For employment-based Permanent Residence information see our Permanent Residence webpage.
Guide to Hiring or Inviting Foreign Nationals to UIC
Most internationals coming to observe, work, teach, research, or perform other related duties at UIC will need to work with the Office of International Services to obtain immigration sponsorship, if needed, or report their visit. Departments are generally the first point of contact for the international and the information provided below is intended to help frame those initial conversations. That said, please keep in mind that the information below is only a basic guide to hiring and inviting foreign nationals. OIS will make all final determinations regarding the most appropriate non-immigrant classification for each individual case. We look forward to working with you and invite you to reach out to our advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonimmigrant statuses at UIC Heading link
The following is a general overview of the most common nonimmigrant statuses at UIC. Please connect with OIS with questions and information on next steps.
J-1 Exchange Visitor
J-1 Exchange Visitor Program overview
The U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program (“J-1 Program”) is designed to promote international academic, scientific, and cultural exchange in order to develop mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries. The J-1 Program is utilized to bring Exchange Visitors (EVs) to the U.S. on a temporary basis to engage in exchange activities; not as a means of general employment.
May be used for short to medium-term visitors. Funding may come from various sources: UIC, personal funds, or outside sources, such as one’s home government. The J-1 program has multiple “categories;” OIS will determine the appropriate category for each case based on information provided on the DS-2019 Request Form. All J-1 categories must demonstrate sufficient English proficiency. Other requirements depend upon the category:
- Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar/Professor, and Specialist – Must have at least some graduate education, plus demonstrated expertise in their field.
- Student Intern – Must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. The UIC internship must fulfill the educational objectives of the foreign degree program.
Maximum program duration limits
- Research Scholar/Professor – 5 years
- Student Intern or Specialist – 1 year
- Short-Term Scholar – 6 months
J-1 program status does not allow immigrant intent and is therefore not appropriate for tenure-track positions. The “12-month bar” prohibits a person from becoming a Research Scholar/Professor for 12 months if he or she was previously in J status for more than 6 of the previous 12 months in a category other than Short Term Scholar. The “24-month bar” prohibits a person from becoming a Research Scholar/Professor for 24 months if they were previously a Research Scholar/Professor.
Are you ready to begin a new J-1 EV Scholar request? Click below to learn how to request an initial DS-2019 for a prospective J-1 EV Scholar and reach out to OIS advisors at email@example.com with questions.
Fulbright Students & Scholars
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship exchange program, created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries. The program allows foreign graduate students and young professionals to study and research in the U.S. Operating in about 155 countries, Fulbright welcomes approximately 4,000 foreign students and researchers to academic institutions across the U.S. each year.
The Office of International Services supports inbound Fulbright scholarship recipients in residence at UIC. However, OIS is not the primary J-1 immigration program sponsor or advisor. Fulbright students and scholars receive immigration sponsorship from Fulbright and their partner organizations, the most common at UIC being:
- AMIDEAST: engaged in international education, training, and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa.
- IIE: supports the flagship educational and cultural exchange programs of the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.
- LASPAU: affiliated with Harvard University, focused on strengthening higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prospective Fulbright Students and Scholars should apply for the program through the Fulbright Commission, or the U.S. Embassy, in their home country. Additional information may be found on the Fulbright website.
Getting started – Fulbright Students
Prospective students intending to enroll in a degree program at UIC should work with the Fulbright commission in their home country who will then coordinate their application with the appropriate admission unit at UIC.
Getting started – Fulbright Scholars
Fulbright scholarship recipients who intend to solely conduct research (not enroll in a degree program at UIC), may directly contact UIC faculty members to request an affiliation for their Fulbright research programs. It is up to the UIC academic unit to confirm if they are willing to host the visitor, or not. Typically, all cost-of-living expenses are covered by the scholar’s Fulbright funding, but the department should always confirm this with the prospective scholar.
Fulbright Scholar (Researcher) cycle process
- Scholar (Researcher) reaches out to the UIC department to request affiliation.
- Department decides whether feasible/interested or not, if interested, issues an invitation letter.
