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Hiring International Faculty & Staff

STOP! Before contacting International Student and Scholar Services to initiate immigration processing, you must first receive confirmation of a secured position by Faculty and Academic Resources.

Legal Employment Authorization

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) contributes to the research and teaching mission of the university by assisting with the process of obtaining legal employment authorization for distinguished international faculty and staff.

Departments should contact ISSS to help assess the appropriate visa classification to pursue when inviting international scholars or hiring international employees for any position. Hiring international employees is governed by U.S. immigration law and Texas State University policy.

The following questions should be considered when hiring inviting an international scholar or employee:
  • What is the purpose for bringing the scholar to Texas State? 
    • Is it for a short-term visit?
    • Is it for grant-funded research?
    • Is it to hire for a tenure track teaching position?
  • Who will provide financial support for the scholar? 
    • Will the scholar be paid by Texas State? 
    • Will the scholar be self-funded? 
      • If so, will it be their own personal funding or their home institution or government?
  • How soon does the department need the scholar to begin? 
    • Immediately or in the next semester?
  • What is the current location of the prospective scholar or employee? 
    • Are they in the U.S. or abroad?
    • Have they worked in the U.S. before on a nonimmigrant visa classification?
  • Who in the department will be responsible for helping the international scholar with pre-arrival arrangements such as airport arrival, housing and transportation?

Determining the Right Type of Employment Authorization

There are several types of employment authorization for international employees in the United States. The three most common visa classifications to invite or hire international employees at Texas State are

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation
  • TN Trade NAFTA Professional
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will assist with immigration processing for international hires. This may include initial application assistance or change of nonimmigrant status (if the applicant is in the U.S.).
 
Before the hiring department initiates a request to ISSS, they must first have an authorized position at the university secured through Faculty and Academic Resources.
 
ISSS works in collaboration with:
  • Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) to process J-1 Exchange Visitor applications
  • Foster LLP - US & Global Immigration Services, a immigration law firm. Foster assists ISSS with H-1B and permanent residency employment authorization applications.
  • Texas State Academic Departments looking to hire international personnel
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is an excellent way for departments to invite international scholars to Texas State University to teach, study, or conduct research. It is especially useful for positions such as post-doctoral researcher, visiting lecturer, and professor. It cannot be used for a tenure-track or tenured faculty position but not for a staff position.
 
Employing an individual with H-1B Employment Authorization requires a case specific submission of a petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has requirements that must be met before H-1B employment is authorized at Texas State. The prospective H-1B applicant cannot self-petition to USCIS
 
The TN Trade NAFTA Professional is authorized through the North American Free Trade Agreement and is only available to citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the U.S.
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  • Detailed Visa Explanations

    • Review the J-1 Exchange Visitors website for more information.

      Key highlights of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

      • Available to visiting scholars, such as visiting professors, visiting researchers, postdoctoral fellows, etc.
      • Cannot be used for a tenure-track or tenured faculty position
      • Cannot be used for a staff position
      • Must obtain a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) or outside sponsoring organization, e.g. Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
      • Must obtain a J-1 visa at US Consulate abroad to enter U.S. (except for Canadian citizens), or obtain approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change status to J-1 from within the U.S.
      • J-1 Research Scholar and Professor category is limited to five years
      • J-1 Short-term Scholar is limited to a six-month stay
      • Some exchange visitors are subject to the 212(e) - two-year home country residence requirement
      • If scholar has held J status (including J Student, Researcher, Professor, Specialist or dependent, except Short-term Scholar) in the U.S., for six months or more during the preceding 12 months, he/she is not eligible for the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category.
      • J-1 Professor or Research Scholar become subject to the Two-Year Bar on repeat participation in those particular categories after completing their programs even if the program lasts less than five years.
        • The Department of State has taken the position that the Two-Year Bar also applies to J-2 dependents of J-1 Professors or Research Scholars if the J-2 subsequently wishes to return as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar
        • The two-year bar is different from the two- year home country residence requirement.
      • May be given honorarium, stipend or salary by the J-1 program sponsor for pre-approved activities related to program objectives (in SEVIS).
      • Prior written authorization from TIEC must be obtained to engage in occasional lectures or consultation
      • Dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors holding J-2 status may apply for employment authorization from USCIS
      • Employment restricted to the petitioning employer under the terms and conditions of the approved H-1B
      • Consult the International Office prior to any changes in H-1B employment at Texas State University
      • Must meet wage requirements as set by Department of Labor regulations
      • Must obtain H-1B visa abroad to enter US (except for Canadian citizens), or obtain approval from USCIS to change status to H-1B from within the US
      • H-1B status is initially granted for a maximum period of three years and can be extended for a total of six years (regardless of the number of employers) May be reimbursed for expenses
      • May receive honoraria, stipend, or salary only from Texas State for H-1B authorized activities
      • H-4 dependents of H-1B temporary workers may not work
    • Review the B Visa website for more information

