet the need of a given department.

We strongly encourage the departments, schools and supervisors to consult with the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center to find ways and means of meeting their needs.

Below are further details on the above visa categories of temporary work visas:

The information provided on these webpage does NOT include visa issuance fees levied at US Consulates/ Embassies from foreign nationals when applying for a US visa. Non-immigrants seeking entry into the United States of America should visit the Department of State’s website at www.travel.state.gov to obtain a current list of visa issuance procedures.

Specific Immigration Information by Status