Request Process

Hiring or hosting international scholars requires some additional steps. We've tried to make it as easy as possible for you to navigate immigration requirements. 

If you are already familiar with the general processes, then refer to the appropriate section below and get started on your request. If you have any questions along the way, please contact your ISSS advisor. We're here to help!

If this is your first time bringing an international scholar to Emory, then before you begin the request process with ISSS, you should:

  1. Answer these basic questions;
  2. Review the various immigration status options;
  3. Attend an HR training session (if hiring a scholar); and
  4. Get access to ISSS Link.

Once you have access to ISSS Link, follow the steps below, depending on the immigration status.

J-1 scholars

Begin the J-1 request process at least 3 months before the scholar's anticipated start date. The following process also applies to requesting a J-1 extension or requesting to revise the DS-2019.

  1. Work with your department's ISSS advisor to select the right J category. Find your advisor >>
  2. Pre-start the J-1 scholar in PeopleSoft using one of the following appointment titles and job codes that are appropriate for J-1 scholars – whether paid or NOC. The EMPLID is required for J-1 scholar e-form completion.

    Job code Appointment title
    9903 Post Doctoral Fellow
    9273 Visiting Assistant Professor
    9272 Visiting Associate Professor
    9278 Visiting Fellow
    9277 Visiting Instructor
    9279 Visiting Lecturer
    9271 Visiting Professor
    9318 Visiting Scholar
    9317 Visiting Scientist

    For specific appointment descriptions, please contact your Dean's office as they may vary per school.

  3. Verify the scholar's English language proficiency. You'll need to upload documentation showing their English fluency later. The State Department gives you 3 options:

    1. A recognized English language test (TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson);

    2. Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school (download template letter); or

    3. A documented interview by Emory’s hosting department with the J-1 exchange visitor, either in person or by video conference
      (evaluation template).

      If the scholar chooses to take an English test, these are the minimum scores:

      TOEFL (paper) TOEFL (internet) TOEFL (computer) IELTS Pearson
      550 79 213 6 59
  4. Gather the required documentation:
    1. Supervisor's invitation letter to the scholar including the information listed below and printed on department letterhead. Please use J-1 scholar invitation letter template >>
      1. The prospective J-1 scholar's name
      2. Dates of the visit
      3. Objective of the visit (note: clinical or patient care/contact is not appropriate)
      4. Site/location at Emory University (note: must be on Emory's Atlanta campus)
      5. Funding arrangement details (if not funded by Emory, clearly state so and indicate source(s) of funding)
      6. If applicable, any fees assessed by your department/school
      7. If applicable, any benefits or provisions provided by your department
    2. Proof of financial support in U.S. dollars. See minimum funding requirements >>
      1. If the scholar is fully funded by Emory, submit a letter of offer from Emory stating the annual salary and the period of offer.
      2. If the scholar is fully or partially funded by an organization other than Emory, submit a funding letter in English from the organization stating the annual funding amount and the period of funding.
      3. If the scholar is fully or partially funding themself, submit a recent letter in English from their bank stating the funding amount that is available in their checking or savings account.
      4. If the scholar is fully or partially funded by a family member or a private sponsor, submit a recent letter in English from the funding sponsor's bank stating the funding amount that is available in their checking or savings account. In addition, the funding sponsor must submit a financial sponsorship letter. Please use the financial sponsorship letter template >>
    3. Proof of English language proficiency. See above.
    4. For Rollins School of Public Health and the School of Medicine only: your school requires written approval from your dean in order to host the J-1 scholar. Please use the appropriate template below.
      1. RSPH Dean's Clearance Memo
      2. SOM Dean's Clearance Memo
  5. Log in to ISSS Link and complete the J-1 Scholar Request e-form (find it under Department Services). You will need to upload a copy of each document listed above (JPG or PDF). 
  6. The department administrator initiates and the supervisor completes the J-1 Supervisor Confirmation e-form in ISSS Link.
  7. Whenever Emory University allows a foreign national employee to have access to certain technology or technical data, that access may be considered to be a “release” or “export” of the technology or technical data to the foreign national’s country of citizenship. The Office of Compliance requires that the supervisor complete and submit the Deemed Export Control Form. The supervisor then gives the completed form to an administrator who will upload it when completing the Department Request for J-1 Scholar e-form
  8. If in the completion of the J-1 Supervisor Confirmation e-form, the supervisor determines the scholar will have incidental patient contact, the supervisor will need to complete the incidental patient contact letter for both supervisor’s and dean’s designees signature. Once it is signed by both parties, the letter should be given to the administrator to upload in the Department Request for J-1 Scholar e-form. More Information >>
  9. The department administrator completes the Department Request for J-1 Scholar e-form.
  10. Once the J-1 Supervisor Confirmation e-form and Department Request for J-1 Scholar e-forms are completed, the department administrator initiates the J-1 Scholar Information e-form. This form is initiated by the administrator and completed by the J-1 scholar.

