Overview of Immigration and Employment

‌Montclair State’s workforce includes a sizable number of international employees.  And the Office‌ of International Services (IS) provides the visa expertise and services that make this possible.  We are here to serve as a resource to the university on immigration matters.

The ability to be employed and/or compensated for services performed at Montclair State is dependent upon the non-immigrant visa status held by the foreign national AND specific immigration regulations that govern the visa. Many of the numerous non-immigrant visa categories permit an individual to be employed and/or compensated by a U.S. employer. However, in almost every case, employment and compensation are restricted to an identified sponsoring employer or organization, for a fixed period of time within a specific capacity.

Contact International Services (IS) at least three months in advance of hiring a non-resident alien for a campus position. We will provide you with the necessary information regarding appropriate visa type, possible compensation, length of visit, and required documentation.

Below is an overview of the most common options for international employees at Montclair State:

1. H-1B Visa Status for faculty or staff positions

The H-1B visa category is intended to permit US employers to hire educated employees for “specialty occupations” (positions that require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specialized field).  Examples include researchers, engineers, accountants, teachers and professors, and computer professionals.  Most Montclair State positions can be considered “specialty occupations.”  The period of stay for H-1B holders is 6 years, and an application must be made to USCIS.  Extensions beyond six (6) years may be possible under certain circumstances.  IS files petitions for H-1B status on behalf of international employees. To begin the application process, follow the H1B instructions for Faculty/Staff and the Hiring Department.

2. TN Visa Status

TN visas are similar to H-1B visas, but they are available only to Canadian and Mexican nationals.  Additionally, the employee must be working in an occupation specifically listed in the law;  many of the occupations commonly found in academic settings, such as professor and researcher, are included on the list. For more information about this, please contact IS.

3. O and P Visa Status

Foreign nationals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may be able to receive an O visa to work in their area of expertise. By way of example, an art school graduate with an exceptional portfolio, or a scientist with a long list of publications might be eligible for an O visa.  The period of stay for an O visa is 3 years and incremental extensions are available. 

P visas are available for performing artists and athletes.  For example, a Brazilian Jazz Musician coming to Montclair State to perform, and get paid, could obtain a P visa. The period of stay for the P visa will depend on the performance itinerary.

These visas require applications to USCIS. For more information, please contact IS.

4. J-1 Research Scholar or Temporary Professor Visa Status

International Research Scholars are primarily engaged in conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with Montclair State University. They may also teach or lecture as required by the academic department. The minimum academic requirement for a research scholar is a master's degree. The scholar may not be a candidate for a tenure track position. Research scholars may be funded by Montclair State University, by their own university, by personal funds, government funds, or a combination of the above.

The Executive Director of Global Education must clear all research scholars. Before proceeding with IS in regard to a research scholar, please contact Dr. Marina Cunningham, Executive Director of Global Education, at least three months prior to the desired arrival time. TEL: (973)-655-7566  EMAIL: CunninghamM@mail.montclair.edu

Temporary faculty or adjunct positions are primarily engaged in part-time or full-time teaching positions that are non-tenure track. The duration of the positions may not exceed five years. The most appropriate visa type for a research scholar or temporary non-tenure track faculty member is J-1 Exchange Visitor. The J-1 visa type has a mandatory health insurance requirement. IS will advise on the minimum amount of health insurance required. The appropriate duration of stay for this type of visitor ranges from ten days to three years.

Documentation Required for J-1 Research Scholar or Temporary Professor Visa Status - A form DS-2019 must be issued by IS. Before the DS-2019 can be issued, department/scholar must submit: Departmental support letter, Proof of financial support, completed insurance compliance letter, or other relevant documents.

5. F Visa Status/ Optional Practical Training

When a student is in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program and has completed all course requirements for the degree, he or she is eligible for a 12 month period of OPT (Optional Practical Training).  The application process involves obtaining permission from the academic institution and requesting work authorization or an EAD, from United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”).  The EAD allows a student to engage in free market employment. Hiring an individual with an EAD at Montclair State is straightforward because it does not require employer sponsorship.

6. B-1 Visitor for Business Visa or VWB Visa Waiver for Business International guest lecturers/speakers

This category is for persons occasionally hired for a short- term visit to campus. The federal regulations permit a U.S. academic institution to pay honoraria and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity lasting not longer than nine days at any single institution to persons in this visa status. The service performed must be conducted for the benefit of the academic institution AND the foreign national may not accept payment or expenses from more than five institutions within the previous six-month period. The visitor must present a valid visa and Form I-94 Record of Arrival and Departure to IS upon arrival on campus as verification of immigration status. This verification by IS is required before honorarium payment can be made by the University.

Visits that exceed nine days on campus are not appropriate for this visa type. Please see J-1 Scholar visa.

Documentation Required - No documentation from IS is required. However, the visitor must be prepared to submit a valid passport and letter of invitation from the sponsoring University department to the U.S. Consulate (for B-1 visa) or at the U.S. Port of Entry (for VWB visa).  VWB visa is a waiver of a visitor's visa for business purposes. A visit to the U.S. Consulate is not required.  The visa is granted in customs at the U.S. Port of Entry to citizens of countries determined by the U.S. Department of State.  For more information on the Visa Waiver Program and the countries currently permitted to enter the U.S. in this status, please visit the U.S. Dept. of State VWP website.

The Departmental invitation letter must include:

  • Purpose of visit
  • Dates and duration of visit (not to exceed 9 days on campus)
  • Type and amount of payment
  • Instructions to visit International Services immediately upon arrival on campus with passport so that IS can provide immigration honoraria payment clearance to Office of Accounts Payable.

For consultation on any of the above information, please contact: International Services (IS), Global Education Center, 22 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ  07043, Phone: +001(973) 655-6862, Fax: +001(973) 655-7726