Visa Options for Scholars and Visitors

Short-Term Visitor

Short-term visitors may enter the US to engage in activities such as the following: consult business associates, attend a conference, give a lecture, negotiate a contract, pursue independent research, etc.

For more information about the types of activities permitted for visitors, please see the Department of State website. Short-term visitors typically stay at Miami University for a few days or a few weeks, though their visa status typically allows them to remain in the US for 3-6 months.

Visitors may or may not require a visa to enter the US, depending on their nationality. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. When entering the US, the visitor must state the purpose of his or her visit, and will either be admitted as Waiver-Business (WB) or Waiver-Tourist (WT). Note: in order to enter the U.S. through the VWP, visitors must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to departing for the U.S.

Visitors who are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program must apply for a B-1/B-2 visa from the US consulate. While the visa can be used for either purpose (business or pleasure), the visitor must state the purpose of his or her visit when entering the US, and will either be admitted in B-1 status (visitor for business) or B-2 status (visitor for pleasure).

Short-Term Scholar Invitation Process

J-1 Scholar

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa may be used for scholars who come to campus to teach, lecture, observe, consult, or conduct research. J-1 scholars may be paid by Miami University or unpaid, and the maximum program duration is 5 years. Note that J-1 scholars may not hold tenure track positions. More information can be found through the links below.

J-1 Eligibility Requirements

J-1 Scholar Invitation Process

J-2 Dependent

Dependents (spouse or children) who hold J-2 status are eligible to apply for employment authorization through USCIS. Note that there is a filing fee and that the application can take around 3 months to be processed. Employment authorization is given for up to four years at a time, but may be renewed as long as the person continues to hold J-2 status. If approved for work authorization by USCIS, the J-2 will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and may work in any position, on or off campus, during the dates listed on the EAD.

J-1 Student on Academic Training

J-1 students who are studying or have completed a degree in the United States are eligible to apply for employment authorization called Academic Training, which allows them to pursue training in their field of study. Academic Training is authorized by the institution where the student is/was studying, and will appear on the student’s DS-2019. A student at the Bachelor’s or Master’s level may be authorized for up to 18 months of Academic Training, while students who have completed a PhD may be authorized for up to 36 months of Academic Training.

F-1 Student on CPT

F-1 students who are studying in the United States are eligible to apply for employment authorization called Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which allows them to pursue training in their field of study. CPT is authorized by the institution where the student is studying, and will appear on the student’s I-20.

F-1 Student on OPT

F-1 students who have completed a degree in the United States are eligible to apply for employment authorization called Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to pursue training in their field of study after graduation. OPT is authorized by USCIS. Note that there is a filing fee and that the application can take around 3 months to be processed. If approved for work authorization by USCIS, the F-1 will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and may work in any position, on or off campus, that is directly related to his/her major field of study during the dates listed on the EAD. OPT is typically granted for one year, but can be extended for additional two years for students who have earned a degree in a STEM field and have an offer of employment from an E-Verify employer.

H-1B

For information about the H-1B work visa, please visit the General Counsel’s website.