Once the three e-forms are completed and all documentation is uploaded, processing takes 10 business days. You will be notified by email when the DS-2019 and pre-arrival packet are ready for pick up. Fedex or DHL delivery are recommended for mailing out the DS-2019 to the scholar.

J-1 students

  1. Ensure the student's information is correct in OPUS, including admissions info and non-resident status.
  2. Verify the student's English language proficiency. The State Department gives you 3 options:

    1. A recognized English language test (TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson);

    2. Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school (download template letter); or

    3. A documented interview by Emory’s hosting department with the J-1 exchange visitor, either in person or by video conference
      (evaluation template).

      If the student chooses to take the TOEFL or another test, the minimum scores vary by school. The student will upload a copy of their test score or other documentation through ISSS Link as part of the DS-2019 request.

  3. Log in to ISSS Link and fill out the J-1 student request e-form. You'll need to upload:

    1. Copy of Emory acceptance letter
    2. Your program's financial certificate
    3. Evidence of financial support, if Emory funding does not cover the total cost of attendance. At least 51% of funding must be provided by a source other than the student's personal or family funds, unless they are participating in an Emory-sponsored exchange program (with a written exchange agreement).
    4. Copy of active exchange agreement, if applicable

Once you submit the request, processing takes 10 business days. We will send an email to let you know when the DS-2019 packet is ready for you to pick up. When you send the documents to your student, we recommend using Fedex or DHL delivery for tracking purposes.

H-1B scholars

Begin the H-1B request process at least 8 months before the scholar's anticipated start date.

  1.  Gather and complete the required documentation. These will need to be available for uploading when completing the H-1B Position and Wage Information e-form:

    1. H-1B Sponsorship letter. A blank H-1B Sponsorship form and a sample form are available for download.

    2. Deemed export certification decision tree.

    3. Actual Wage Determination Form. A sample of a complete Actual Wage Determination form is available to assist you in the process.

  2. Scholar will need to gather documentation and save as jpg or pdf for uploading into the H-1B Scholar Information form. Provide scholar with checklist of documents

  3. Log in to ISSS Link and initiate the H-1B Sponsorship Confirmation form. The supervisor will complete and submit this form.

  4. Then initiate and complete the H-1B Position and Wage Information form selecting the appropriate “Initial” request types. You will need to upload a copy of each document listed above (JPG or PDF). This form may be completed concurrently with the H-1B Sponsorship Confirmation form. Remember this e-form replaces the previous paper LCA packet.

  5. Once these two forms have been completed and submitted, the administrator may then initiate the H-1B Scholar Information form.

  6. Bring checks for the filing fees to ISSS's office in Suite 130 of the North Decatur Building. Separate checks should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security for these fees:
    1. Form I-129 fee
    2. H-1B anti-fraud fee ($500, please contact your ISSS advisor to see if this fee is applicable to your situation)
    3. Form I-539 fee for any dependents already in the US (this is only required if the department agrees to pay this fee on behalf of the H-1B scholar)
    4. Premium processing fee (optional)
  7. Once the request is completed, you will be notified by Human Resources that the Labor Condition Application (LCA) will be initiated. Once the LCA has been certified by the Department of Labor, you will be notified that the request has been forwarded to your ISSS advisor for final approval and for filing the H-1B request with USCIS.
  8. ISSS will let you know when we receive an approval notice from USCIS, which can take 6 months.

