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The most common visa types held by scholars at Ohio State are J-1 and H-1B. The Office of International Affairs and the sponsoring department will determine the most appropriate visa type to use for sponsorship of each scholar.

J-1

The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. The "J" exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts and sciences. Participants include professors coming to teach or carry out research at institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and allied fields; and international visitors coming for the purpose of traveling, observing, consulting, conducting research, training, sharing or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills. As your designated sponsoring institution, The Ohio State University will issue you a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor). Your host department will mail the documentation to you so that you may submit a visa application to the US consulate in your home country. After receiving your Form DS-2019, you must pay the SEVIS fee of $100 and obtain a receipt before applying for the J-1 visa.

Applications for J-1 Exchange Visitor visas require the following:

  1. Valid unexpired passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  2. Form DS-2019
  3. SEVIS fee receipt
  4. Form 156 (all non-immigrant applicants) - https://evisaforms.state.gov/ds156.asp?lang=1
  5. Form 157 (all male applicants 16 to 45 must also submit this form) - http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds0157.pdf
  6. Form 158 (J-1 visa applicants) - http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds0158.pdf
  7. Evidence of financial support
  8. Visa fee
  9. Passport-size photograph

Additional information on visitor visas is available at the Department of State website at travel.state.gov.

H-1B

The H-1B Temporary Worker (nonimmigrant) classification is designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, or ‘INS”) for non-U.S. workers in specialty occupations, defined as those positions requiring:

  1. A theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation in such fields of human endeavor as architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts; AND
  2. A bachelor's or higher degree in a specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S.

This means that the individual must possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the required field for the position. ALSO, the position itself must require a bachelor's degree in the specific field(s) of study relevant to the duties to be performed, AND the required degree must be one which is a standard requirement for the position being offered.

Individuals who are outside the U.S. will be notified by mail once their petition for H-1B status has been approved. International Affairs will send the original approval notice (Form I-797) to the scholar at the foreign address the scholar provided.

Applications for H-1B temporary worker visas require the following:

  1. Entire H-1B application packet sent to you by International Affairs
  2. Valid unexpired passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  3. Original Form I-797 Notice of Approval
  4. Form 156 (all non-immigrant applicants) - evisaforms.state.gov/ds156.asp?lang=1
  5. Form 157 (all male applicants 16 to 45 must also submit this form) - foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds0157.pdf
  6. Visa fee
  7. Passport-size photograph

To verify consular procedures, paperwork, and fees in advance, visit travel.state.gov.links.html.

Since consulates often require an appointment, you may need to schedule one several weeks in advance. Visa processing times vary from days to weeks or even months, depending on the extensiveness of any security check required. Family members accompanying you to the US should apply for H-4 dependent visas. Proof of relationship to you will be required. Only spouses and children under 21 years of age are eligible for H-4 visas.

For more information on obtaining a visa, please visit unitedstatesvisas.gov/obtainingvisa/index.html and travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html.

What is the SEVIS Fee?

The SEVIS fee, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is a fee intended to defray costs associated with the administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This rule took effect on September 1, 2004.

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

  • Students seeking an F-1 visa from a U.S. consulate abroad for "initial" attendance at a U.S. school
  • Students seeking a J-1 visa from a U.S. consulate abroad to commence participation in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
  • Persons applying for a change of status to F-1 or J-1
  • Canadians exempt from the visa requirement who are seeking entry at a U.S. port of entry for "initial" attendance at a U.S. school or Exchange Visitor Program
  • J-1 students applying for a change of program category within the United States.
  • J-1 students transferring from fee-exempt federal government sponsored programs (such as Fulbright) to other J-1 programs
  • J-1 students transferring from reduced-fee J-1 programs to full-fee J-1 programs
  • J-1 students applying for reinstatement
  • F-1 students applying for reinstatement
  • F-1 students who have been absent from the United States for more than five months and wish to reenter the United States to continue in the same course of study

How do I pay the SEVIS fee if required to do so?

Those required to pay the fee must do one of the following:

  • File Form I-901 (available at FMJfee.com), with DHS by mail along with a check, money order or foreign draft drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency
  • Electronic submission of Form I-901 to DHS using credit card or other electronic means of payment accepted by DHS (please visit FMJfee.com for more information)
  • Western Union Quick Pay. Click here for instructions.
  • Any future DHS-approved payment services

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