Human Resources

Visa Overview and Application Process

  Email    Print  PDF  Change text to small (default) Change text to medium Change text to large

The following pages provide a basic overview of visa classifications and procedures and should be used as a guide only. Visa arrangements are facilitated with the Foreign National Advisor (Responsible Officer) under the direction of the Employment Services Manager/EEO Officer. The Foreign National Advisor is available to advise scholars and sponsors on a variety of visa questions and concerns, assist individuals in maintaining their visa status, and processing necessary visa documents.

Foreign nationals receiving appointments to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution require visa classifications appropriate for their activities at the Institution. Any associated payments could be withheld due to arriving on inappropriate visas.

Disclaimer: U.S. immigration laws are very complex. The information contained on this web site is designed for scholars at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Immigration laws are constantly changing; we will attempt to keep the information up to date, but cannot guarantee its completeness or accuracy. The information contained herein is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship and should not be construed as legal advice. Institution policy governs eligibility for certain visas/benefits.

Visa Class Comparison Chart
This guide is for sponsors/departments who wish to invite and/or employ a foreign national. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the policies, procedures, and timelines for obtaining various immigration benefits and classsifications.

J-1 Exchange Visitor
The J-1 visa holder is defined as an Exchange Visitor Program participant. The purpose of the program is to "increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges."

H-1B Temporary Workers
The H-1B visa is for temporary workers in specialty occupations, which implies the establishment of an employer-employee relationship between the Institution and the foreign national.

TN Canadian and Mexican Citizens
The TN category was created specifically for Canadian and Mexican citizens employed in the U.S. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The O-1 visas are available to applicants who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and who are coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

B-1 (Business) & B-2 (Tourism)
B-1 visa is appropriate for an alien who wishes to engage in temporary commercial, business, or professional activities related to their employment/business abroad. B-2 visa is for short-term visits for pleasure or tourism, medical reasons and/or other health purposes, to participate in conventions, conferences, or convocation of fraternal, social/service organizations or prospective students.

F-1 Student
The F-1 visa is a student visa issued to individuals who have been accepted for full-time study in the United States.


Change of Status
Information on what needs to be done to change a visa status.

Last updated: October 3, 2018