Getting Your Visa

Visa sponsorship means that Emory will help you get your visa to come to the US. Your department will work with ISSS to issue any immigration-related documents you'll need.

The type of visa you need depends on the type of work you'll do here, and your department will decide which visa is appropriate for you. Nearly all of Emory's international scholars carry a J-1 or an H-1B visa.

After you've received an offer or invitation letter and sponsorship materials from your department, schedule an appointment at the nearest US consulate or embassy in order to get your visa. You should always contact the consulate or check their website before your interview to see if you need to bring any additional documentation. Wait until after you get your visa to book travel to Emory.

J-1 scholars

Your department will start the process for issuing your DS-2019 form at least 3 months before your expected start date. Here's what you need to do:

  1. When you receive your DS-2019, read the form carefully and sign it. You'll need this information when you pay the SEVIS fee, before you apply for your visa.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 days before your visa interview. You can pay online or through Western Union Quick Pay.
  3. Apply for your visa at the nearest US embassy or consulate. Bring these documents:
    1. Passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond your program start date
    2. DS-2019 issued by Emory or your program sponsor (Fulbright, for example)
    3. SEVIS fee payment receipt
    4. Financial documentation that shows you can pay for your program expenses. See minimum funding requirements for 2016 >>
    5. Proof of your English language proficiency (test score report, letter, or interview evaluation form from your host department)
    6. Proof of your residence abroad and your intent to leave the US after you finish your program
    7. Form DS-160 and confirmation receipt
    8. Passport photos
    9. Visa application fee (also called the Machine Readable Visa or MRV fee) payment receipt. Learn more >>
    10. Visa reciprocity fee, if applicable. Check your country's fee >>
  4. Attend your consular interview. In the interview, you'll need to show that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States and that you have a residence in a country outside the US where you will return. Interview tips >>

H-1B scholars

Your department will start the process for your H-1B petition at least 8 months before your expected start date. Here's what you need to do:

  1. After ISSS emails you with instructions, log in to ISSS Link and upload copies of:
    1. Passport ID page
    2. Diplomas and transcripts, including translations. If you earned a degree outside the US, you'll also need to upload a credential evaluation.
    3. Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
    4. If you will be practicing clinical medicine: evidence of your MD, Georgia state medical licensure, results of the US Medical Licensing Exam (all 3 steps), and proof of English fluency (graduation from an English-speaking medical school or ECFMG English exam results)
    5. Any current or previous immigration documents for yourself and your dependents, including I-20s, employment authorization documents (EAD cards), DS-2019s, I-797s, I-94s, and visa stamps
  2. Wait for your approval packet, which will be sent by your department. This packet includes your I-797 approval notice, a copy of the entire I-129 petition, and a letter to the US consulate requesting your visa.
  3. After you receive your H-1B approval packet, contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to schedule your consular interview.
  4. Gather these documents to bring to your interview:
    1. Passport, valid for at least 1 year
    2. Original I-797 form, notice of action. Emory will send this to you once we receive approval from USCIS.
    3. Form DS-160 and confirmation receipt
    4. Passport photos
    5. Employment offer letter from your department
    6. Copy of the entire H-1B petition and supporting documents that were submitted to USCIS
    7. Visa application fee (also called the Machine Readable Visa or MRV fee) payment receipt. Learn more >>
    8. Visa reciprocity fee, if applicable. Check your country's fee >>
  5. Attend your consular interview. Interview tips >>

O-1 scholars

The request processs is outlined here. Depending on your immigration history, you may need to travel to activiate your O-1 status even after the O-1 approval by USCIS.  

TN scholars

First, get an employment offer letter from your department. The letter should include:

  1. Exact job title and corresponding profession as listed on the approved list of TN professions

  2. Detailed description of job duties

  3. Salary, including benefits and any potential bonuses

  4. How long your services are required (no more than 3 years), with a statement that your employment is temporary

  5. How many hours you are expected to work (for example, 40 hours per 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 >>


Canadian citizens

You don't have to go to a consulate beforehand. You can apply for TN status at the port of entry with your passport, diplomas, transcripts, professional license or certification (if applicable), and employment offer letter. You will also have to pay an application fee.

At the airport, you will get a date stamp in your passport noting your TN entry, but you will not get a paper I-94. If you cross the border at a landed port of entry, you'll get an I-94.

List of Canadian ports of entry with optimized processing >>


Mexican citizens

  1. Gather these documents to bring to your interview:

    1. Passport showing your Mexican citizenship, valid for at least 1 year

    2. Employment offer letter
    3. Diplomas and transcripts

    4. Professional license or certification, if applicable

    5. Proof of residence abroad

    6. Form DS-160 and confirmation receipt

    7. Passport photos

    8. Visa application fee (also called the Machine Readable Visa or MRV fee) payment receipt. Learn more >>

    9. Visa reciprocity fee, if applicable. Check your country's fee >>

  2. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to apply for your visa and schedule your interview.

  3. Attend your consular interview. Interview tips >>