      Below are key reminders for temporary visitors

      • Not for employment of any kind
      • B-1 Visitors may be reimbursed for travel expenses.
      • B-2 Visitors may receive reimbursements for travel expenses only if incidental honorarium 
      • Visa must be obtained from US Consulate abroad (except for Canadian citizens) to enter US
      • Letter of invitation may be helpful in obtaining visa and being granted entry to the US
      • May enter the US for short periods of time (usually less than six months)
      • Should have a nonrefundable round trip ticket
      • Should have documentation of funds to support expenses
    • On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The criteria for TN admission under the USMCA is the same as under NAFTA.

      The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The TN (Trade NAFTA) category allows for temporary entry into the US of individuals for the purposes of:

      • Working for a U.S. employer as a professional; or
      • Working for a foreign employer (including even a non-Canadian or non-Mexican employer) to provide pre-arranged professional services to a U.S. employer

      Eligibility requirements for TN nonimmigrant status are:

      1. Prospective TN Professional
      2. Employer
        • Job must constitute a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer. 
        • Self employment is not permitted.
        • Must be an employee of Texas State University in a position that requires a NAFTA professional
          • TN applicant must have the qualifications to practice in the proposed profession

      Initial TN Visa Issuance

      • Mexican citizens must obtain TN visa abroad to enter US.
      • Canadian citizens can obtain status at the port of entry or border crossing.

      Documents needed:

      • Passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay being requested
      • Documentation demonstrating engagement in business activities at a professional level and demonstrating professional qualifications:
        • Employment letter from Texas State University stating:
          1. The profession of the applicant (must be an eligible profession in the Appendix 1603.D.1)
          2. A description of the professional activities, including a brief summary of daily job duties, if appropriate, in which the applicant will engage in for the United States employer/entity;
          3. The anticipated length of stay;
          4. The educational qualifications or appropriate credentials which demonstrate that the Canadian or Mexican citizen has professional level status; and
          5. The arrangements for remuneration for services to be rendered.
        • Must be supported by diplomas, degrees or membership in a professional organization. Degrees received by the applicant from an educational institution not located within Canada, Mexico, or the United States must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials.
      • Completed Form DS-160 (for Mexican citizens) - Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
      • Visa application fees

      TN Extension of Stay

      TNs can apply for an extension of stay of up to 3 years either by:

      • Re-entering the U.S. through an authorized CBP port of entry, or
      • Having the TN employer file a Form I-129 petition with USCIS requesting an extension of stay for the TN employee.

      Per the regulatory citation 8 CFR 214.6h:

      1. Filing. A United States employer of a citizen of Canada or Mexico who is currently maintaining valid TN nonimmigrant status, or a United States entity (in the case of a citizen of Canada or Mexico who is currently maintaining valid TN nonimmigrant status and is employed by a foreign employer), may request an extension of stay, subject to the following conditions:
        • (i) An extension of stay must be requested by filing the appropriate form with the fee provided at 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1), in accordance with the form instructions with USCIS.
        • (ii) The beneficiary must be physically present in the United States at the time of the filing of the appropriate form requesting an extension of stay as a TN nonimmigrant. If the alien is required to leave the United States for any reason while the petition is pending, the petitioner may request that USCIS notify the consular office where the beneficiary is required to apply for a visa or, if visa exempt, a DHS-designated port-of entry where the beneficiary will apply for admission to the United States, of the approval.
        • (iii) An extension of stay in TN status may be approved by USCIS for a maximum period of three years.
        • (iv) There is no specific limit on the total period of time an alien may be in TN status provided the alien continues to be engaged in TN business activities for a U.S. employer or entity at a professional level, and otherwise continues to properly maintain TN nonimmigrant status.
      2. Readmission at the border. Nothing in paragraph (h)(1) of this section shall preclude a citizen of Canada or Mexico who has previously been admitted to the United States in TN status, and who has not violated such status while in the United States, from applying at a DHS-designated port-of-entry, prior to the expiration date of the previous period of admission, for a new three-year period of admission. The application for a new period of admission must be supported by a new letter from the United States employer or the foreign employer, in the case of a citizen of Canada who is providing prearranged services to a United States entity, which meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section, together with the appropriate filing fee as noted in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1). Citizens of Mexico must present a valid passport and a valid, unexpired TN nonimmigrant visa when applying for readmission, as outlined in paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

      Common NAFTA Professions (not a comprehensive list)

      • Teacher
      • Scientist
      • Research Assistant
      • Scientific Technician/Techologist
      • Computer System Analyst
      • Economist
      • Engineer
      • Medical/Allied Professionals

      Period of Stay

      Up to 3 years

      Extensions of stay are granted in up to 3-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.

      Dependents of TN Nonimmigrants

      Accompanying spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and children are:

      • Not permitted to work while in the United States
      • Permitted to study in the U.S. part-time or full-time
      • Granted TD status for no longer than the period of time granted to the principal TN nonimmigrant.

      For more information refer to the USCIS TN Nonimmigrant website.

  • Common Scenarios

    • J-1 Short-term Scholar

      The majority of temporary visiting scholars and researchers come to lecture or conduct research as J-1 Exchange Visitors. Information on how to invite individuals to the U.S. in this status can be found on the J-1 Exchange Visitor website.

      B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver Honorarium

      Temporary visitors in B-1, B-2, or VWP status may receive honorarium if specific criteria is met. For more information refer to the B Visa website.

    • F-1 Optional Practical Training

      An international student in F-1 status may apply for temporary employment authorization called Optional Practical Training (OPT) to be used during a degree program or after the completion of course requirements. Once the authorization has been approved by USCIS, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued. Departments at Texas State may employ F-1 OPT students for a period of time within the validity of the EAD.

      J-1 Academic Training

      An international student in J-1 status may apply for a temporary employment authorization known as Academic Training (A/T) to be used during a degree program or after the completion of course requirements. Once the authorization has been approved by the student’s J program sponsor, the J-1 receives a Letter of Authorization and extended DS-2019. Departments at Texas State may employ J-1 A/T students for a period of time within the 18-36 month validity of the Letter of Authorization.


      F-1 or J-1 graduates of Texas State University Student should apply for work authorization through International Student and Scholar Services. Non-Texas State Graduates must contact their DSO or RO of the institution from which he/she has recently graduated.

    • J-1 Exchange Visitor

      The majority of temporary teaching and research scholars come to lecture or conduct research as J-1 Exchange Visitors. J-1 Exchange visitors has three main scholar categories: Professor, Research Scholar, and Short-term Scholar. Short-term scholars are allowed to remain in the U.S. up to six months. Professors and Research Scholars can remain in the U.S. up to five years. Information on how to invite individuals to the U.S. in this status can be found on the J-1 Exchange Visitor website.

      H-1B Specialty Occupation

      If the J-1 Exchange Visitor is not appropriate, researchers and employees in non-tenured faculty titles can be brought into the U.S. on H-1B visas. H-1B petitions require approximately six to eight months to process.

      TN Trade NAFTA Professional

      Certain professional workers from Canada and Mexico may be employed for up to 3 years at a time.

    • Should be H-1B; can be on OPT or TN initially but eventually must change to H-1B.

      H-1B Specialty Occupation

      Tenure-track faculty members and permanent researchers should primarily be brought into the U.S. on H-1B visas. H-1B petitions require approximately six to eight months to process. It is important to consult International Student and Scholar Services to determine if the position is eligible for this status.

      F-1 International Student - Optional Practical Training (OPT)

      Upon graduation, F-1 international students are permitted temporary work authorization to work in a field that is directly related to their course of study. OPT is permitted for 12 months and students with a designated STEM degree may be granted an additional 24 months of work authorization.

      TN Trade NAFTA Professional

      Certain professional workers from Canada and Mexico may be employed for up to 3 years at a time.

    • Only J-1 can be unpaid.

      Information on how to invite individuals to the U.S. in this status can be found on the J-1 Exchange Visitor website.

    • J-1 or TN are strongly recommended; can be H-1B if salary is sufficient.

      J-1 Exchange Visitor

      The majority of temporary teaching and research scholars come to lecture or conduct research as J-1 Exchange Visitors. J-1 Exchange visitors has three main scholar categories: Professor, Research Scholar, and Short-term Scholar. Short-term scholars are allowed to remain in the U.S. up to six months. Professors and Research Scholars can remain in the U.S. up to five years. Information on how to invite individuals to the U.S. in this status can be found on the J-1 Exchange Visitor website.

      H-1B Specialty Occupation

      If the J-1 Exchange Visitor is not appropriate, researchers and employees in non-tenured faculty titles can be brought into the U.S. on H-1B visas. H-1B petitions require approximately six to eight months to process.

      TN Trade NAFTA Professional

      Certain professional workers from Canada and Mexico may be employed for up to 3 years at a time.

Need Help?

To assist you in determining the right visa type, please contact International Student and Scholar Services by emailing internationalscholars@txstate.edu.