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Sponsorship Policies and Procedures

The staff at the ISSO is pleased to faciliate the invitation, visa application, arrival and employment, if applicable, of international visitors to Boston University.

The term "international scholar" refers to faculty, staff, researchers and temporary employees at Boston University who are neither citizens nor lawful permanent residents of the US . Many international scholars will require assistance with immigration processing and non-immigrant sponsorship. Most non-immigrant classifications are title, date, salary and job duty specific. The ISSO must adhere to strict federal guidelines and regulations of the US Department of State (DOS), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and US Department of Labor ( DOL). All requests for scholar sponsorship will be promptly and thoroughly reviewed to determine the most appropriate immigration classification to facilitate academic instruction and research at both the Charles River and Medical Campuses.

Hiring/host departments wishing to invite and/or employ international scholars must familiarize themselves with Boston University sponsorship policies, procedures and timelines for the various immigration classifications. Please refer to the quick reference guide to Boston University immigration sponsorship policies and procedures below indicating the estimated time needed to process most requests. Hiring/host departments are encouraged to consult with an ISSO staff member regarding the possibility of sponsorship and processing requirements before extending a formal invitation or offer of employment to an international scholar.

Boston University policy generally limits immigration sponsorship to research and teaching positions, as some classifications require a substantial commitment of institutional resources. Many administrative and support staff positions do not meet minimum eligibility requirements for immigration sponsorship. On occasion, some professional staff positions in specialized fields may meet minimum federal requirements and thus warrant consideration for institutional sponsorship. Departments wishing to hire an international employee for a professional staff position are advised to consult with the ISSO Scholar Services Team to determine which immigration sponsorship alternatives might be available. If the position and the candidate appear to qualify for immigration sponsorship, approval from the hiring authority and the Office of the Provost may also be required.

When determining the most appropriate immigration sponsorship category, ISSO staff will evaluate the needs of the hiring/host department and the principal objective of the prospective scholar in the US (study, research, employment, etc). The table below outlines various sponsorship classifications. The length of time required to process a request for sponsorship can vary according to immigration classification and individual circumstances. Our estimates assume that the scholar is physically present outside the US prior to commencing his/her appointment. If the prospective scholar is already in the US in a non-immigrant classification, the department faculty or staff member wishing to invite and/or employ the international scholar must confer with a staff member at the ISSO for further guidance.

All requests for the employment of foreign nationals must be processed through the ISSO. Only the ISSO staff is authorized to sign the legal documents and forms required to sponsor international scholars. The ISSO processes most nonimmigrant employment-based petitions in-house. Therefore, neither prospective employees nor university departments are authorized to retain outside immigration counsel to represent the international employment needs of the university. If you receive any forms requiring an authorized signature, please forward them to the ISSO.

 

Immigration
Classification1
Academic
Activity
Minimum
Academic
Requirements
Maximum
Duration
of Status
ISSO
Processing
Estimates
(business days)
Government
Agency
Processing
Estimates
(business days)
Total
Processing
Estimate4

B-1, B-2
WB, WT

One-time
lecture or
consultation
Not Applicable
9 business days
Not
Applicable
20-30 days
30 days
(1 Month)
Academic
Research or
Instruction
Graduate level education
or equivalent
6 months
10 days
20-30 days
40 days
(1.5 months)
Academic
Research
Graduate level education
or equivalent
5 years
10 days
20-30 days
40 days
(1.5 months)
Academic
Instruction
Graduate level education
or equivalent
5 years
10 days
20-30 days
40 days
(1.5 months)
Academic
Activities
including
Consulting
Expertise in
a specialized
field
1 year
10 days
20-30 days
40 days
(1.5 months)
Internship or Academic Research
Enrolled in a college or university-level program abroad
1 year
10 days
20-30 days
40 days
(1.5 months)
Teaching,
Research,
other
limited
occupations
Bachelor's level
or equivalent
in a specialized
field
3 years2
60 days
120-180 days3
180-210 days
(6-7 months)
Teaching, Research or employment in related major field
N/A - Graduate of U.S. college or unversity in certain designated major fields
17 months
10 days
90-120 days
100-130 days (3.5-4.5 months)
Teaching,
Research,
other
limited
occupations
Requirements
vary depending
on occupation
3 years2
10 days
2 days
(Canada)
20-30 days
(Mexico)
12 days
(Canada)
40 days
(Mexico)
Teaching,
Research,
other
limited
occupations
International
Expert in
field
3 years2
60 days
150 days3
210 days
(7 months)

Notes:

         1 Click on an individual classification to learn more about sponsorship 

         policies and procedures.

         2 Can be renewed under certain conditions.

         3 Expedited processing can be requested from USCIS for a $1,225 fee.

         4 Estimates based on the time required for the average visa application at a

         US Consulate or Embassy and does NOT account for possible security 

         clearance delays.

ISSO
Boston University
April 1, 2014

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office