Immigration Status

Most Commonly Accepted Statuses for ORISE Research Programs

Please note, not all statuses are accepted by every program. The host/sponsoring facility determines eligibility for their ORISE-administered research participation program and accepted statuses will vary per program and opportunity. Interested foreign national applicants can verify by referring to the Eligibility Requirements: Citizenship section in a Zintellect posting and/or by selecting “None” as the Citizenship Filter in the Zintellect Opportunity Catalog. Lawful Permanent Residents should select the filters “LPR or U.S. Citizen” and “None” for their search.

The Designated School Official (DSO) is the official point of contact for foreign national students. The DSO will determine if you are eligible for CPT authorization by endorsing the Form I-20.Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines state CPT can be authorized for part-time participation during the academic year (no more than 20 hours/week) and full-time during the summer or regular academic breaks (up to 40 hours/week).

Optional Practical Trianing (OPT) must be recommended by the Designated School Official (DSO) and requires USCIS authorization with the issuance of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Approval for the EAD takes several months to obtain from USCIS. The first 12-months of OPT is acceptable.

In the event that you plan to use an F-1 status to participate in these programs, pre- or post-completion OPT is acceptable (up to 12 months); however, the 24-month OPT STEM (extension) is not allowed.

J-1 Research Scholar – must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; appointment length for more than six months (renewable up to a maximum of five years)

J-1 Short-Term Scholar – must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; appointment length for maximum of six months

All participants with J-1 (exchange visitor) status are temporarily in the United States and must demonstrate an intention to return to their home country at the end of their exchange program.

ORISE sponsors the J-1 status (Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar categories only) for select, eligible participants on a case-by-case basis. If you already have a J-1 status as a research scholar or short-term scholar (up to the maximum allowed length) and are currently in the United States, you may be eligible for a transfer from your current sponsor’s program.

All J-1 recipients and J-2 dependents must have insurance in effect that covers for sickness or accident during the period of time that you participate in the sponsor’s exchange visitor program. Failure to maintain the appropriate insurance would result in termination of J-1 authorization for the you and your dependents. Such circumstances would require leaving the program and the United States.

The exchange of Research Scholars promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries. This category is for a foreign national who enters the United States for the primary purpose of conducting research and observing in connection with research projects at research institutions, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions.

Short-Term Scholars are professors, research scholars, and other individuals with similar education or accomplishments travel to the United States on a short-term visit to conduct research, observe, train, or demonstrate special skills at research institutions, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. No program extension will be considered beyond the six-month maximum. No change of category will be considered.

Foreign students at American degree-granting, post-secondary, accredited academic institutions may participate in an ORISE research experience. This requires Form DS-2019 authorized by the academic institution. An authorization letter from the academic institution will be accepted as an addendum. 

A J-1 exchange visitor’s spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 years may be eligible to apply for J-2 status. A J-2 dependent (if age appropriate) may be eligible to apply for authorization to participate by requesting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS. J-2 dependents with valid EAD cards are eligible to participate in ORISE programs, assuming all other eligibility requirements are met.  

Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) may participate in ORISE programs. 

A foreign national who has filed an I-485 application for adjustment of status may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) during the period that the application is pending with USCIS. Foreign nationals with an EAD-AOS may participate in ORISE programs.