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VISAS Powered By Docstoc
                                 POLICY & PROCEDURE
    EFFECTIVE DATE: July 17, 1995
    REVISED:        September 1, 2004             TITLE: Visa Processing
    REVISED:        January 29, 2007


SMPH HR’s primary focus in the visa process will be to evaluate the appointment just as we do
for those employees, students, and trainees who do not have visas. When you and/or the visa
applicant interact with International Faculty and Staff Services (IFSS) on campus, please keep
in mind that the response they give you pertains to what is allowed for particular visas, not
necessarily what is allowed for your particular applicant and position. Those are appointment
details which follow campus appointment policies rather than visa policies. The campus visa
offices rely on the Dean's offices to monitor for appropriate appointments.

When you are considering offering an appointment to an individual who may require a visa, it
is important to finalize the appropriate terms of the appointment prior to filling out the visa
forms. SMPH HR anticipates that the following guidelines will facilitate the visa application
process by providing input on the terms of the appointment earlier in the process, when
necessary modifications can more easily be accommodated.

Any visa application is linked to the type of appointment which is being offered to the
applicant. This includes: title, amount and source of funding, duration of appointment,
previous visa status, and the goals of the Department, PI, and the applicant in relation to the
ongoing or future employment status of the applicant.

In order to assure that the visa paperwork completed by the Department (a time-consuming
task) matches the appointment, the visa goals, and the experience of the applicant, we ask that
you forward to us an appointment letter, a current CV and the SMPH visa checklist. We will
review it and respond with our approval or a request for modification if we see any problems.
You can then work with IFSS to complete the visa process knowing that our review has been

The chart below indicates when a visa checklist is required:

                                           J-1 AND H-1B VISAS
                                                    VISA AMENDMENT
                                     UPON            VISA EXTENSION
                                  APPOINTMENT     CHANGE IN VISA TYPE
   Faculty                               Yes                         No
   Academic Staff                        Yes                         No
   Employees-in-Training*                Yes                        Yes
   *e.g., Research Associates, Postdoc Fellows, Postdoc Trainees, Research Interns

It is essential to provide some training or guidance for faculty members concerning campus
policies for visa applications. Departments are expected to take an active role in the
application process. Faculty should be advised not to make promises to potential or current
students and/or staff about the type of visa which can be secured or about permanent resident
status. Faculty should also direct visa applicants to work through the department
administrative office in making the application since the Department Chair or Administrator
must sign the D-1 form for J-1 applications or the DOL or INS petition for H-1 or permanent
resident applications.

Major changes in an individual's appointment status (i.e., title change, base rate change beyond
the merit exercise amount, change in duties) may require a new visa. The department should
contact IFSS to determine whether a new visa (J-1 or H-1) or an amended H-1 petition is


It is necessary for the University and the SMPH to set standards which reflect the importance
of retaining highly trained foreign nationals to advance our academic and research missions.
Therefore, the SMPH has determined that we will sponsor permanent resident status for those
in faculty and scientist series appointments only. This is a more stringent requirement than the
permanent resident guidelines for the employment-based category "Outstanding Professor or
Researcher". We make this distinction between the researcher and scientist because the
scientist appointment involves a judgment by the department that the candidate has
professional qualifications comparable to those of a person who might be hired as an assistant
professor and it implies some sort of commitment to encourage the candidate's professional
development. The SMPH endorsement of a request for permanent residency for an
"outstanding researcher" should be based on substantial evidence that the person had been
reviewed by peers who were willing to stand behind that "outstanding" label. The title,
"researcher", does not require that kind of review and does not connote outstanding
performance. In conferring the scientist title, we indicate that we think this person is ready to
embark on independent research and that we (or the faculty sponsor) would be prepared to
allow the candidate to submit applications for grants and would let the candidate carry out the
proposed work in departmental facilities.

We have many inquiries about permanent resident status. Employees from foreign countries
are generally well-versed on the nuances of the immigration laws and processes. The
department will have to make this distinction between "researcher" and "scientist" known to its
faculty members so that they will take this into consideration when evaluating the long term
residency goals of foreign applicants for such positions.


When foreign individuals make arrangements to train in a department on a $0 Honorary
Fellow appointment, IFSS reviews the level of funding which is available to the visitor from
outside sources. The IFSS funding guidelines are:

        $16,800        individual
       +$ 7,200        for spouse
       +$ 4,200        per child

These base line funding requirements are necessary so that we do not give foreign individuals,
who are invited to participate in our programs, a false expectation of the cost of living in
Madison. It causes great embarrassment when individuals arrive and find that they have a
hard time making ends meet on the stipend that was suggested to them.


International staff on J visas are required, as a condition of their visa status in the United States,
to carry health insurance for themselves and their accompanying family members. The group
HMO-type plans available to them through the UW benefits program qualify for a waiver of
the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) insurance requirement if a waiver form is completed
each semester. However, this health insurance coverage does not include the required
repatriation and medical evacuation insurance. This coverage can be obtained through a
supplementary insurance plan. Applications and further information are available from the
SHIP office, c/o University Health Service, 1552 University Avenue, phone (608) 262-1102.


If an individual on an H-1B visa is terminated (even if for cause) prior to the end date of the
H-1b visa, the employer is required to provide reasonable transportation, i.e., an airline ticket,
back to his/her home country or last permanent residence abroad. Alternatively, the employer
may assist the individual in preparing a Change of Status form (I539) requesting a change from
an H-1B visa to an H-4 visa, if appropriate.