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Sponsorship Policies and Procedures

The staff at the ISSO is pleased to assist with 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 not citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US and require assistance with immigration processing. 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.

Faculty and staff wishing to invite and/or employ international scholars must familiarize themselves with Boston University sponsorship policies, procedures and timelines (see below) for the various immigration classifications. Faculty and staff 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.

The table below outlines various sponsorship classifications. Timeline 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.

The length of time required to process a request for sponsorship can vary according to immigration classification and individual circumstances. However, 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.

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)
J-1 Short-Term
Scholar
Academic
Research or
Instruction
Master's level
or equivalent
6 months 10 days 20-30 days 40 days
(1.5 months)
J-1 Research
Scholar
Academic
Research
Master's level
or equivalent
5 years 10 days 20-30 days 40 days
(1.5 months)
J-1 Professor Academic
Instruction
Master's level
or equivalent
5 years 10 days 20-30 days 40 days
(1.5 months)
J-1 Specialist Academic
Activities
including
Consulting
Expertise in
a specialized
field
1 year 10 days 20-30 days 40 days
(1.5 months)
H-1 Temporary
Worker
Teaching,
Research,
other
limited
occupations
Bachelor's level
or equivalent
in a specialized
field
3 years2 30-60 days5 120-180 days3 180-210 days
(6-7 months)
TN Trade
NAFTA
Teaching,
Research,
other
limited
occupations
Requirements
vary depending
on occupation
1 year2 10 days 2 days
(Canada)
20-30 days
(Mexico)
12 days
(Canada)
40 days
(Mexico)
O-1
Extraordinary
Ability
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 $1000 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
  5. Estimate based on possible prevailing wage request processing delays

 

ISSO
Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office