Immigration & Visa Information for Faculty, Staff & Exchange Visitors

The information contained herein is for general informational purposes only and may vary depending on the facts of a specific situation. The information does not constitute a guarantee of visa sponsorship.

Immigration and visa questions and requests should be directed to the Office of General Counsel.

More information about international student visas

H-1B Visas for Specialty Occupations

H-1B immigration status is a temporary, nonimmigrant status for workers in specialty occupations.

As a general rule, Bucknell University only pursues H-1B sponsorship for tenured and tenure-track faculty positions.

The University may pursue H-1B sponsorship for certain staff positions, depending on the circumstances, including the requirements and nature of the position. The H-1B approval process involves the University's submission of a petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting H-1B status for employment.

The H-1B approval process takes weeks or months due to government processing times. Hiring departments should initiate the H-1B process with the General Counsel's office immediately upon extending an offer to a candidate needing H-1B sponsorship — or ideally as soon as a finalist is identified.

Qualifying for an H-1B Visa

H-1B status is employer and position specific. In order for a position to qualify for an H-1B, the job must require, at minimum, a four-year bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in a specialty. The status is limited to the sponsoring employer and the particular position described in the H-1B application.

Time Limits

Foreign nationals can remain in H-1B status for a maximum of six years, absent certain exceptions. After six years in H-1B status, the individual must reside and be physically present outside the United States for one year before they can return and work in the United States on an H-1B visa.

Traveling with H-1B Status

An unexpired visa stamp is not required to maintain H-1B status. However, an unexpired visa stamp is required for travelers with H-1B status to return to the United States from abroad. Individuals who need an H-1B visa stamp need to apply at a U.S. consular post in their home country or in Canada or Mexico. Please contact the General Counsel's office for more information regarding specific situations.

Below you will find additional useful information regarding H-1B visas:

J-1 Visas for Exchange Visitors

J-1 immigration status is a non-immigrant status for approved exchange visitors working or studying in the United States. The U.S. Department of State administers the J-1 program, the goal of which is "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges." J-1 exchange visitors enter the United States in one of various program categories, such as "Professor," "Research Scholar" and "Short-term Scholar."

As a general rule, Bucknell pursues J-1 sponsorship, as appropriate, for visiting assistant professors, post-doctoral researchers/fellows and other employees whose appointment is anticipated to be short-term, as well as for visiting scholars.

The J-1 approval process involves the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019). In most cases, the DS-2019 will be used to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. consular post abroad for admission to the United States on J-1 status.

There are limited exceptions to eligibility, including circumstances that may require a visitor to return to their home country for at least two years prior to being eligible for most immigration benefits. Waiver of this requirement is possible. More information on the two-year home-country physical presence requirement is available through the U.S. Department of State.

Exchange visitors must maintain health insurance for themselves and their dependents that meet federal requirements. Please see the "Statement of Compliance with Exchange Visitor Health Insurance Requirements" below for more information.

Hiring departments should initiate the J-1 process with the General Counsel's office immediately upon extending an offer to a candidate needing J-1 sponsorship.

Permanent Residency

Bucknell sponsors tenured and tenure-track foreign national faculty members for permanent residency. U.S. immigration law does not support the sponsorship of visiting assistant professors for permanent residency. The University generally does not sponsor staff members for permanent residency, although exceptions may be made where:

  • The individual is deemed critical to the operation of their department or office.
  • A determination is made that the position is difficult to fill and that there are likely to be no qualified U.S. applicants for the position.

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