September 16, 2014

TYPES OF VISAS

The Consular Officer at a US embassy will have the final say in determining which visa category a traveler needs based on the purpose of travel and the supporting documentation.  However, the MBL can make sound recommendations for the best visa to use in coming to the MBL based on previous visa experience.

To apply for a J-1 visa, click here.

To apply for a B-1 or WB visa, click here.

For more information on J-1 Visa Programs, please visit this web page: http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/

For Students

J-1 visa status is the most frequently used and most appropriate status for international scholars coming to the MBL to attend MBL summer courses. This status helps to reduce the US tax obligation on scholarships/fellowships. Students who come in J-1 visa status are categorized as Short-term Scholars.

B-1 (Visitor for Business) or WB (Visa Waiver Program) visa status may be more appropriate for accredited scientists planning to participate in shorter, professionally focused MBL workshops. The US Department of State’s website says, “In certain circumstances, some activities that are done on exchange visitor visas are also permitted on business (B-1) or tourist (B-2) visas. Short periods of study, or study which is recreational, and not vocational, and incidental to the trip, is permitted on a visitor visa.” The Consular Officer at a US embassy has the final say in determining which visa category a traveler will need based on the purpose of travel and supporting documentation.

If you are already in the US on a visa, you are advised to contact the International Office at your home institution to discuss your plans to participate in an MBL program. Students on J-1 or F-1 visas are allowed to receive scholarship funds from the MBL. Please make sure your visa documentation covers you through the end of the MBL course and not just to the end of the semester in which you are currently registered.

For Course Faculty/Lecturers/Teaching Assistants

J-1 visa status is the most frequently used status for international scholars coming to the MBL as faculty/lecturers/teaching assistants in MBL courses. This status is required if you are receiving an honorarium and if you are staying at the MBL for nine (9) days or more. Faculty/lecturers/teaching assistants who come in J-1 visa status are categorized as Short-term Scholars.

B-1 (Visitor for Business) or WB (Visa Waiver Program) visa status may be more appropriate if you are not receiving an honorarium or if you are not staying at the MBL for longer than nine days. The “9-5-6″ rule states that visitors admitted into the US in B-1 or WB status may be paid an honorarium if the visitor is engaged in usual academic activity not lasting longer than nine (9) days and the visitor has not been paid by more than five US institutions during the past six months.

For Employees

J-1 visa status, which may be granted for up to a 5-year period, is the most frequently used and most appropriate status for international scholars coming to the work at the MBL. This status allows the J-1 visitor’s spouse to apply for an EAD card and work in the US. Foreign nationals who come in J-1 visa status are categorized as Research Scholars.

Please note, the application process cannot begin until an offer letter has been received and a Foreign National Authorization Form has been submitted by the hiring department.

H-1B visa status, which may be granted for a 3-year period and renewed for another 3-year period, may be more appropriate for employees in certain situations. Also, for Canadian and Mexican citizens, TN status may be more appropriate. These decisions are made on an individual basis through discussions with the Human Resources Office (humanres@mbl.edu) and the hiring department. If the decision is to apply for an H-1B visa, MBL will ask an immigration attorney to handle the process.

For Scientists Collaborating in Year-round Labs

J-1 visa status is the most frequently used and most appropriate status for international scholars coming to the MBL to collaborate with scientists in year-round labs. Foreign nationals who come in J-1 visa status for 1 day to 6 months are categorized as Short-term Scholars; those who come for 6 months to 5 years are categorized as Research Scholars.

Please note, the application process cannot begin until an appointment letter has been received and a Foreign National Authorization Form has been submitted by the sponsoring department.

For Research Award Recipients

J-1 visa status is the most frequently used and most appropriate status for international scholars coming to the MBL as a Research Award recipient. This status helps to to reduce the US tax obligation on scholarships/fellowships. Research Award recipients who come in J-1 visa status are categorized as Short-term Scholars.

B-1 (Visitor for Business) or WB (Visa Waiver Program) visa status may be more appropriate for accredited scientists planning to participate in shorter, professionally focused MBL workshops. The US Department of State’s website says, “In certain circumstances, some activities that are done on exchange visitor visas are also permitted on business (B-1) or tourist (B-2) visas. Short periods of study, or study which is recreational, and not vocational, and incidental to the trip, is permitted on a visitor visa.” The Consular Officer at a US embassy has the final say in determining which visa category a traveler will need based on the purpose of travel and supporting documentation.