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 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.

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.

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 a non-Emory 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 >>    NOTE: Although this J-1 scholar may be funded by a non-Emory entity, they cannot perform services for a non-Emory entity (including overseas entities) while in the US in J-1 status.
      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 themselves, 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.

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.

    4. If applicable, Non-Emory Work Site Letter. Used if the scholar will work at a non-Emory worksite(s), or a site not owned/leased and operated by Emory.
    5. If applicable, Itinerary Letter. Used if the scholar will work at more than one Emory location.
  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. Admin will log in to ISSS Link and initiate the H-1B Sponsorship Confirmation 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 H-1B Scholar Information form is complete by the scholar, your ISSS advisor will follow up with instructions regarding the Department of Labor processes for the Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  8. ISSS will notify you once the LCA has been certified by the Department of Labor. At this point, your ISSS advisor will prepare the final H-1B petition for filing with USCIS.
  9. 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 (click here for fee schedule). 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

The TN process is unique, so if you haven't, review our TN:NAFTA Processionals website first. 

TN Request Process

Starting Summer 2019, Emory's TN request process is significantly streamlined. ISSS will even draft a TN Employment Letter for the hiring department based on TN request materials.

  1. Admin will log in to ISSS Link and initiate the TN Sponsorship Confirmation form. 

  2. Then initiate and complete the TN Position and Wage Information form. You will need to upload a copy of the Deemed export certification decision tree (completed and signed by the supervisor). This form may be completed concurrently with the TN Sponsorship Confirmation form. 

  3. Once these two e-forms have been completed and submitted, the administrator may then initiate the TN Scholar Information form.

Obtaining TN status (after TN request has been approved by ISSS)

Option 1: TN Processing from Outside the US

 Initial processing requirements differ for Canadians and Mexicans

  • A Canadian citizen does not require a TN entry visa in his/her passport. A Canadian simply presents the required supporting documentation at a US port of entry. 
  • A Mexican citizen must obtain a TN entry visa in his/her passport from a US Consulate or Embassy before being eligible for admission to the US in TN status. Otherwise, the application process is the same. Application for entry in TN status is made at a port of entry (at an airport handling international traffic or at a pre-clearance/pre-flight station directly upon entering the US). At that time, the prospective TN status applicant must present the required documentation listed below.
  • Required documentation: Please refer to the TN checklist which will be provided after ISSS completes your TN request. 

Option 2: TN Processing from within the US

  • While it may be possible to change/extend status to TN within the US through a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the process is costly and significantly more time-consuming than applying for TN status at a port of entry.  Thus, TN processing from within the US is not recommended.

     

E-3 scholars

E-3 status is used for Australian nationals who will perform services in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. At Emory, it can be used to bring faculty, researchers, or other highly specialized professionals to the US. The employer may request a period of two years at a time.

To qualify for E-3 status, the scholar must already have the degree, certificate, or license that enables one to practice in the profession in the state of Georgia, if applicable.

Keep in mind that E-3 is a temporary non-immigrant status. The scholar must be coming to fill a position temporarily, although the position itself may or may not be temporary.

 

E-3 Visa for Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

Begin the E-3 request process about 8 months before the scholar’s anticipated start date. There are separate rules for E-3s who are already in the U.S. Read these carefully.

  • Gather and complete the required documentation. These will need to be available for uploading when completing the E-3 Position and Wage Information e-form:
  1. E-3 Sponsorship letter. A blank E-3 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.

  4. Scholar will need to gather documentation and save documents by type in individual e-folders as jpg or pdf for uploading into the E-3 Scholar Information form. Provide scholar with checklist of documents

    CHECKLIST FOR SCHOLARS BEING SPONSORED FOR E-3 STATUS

    • Passport ID page;
    • Resume;
    • Copy of your transcript showing degree, major and completion date;
    • If previously in the U.S., copies of all immigration documents (i.e. I-20s, DS-2019s, or I-797 approval notices, EADs).
    • If currently in E-3 status with another employer, last three months of payroll advice statements;
    • If currently in the U.S., copies of visa stamp page and I-94 record;
    • If currently in the U.S., copies of immigration documents certifying current non-immigrant and previously held statuses (i.e., I-20s, DS-2019s, I-797 approval notices, EADs);
    • If currently in J-1 status, copies of all DS-2019s are required as well as any documentation certifying you are not subject to the two-year home physical presence requirement.

    If the position involves the clinical practice of medicine, the scholar will need these documents when completing the E-3 Scholar Information e-form:

    • Evidence of an MD or unrestricted licensure in a foreign state;
    • Medical licensure from the state of Georgia;
    • Results of the USMLE Steps I, 2, and 3 (Step 3 is not required if the medical degree was earned in the U.S.);
    • ECFMG certification. This is not required if the medical degree was earned in the U.S. or an English-speaking province of Canada.

    NOTE: 

    A professional credential evaluation for any foreign diploma / transcript may be required by the U.S. Consulate at the visa interview or by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services if a petition is filed.  ISSS recommends that if the degree was earned outside the U.S., you will need to obtain a professional credential evaluation attesting to the validity and equivalency to a U.S. degree.  You may choose any evaluation company you prefer, but if you need a recommendation, you can contact your ISSS Advisor.

  5. Admin will log in to ISSS Link and initiate the E-3 Sponsorship Confirmation form

  6. Then initiate and complete the E-3 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 E-3 Sponsorship Confirmation form. Remember this e-form replaces the previous paper LCA packet.

  7. Once these two forms have been completed and submitted, the administrator may then initiate the   E-3 Scholar Information form.

  8. No fee is required for an initial (new) E-3 request for an Australian national who will apply for E-3 status from abroad, since no petition is filed at that time.

  9. If the request is for a current scholar needing a change of status, an extension, or amendment, a petition on I-129 is filed to USCIS.  In this case, 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:

    a. Form I-129 fee
    b. 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 E-3 scholar)
    c. No premium processing for E-3.
  10.  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.  Your ISSS advisor will instruct on either sending the offer to the E-3 scholar (new from Australia) or filing the E-3 petition with USCIS (current E-3s for extension or amendment).

  11. 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 in Australia and will acquire E-3 status from abroad, no petition is filed to USCIS. ISSS will instruct the department to send the LCA to the scholar with the offer letter.  

    If the E-3 is currently in the U.S. working for another E-3 employer and wants to leave that employer to join Emory University, portability is not allowed. The scholar must remain employed by current employer and wait for an I-129 petition to be approved BEFORE beginning employment with the new employer.