NOTE: For those initial requests where the scholar is currently in the U.S. working for another H-1B employer but leaving that employer to join Emory University, the receipt notice is sufficient for that H-1B to begin working at Emory. They must remain employed with their current employer, however, until we have the receipt notice in hand. In addition, any scholar currently in the U.S. should not travel outside the U.S. while the H-1B petition is pending.

O-1 scholars

  • To start the O-1 process, complete an O-1 request form and email to isss@emory.edu
  • We recommend that the request process start as early as possible but no later than 6 months before the prospective scholar's start date.
  • There are fees associated with the O-1 filing. Upon receiving the request form, ISSS will contact the assigned law firm for processing, and they will work with you and the scholar to gather documentation and file the O-1 petition.
  • The O-1 status is for someone who has achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture, or television industries. Be sure to review the criteria for O-1 status, as very few people qualify.  
  • J-1s/J-2s subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement are eligible for O-1 classification. In order to obtain O-1 status, however, they must apply for the O visa abroad and be admitted to the U.S. in O-1 status. After obtaining the initial O-1 status, it can be extended within the U.S.
  • Retaining one's own immigration attorney to process an O-1 application is not allowed as O-1 is an employer-driven process (and a foreign national employee is a beneficiary of an Emory's O-1 petition).  All immigration applications representing Emory must be reviewed and signed by ISSS.  

TN scholars

You can request TN processing from within the U.S., but it's more expensive and takes longer than simply applying for TN status at the border. We recommend having the TN scholar enter the U.S. from Mexico or Canada, and apply for TN status at the port of entry. To do this, they need to bring their passport, diplomas and transcripts, professional license or certification (if applicable), and an employment offer letter. Note that there is a $50 application fee for Canadians, and Mexican citizens will need to apply for a visa beforehand.

If the TN employee can't travel home and needs to apply for TN status from within the U.S., begin the request process at least 3 months before their anticipated start date.

  1. Draft an employment offer letter to the prospective TN employee and email it to your department's ISSS advisor for approval. The letter should include:
    1. Job title and corresponding profession, as they appear on the NAFTA list of approved TN professions
    2. Detailed description of job duties
    3. Salary, including benefits and any potential bonuses
    4. Length of employment (no more than 3 years), with a statement that employment is temporary
    5. Hours (e.g. 40 hours/week)
    6. Background info establishing that Emory University is an existing institution, including when it was founded (1915), number of current employees, and projected yearly gross income. Look up current stats >>
    7. Email address for hosting department
  2. Gather the required documentation:
    1. Letter from department head to ISSS requesting the TN. The letter should include the TN's position title, salary, employment dates, description of duties and qualifications required for the position, and how the TN's credentials qualify them.
    2. Optional: 2 or 3 reference letters stating the scholar's qualifications and expertise. These letters don't have to be written specifically for the TN petition; they can be previously written professional references.
    3. If the position falls under the Medical/Allied Professional section of the TN professions list, copies of any license or certificate required by the State of Georgia
  3. Log in to ISSS Link and fill out TN Employee Information e-form (find it under Department Services). You will need to upload a copy of each document listed above (JPG or PDF), including the employment offer letter as approved by ISSS. 
  4. Once you submit the reqest, the scholar will need to upload some documentation to ISSS Link as well. You don't need to do anything for this step.
  5. Fill out the TN Information About the University Position e-form in ISSS Link.
  6. Fill out the TN Supervisor Signature e-form. ISSS Link will guide you through the process for the rest of the Compliance Procedure e-forms.
If the TN employee is already here and filing the petition from within the U.S., bring checks for the filing fees to ISSS's office in Suite 130 of the North Decatur Building. If the employee is traveling back to Canada or Mexico to enter the U.S. in TN status, you don't need to pay these filing fees. Separate checks should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security for: