The United States is home to some of the world’s best universities and research institutions, so it is not surprising that many international scholars want to come here. Not only do scholars and researchers benefit from international exchanges, but the important work they do can take immense leaps forward with cross-border collaboration as well. Recognizing that, the United States offers several visa options for professors, researchers, and scholars wishing to come here to further their scholarship or work for companies involved in research and development. The team at Trow & Rahal works hard to make the immigration process as easy and uncomplicated as possible for world-renowned scholars and ambitious researchers.

Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visas

Scholars and professors who are not (yet) outstanding in their fields can come to the United States on a temporary basis to teach, study, or conduct research under an exchange visitor visa. This is a non-immigrant visa available to foreign citizens in a range of roles, from camp counselors to physicians, for anywhere from one day to seven years, depending on the purpose of the visit. 

J-1 Short-Term Scholar

This visa is an option for professors, researchers, post-docs, and graduate students who want to come to the United States to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. The duration of this visa is six months or less. The visa holder may conduct their scholarship at a research institution, museum, library, college, or university. This visa can be obtained multiple times with no waiting period.

J-1 Professor and Research Scholar

Professors, researchers, post-docs, and graduate students who intend to stay for up to five years to consult in connection with a research project or teach in a non-tenure track position can apply for this visa. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and must not have been physically in the United States for any part of the 12 months preceding the start date. This visa can be repeated after the person has lived outside of the United States for at least two years.

J-1 visas provide a great opportunity for scholars and researchers to teach and learn in the United States on a limited basis.

Employment-Based First Preference (EB-1B) Visa

Professors and researchers who have an offer of employment from a United States university or company may be eligible for an EB-1b visa for outstanding professors and researchers. If the prospective employer is a private company and not an accredited university, it must prove has a research department by showing documented accomplishments and providing evidence that it employs at least three full-time researchers.

To be considered outstanding for the purposes of this visa, the researcher must meet the following criteria:

  • Ability to demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in your field
  • At least three years of experience in teaching or research in your field
  • Proof that you are entering the United States to pursue a tenure-track teaching position or a comparable research position at an institute of higher learning or a private company

To demonstrate outstanding achievement as a professor or researcher, you must provide evidence of any two of the following:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  • Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Published material in professional publications written by others about your work in the academic field
  • Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in journals with international circulation in the field

Alternative forms of evidence can be submitted if these criteria don’t readily apply in your situation.

Your United States employer must file an EB-1b visa petition on your behalf. The employer must be able to demonstrate—with an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement—a continuing ability to pay your wages.

The attorneys at Trow & Rahal have cleared the way for many professors and researchers to bring their expert knowledge to the United States. We work with universities and research facilities at every step of the process, including filing initial applications, gathering evidence, filing renewals, resolving problems, and much more.

Are You a Researcher or Scholar in Need of Legal Immigration Help?

If you are a researcher or scholar who needs legal immigration assistance, you should speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. We have been helping educators and researchers just like you with the immigration process since 1993 and always work towards exceeding expectations. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 202.537.4830 to discuss your specific business immigration legal needs. We service clients throughout the United States from our Bethesda, Maryland office and look forward to working with you.