- Scholar (Researcher) confirms the invitation with Fulbright.
- Fulbright will then email the faculty advisor/department and the Office of International Services (OIS) that this affiliation has been requested and needs to be confirmed.
- Institutional Response Form sent. OIS will assist in completion in collaboration with the department and will be the final signature on the form.
- Fulbright prepares the immigration paperwork for the scholar and provides the scholar with pre-arrival/programmatic resources.
- Scholar arrives to UIC and checks in with OIS (email firstname.lastname@example.org upon arrival to campus to confirm check-in process).
- Scholar completes UIC check-in process and begins program.
- Upon program completion, UIC department and scholar complete a Departure Verification Form and submit it to OIS to confirm the program end. OIS will close out the scholar’s record accordingly.
Commitment to host requirements
- UIC Invitation Letter – If the UIC academic unit is willing to host the visiting scholar, they will need to issue a letter of invitation. The letter should specify the dates of the research visit and the nature and details of the research project.Once the UIC department confirms hosting the visiting scholar and issues a letter of invitation, the scholar will work with the Fulbright Commission, or the U.S. Embassy, in their home country to finalize their grant, begin the immigration paperwork process, and prepare for arrival to UIC. OIS does not issue immigration documents for Fulbright scholarship recipients.
- Advisor Memo and Completion of Fulbright Institutional Response Form (IRF) – The UIC faculty member hosting the scholar may receive an email from Fulbright detailing the responsibilities of the Faculty Advisor and requesting completion of an Institutional Response Form (IRF).
- Faculty Advisor Memo – The Faculty Advisor Memo is a reference document that highlights the role of the UIC faculty associate in hosting the Fulbright Scholar.
- Institutional Response Form (IRF) – Please contact OIS when you receive this paperwork, so that we may assist you in completing this form. The IRF is a document Fulbright requests the host institution to complete to confirm program details such as start date, general university requirements and resources available to the scholar. This document confirms that the UIC unit is expecting and willing to host the individual.Please complete the form to the best of your ability (“access to university services” and “cost” sections will need to be completed by the department). OIS can assist with the completion of the “insurance” and “housing” sections, as well as, the “university contact information” section.Once the form is completed the department should sign at the bottom of page 2 and email the form to OIS. OIS will then sign off under the University Contact Information section and send the fully completed/signed form back to Fulbright so they may process the paperwork for the incoming scholar.
Arrival & check-in
Please remember to have the student or scholar check in with OIS. We will ask them to provide their contact information and copies of their immigration documents. They will also be invited to an orientation.
- Students – Fulbright students will be contacted to check in upon arrival at UIC and meet with an OIS advisor. New international students typically have a “SEVIS Hold” placed on their university account upon admission which prevents them from registering for courses. OIS will remove the hold after check-in, or if the student is fully remote, after reviewing the “Intent to Enroll” form. Fulbright students will be invited to international student orientation hosted by OIS where we cover immigration information, as well as practical tips for studying at UIC and living in Illinois.
- Scholars – Fulbright scholars will meet with an OIS advisor to complete their check-in and review campus resources.
Other support resources
Immigration and campus resource questions
Unfortunately, OIS is not able to provide immigration advice to non-UIC sponsored students/scholars. However, we are happy to review any questions they may have and direct them to the appropriate resource.
Social Security Numbers/TCNs
In general, J-1 visa holders are only eligible for an SSN if they have employment. Please email OIS at email@example.com if you have questions about a Fulbright Student or Scholar’s employment eligibility on campus.
- Students – Fulbright students must ask their immigration sponsor for permission to work on-campus during their program. Fulbright will provide them with the necessary paperwork for their SSN application. The student will need to provide a copy of the employment approval letter from their Fulbright sponsor in addition to a copy of the UIC Offer Letter.
- Scholars – If they are paid by UIC, they will need to provide OIS with a copy of their Social Security Application receipt to receive a TCN number from our office.
OIS Fulbright Advisor
Institute of International Education (IIE)
H-1B Temporary Specialty Occupation Worker
Bachelor’s degree or higher. The person must have the degree required by the position, and there must be a direct relationship between the person’s degree and their work. H-1B status allows immigrant intent. Appropriate for both non-tenure track and tenure track positions.
Up to 3 years at a time, for up to 6 years total. Extensions beyond six years may be possible under certain circumstances.
Those individuals subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement, 212(e), as a result of previous J-1 status do not qualify unless 1) the J-1 visitor completes the home residence requirement or 2) obtains a recommendation from the Department of State for a waiver. A minimum salary is required, however, the minimum acceptable salary will not be known until after the sponsorship process has been initiated by OIS.
TN Professional Under USMCA
Must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen who has been admitted on a temporary basis to engage in business on a professional level under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Not appropriate for tenure-track positions.
Granted for up to one year at a time and is renewable annually for an indefinite period.
Must have Canadian or Mexican citizenship. Their field must fall under the list of professions in the NAFTA agreement, and they must have the appropriate degree listed. A list of NAFTA Professions can be found in our TN information.
O-1 Worker of Extraordinary Ability
Basic requirements and restrictions
Individual must be in the top 5% of their field internationally, and their preeminence must be documented. Often used for people who do not qualify for H-1B status because of the two-year home residence requirement due to prior J status. Change of status in the U.S. is not possible if the person is subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement. For those individuals, travel and obtaining new entry visas would be necessary for the O-1 and their dependents to obtain O status after the USCIS approves the person for O-1 classification.
Three years initially, after which it may be extended (indefinitely) in one year increments.
Conrad State-30 Waiver Applications on Behalf of Faculty Physicians
Certain alien physicians subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement 212(e), who have been offered a full-time clinical faculty appointment at UIC or UICOM-Peoria, are eligible for sponsorship of a Conrad State-30 Physician Waiver Application. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may waive the two-year home country requirement upon the recommendation of the U.S. Department of State, Waiver Review Division (USDOS). The regulations authorize the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)/Center for Rural Health to request the USDOS to recommend that USCIS grant the waiver.
The alien physician must demonstrate that they have an offer of full-time employment, will begin employment within 90 days of receiving a waiver, and will work for at least three years at a medical facility in an area designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care professionals. The program accepts applications from all medical specialties, including primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and specialist. If UIC is selected for one of the 30 annual waiver slots by IDPH, UIC would then apply for the H-1B employment classification on behalf of the alien physician.
Submitting a waiver request
Interested UIC Departments should contact OIS for more information about the State-30 Waiver Application process, including costs, timing, and other specific requirements. Note, waiver applications need to be submitted to IDPH by October 1st.
U.S. Permanent Residence
Non-UIC Sponsored International Employees
If your unit is interested in inviting a visitor to campus, you will need to first consider the purpose of the visit. If the main purpose of the visit is for participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or “undertaking independent research,” then a business visit with a B-1 visa may be appropriate. B-1 and WB are essentially the same status as outlined below.
OIS strongly advises that individuals enter for a business visit (B-1/WB), not a tourist visit (B-2/WT). Please contact OIS to discuss any prospective visitors to campus so we may assist and advise on the most appropriate immigration status option.
- The visit cannot constitute work, nor benefit UIC.
- The visitor cannot receive a salary or formal academic appointment while at UIC.
- B-1/WB Visitors may be eligible for academic honoraria, or reimbursements of incidental expenses, only. See OBFS Payments to Foreign Nationals for more information.
- Visitors may not have direct, or indirect patient contact, or interaction with research subjects in any manner.
- Use of department equipment or resources is only permitted under the supervision of a department sponsor.
- The visitor must abide by the intent of their visit throughout their stay in the U.S.
Inviting business visitors to campus
- Review the visa recommendations and considerations for official visitors to campus in B-1/WB status. Additional information on B-1/WB status may be found on the U.S. Department of State website as well.
- To initiate an invitation, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a template “B-1/WB invitation letter.”
- OIS will review the letter and advise on the appropriate status and request additional documentation as needed.
- After review of the invitation letter, OIS will send the department check-in information.