The ABCs of Immigration - Options for Professors
Those coming to the US to teach at the college or university level have a number of options, both for nonimmigrant visas and for permanent residency.
Professors can, in most cases, easily obtain an H-1B visa. The position is clearly at the professional level, and most professors have at a minimum a bachelorís degree in their area of expertise, and in many cases they possess an advanced degree. In the rare case where the professor does not have a degree, they can attempt to show that they have the equivalent of a degree through the rule providing that three years of experience is equal to one year of undergraduate study. As with all H-1B visas, the maximum period of enter is six years, granted in two three-year increments. Also, a labor conditional application detailing the prevailing wage is required. General information on H-1B visas is available at http://www.visalaw.com/00jan3/10jan300.html.
There are two categories of J-1 visas that are available to professors, short-term scholars and one specifically for professors. The short-term scholar category is designed to foster professional relationships between US and foreign scholars. The maximum period of stay is six months, with no extensions allowed. Also, while lecturing is allowed, the visa is not designed for a foreign professor to teach at a US school. The other J-1 category, however, is. The position filled by the J-1 professor must be temporary. The initial period of approval is for three years, and may be extended for another three years. General information on J-1 visas is available at http://www.visalaw.com/00may1/12may100.html.
If the professor is in the top of their field, they can qualify for an O-1 visa. Those who demonstrate that they possess ďa level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the top of the field of education are eligible for O-1 classification. General information on O-1 visas is available at http://www.visalaw.com/00mar2/13mar200.html.
Professors who are going to teach at a religious institution may be eligible for R-1 visas. General information on R-1 visas is available at http://www.visalaw.com/00mar4/9mar400.html.
Finally, professors from Canada and Mexico are eligible for TN visas under the North American Free Trade Agreement. General information on TN visas is available at http://www.visalaw.com/00mar1/6mar100.html.
Professors who are considered ďoutstandingĒ can obtain a first preference employment visa (See http://www.visalaw.com/00sep3/12sep300.html). They must have at least three years experience teaching in the field, and must have an offer of employment (but no labor certification is required). Some top professors would likely also be able to qualify for first preference classification as aliens of extraordinary ability (see http://www.visalaw.com/00sep2/12sep200.html), which would be necessary if there was no job offer.
Professors who cannot demonstrate this level of achievement will qualify for the second employment based preference (see http://www.visalaw.com/00sep5/12sep500.html). In most cases, this will require a labor certification. A national interest waiver can be pursued, but given the INS requirement that the alienís work benefit the entire US, it would likely be difficult to show that a professor met this requirement.
About The Author
Gregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.
After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Gregory Siskind went on to receive his law degree from the University of Chicago. For the past several years, he has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and he currently serves as a member of the organization's Technology Committee. He is the current committee chair for the Nashville Bar Association's International Section. Greg is a member of the American Bar Association where he serves on the LPM PublishGregory Siskind has experience handling all aspects of immigration and nationality law and has represented numerous clients throughout the world. Mr. Siskind provides consultations to corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. Gregory Siskind is also committed to community service. He regularly provides free legal services to indigent immigration clients and speaks at community forums to offer information on immigration issues.
Greg regularly writes on the subject of immigration law. He has written several hundred articles on the subject and is also the author of the new book The J Visa Guidebook, published by Matthew Bender and Company, one of the nation's leading legal publishers. He is working on another book for Matthew Bender on entertainment and sports immigration.
Greg is also, in many ways, a pioneer in the use of the Internet in the legal profession. He was one of the first lawyers in the country (and the very first immigration lawyer) to set up a web site for his practice. And he was the first attorney in the world to distribute a firm newsletter via e-mail listserv. Mr. Siskind is the author of the American Bar Association's best selling book, The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. He has been interviewed and profiled in a number of leading publications and media including USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Lawyers Weekly, the ABA Journal, the National Law Journal, American Lawyer, Law Practice Management Magazine, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the Washington Post. As one of the leading experts in the country on the use of the Internet in a legal practice, Greg speaks regularly at forums across the United States, Canada and Europe.
In his personal life, Greg is the husband of Audrey Siskind and the proud father of Eden Shoshana and Lily Jordana. He also enjoys collecting rare newspapers and running in marathons and triathlons. He can be reached by email at GSiskind@visalaw.com
Amy Ballentine is an associate in Siskind, Susser & Haas's Memphis, Tennessee office. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rhodes College in 1994. While in law school at the University of Memphis she was a member of the law review staff as well as a published author. She also worked with the local public defenderís office in death penalty cases. In May 1999, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org