Academics and Researchers

Academics and Researchers have several options to obtain a temporary visa to the United States.

The optimal visa option in your case may vary depending on your particular circumstances and situation. To determine the best course of action in your individual case, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

H-1B Specialty Occupation

The Academic or Researcher's employer may file an H-1B petition for his/her employee. A specialty occupation is one which requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, to enter into the occupation in the United States, and the position requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. In some instances, work experience may be substituted for education requirements, provided certain requirements are met.

An approved Labor Condition Attestation (LCA) is required prior to the filing of the petition. The LCA ensures that the wages and working conditions do not undermine those for U.S. workers in the same or comparable position. The H-1B visa may be approved for up to three years, and it can be extended for a total of six years. If an application for permanent residency is submitted at least one year prior to the end of the sixth year, additional yearly extensions may be granted. Spouses and minor children are eligible for H-4 dependent status, which does not grant employment authorization.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability

O-1 visas are available to applicants of "extraordinary ability" in the field of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary achievements in the motion picture and television field. This category is broad and can be appropriate for such diverse applicants as cutting-edge scientific researchers, visionary corporate executives and professional basketball players.

Individuals seeking this visa must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability through documentation of sustained national or international acclaim in their field. O-1 petitions are more likely to be successful if a beneficiary has received national or international awards, has a record of press about their work, authored writings in well-known publications, made original contributions to their field, worked for organizations or on projects with a distinguished reputation, earns a high salary or has other similar achievements.

Thos individuals who can qualify for the O-1 visa can usually also meet the legal standard for the corresponding immigrant classification, the EB-1 (extraordinary ability).

J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

The Exchange Visitor Program is for a nonimmigrant visitor who is a professor or research scholar, short-term scholar, bona fide trainee or intern, college or university student, teacher, secondary school student, nonacademic specialist, foreign physician, international visitor, government visitor, camp counselor, au pair, or summer student in a travel/work program. The individual must meet a number of certain other requirements to quality for the J-1 visa. The maximum duration of this visa is five years, with some exceptions.

The exchange of professors and research scholars promotes mutual enrichment and linkages between research and educational institutions in the United States and foreign countries. It does so by giving foreign professors and research scholars the opportunity to engage in research, teaching and lecturing with their American colleagues, to participate actively in cross-cultural activities with Americans, and ultimately to share with their countrymen their experiences and increased knowledge of the United States and their substantive fields.