General FAQ

Q: To whom does the University provide visa sponsorship?

A: Generally speaking, the University provides visa sponsorship for those individuals with temporary academic appointments at University departments, such as postdoctoral researchers and faculty members.

Q: Who is responsible to vet the funding?

A: As a department administrator, it is your responsibility to verify the validity of funding for incoming scholars. If it is personal funding, you may want to require evidence such as a bank statement to verify that the amount of funding exists and is available for the scholar to use at UMass Amherst. Please keep in mind that the only 10% of the funding for a J-1 can be personal funds and 0% for an H-1B.

Q. Are there any educational requirements for scholars?

A: In general, scholars must have at minimum a bachelor’s degree to qualify for visa sponsorship. If you are interested in bringing on an enrolled student in a bachelor’s degree program overseas, they will be required to be in the J-1 Short Term Scholar category with visits no more than 6 months and require the department to complete the Hosting an Undergraduate Visitor form

Q: When do we need to notify the IPO about an incoming scholar?

A: For a J-1 visa, we require 60 days notice before a scholar's start date. For an H-1B visa it takes up to 6 months due to the government agency’s processing time.

Q: Who monitors the arrival dates of scholars?

A: It is your responsibility to communicate with incoming scholars to notify you if they will arrive later than the start date listed on the DS-2019. J-1 scholar must enter the U.S. within 30 days of the start date listed on the Form DS-2019. It is also your responsibility to notify the IPO as soon as you know because the IPO may need to amend the DS-2019 and/or reissue the DS-2019. All amendments have to be authorized by the hosting department. 

Q: What do I do if the scholar decides not to come to the University at all?

A: You must notify the IPO immediately so we can notify the government.

Q: Once scholars arrive in my department, when should I send them to the IPO to register?

A: Currently in person validations are not allowable. Please have the scholar reach out to our office to set up their virtual orientation and validation.

Q: What type of things about a scholar do I/the scholar need to notify the IPO?

A: You must notify the IPO when:

  • A scholar leaves the University earlier than the date on their DS-2019 or I-797.

  • The PI wants to extend the appointment beyond the date on the DS-2019 or I-797.

  • A scholars funding amount and/or source(s) change with the exception of annual cost of living increases.

  • A scholar’s title or job description changes while on the H-1B visa.

  • A scholar works in more than one location in or out of the University.

  • A scholar’s job changes from full time to part time.

Q: Can I or a scholar use immigration attorneys to submit employment-based immigration petitions (e.g. H-1B, O-1 or green card)?

A: No. The IPO advising staff has the authority and responsibility to submit all employment-based petitions sponsored by UMass Amherst and is the only entity authorized to sign immigration petitions on behalf of the University. However, scholars may use immigration attorneys to file for green cards based on their own credentials and not based on their employment at UMass Amherst. Department administrators and/or PIs should not sign any green card related forms presented by immigration attorneys.




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