Foreign National Information

GUIDELINES FOR NON-U.S. CITIZENS

U.S. citizenship is not required for participation in our research programs with NETL. In this section, you will find information that is intended to be used as a guide for applicants and participants who are foreign nationals.

If selected to participate in a program, ORAU Immigration Services is required to verify your immigration status and eligibility. The most commonly accepted statuses are described in the sections below, although other statuses may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Students and recent graduates with an F-1 status may be eligible for participation. If you do not have a current status that permits participation, we may be able to file for sponsorship in the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program (Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar categories only).

 

For F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) status with approved From I-20, the Designated School Official (DSO) in the international student and scholar’s office at the candidate’s school will determine if the student is eligible for CPT authorization and, if so, endorse the Form I-20. Your I-20 form should list “ORAU/ORISE” in the “employer” section. Any individual interested in participating in a research program at NETL using F-1 status should verify with their DSO as to any restrictions regarding eligibility or full- or part-time participation during academic periods.

For F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) status with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)-approved EAD card, the OPT must be recommended and authorized by the 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 F1-Optional Practical Training (OPT) is acceptable, pre- or post-completion. We cannot accept the 24-month OPT STEM extension for participants in research participation programs.

A F-1 student’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years may be eligible to apply for dependents’ F-2 status. A F-2 dependent is eligible to apply for ORISE programs, assuming all other requirements (degree, discipline, etc.) are met.

All J-1 visa participants are temporarily in the United States and must demonstrate an intention to return abroad at the end of their exchange program. Their experience in the U. S. is solely for the purpose of exposing them to American techniques, methodologies and expertise and to better gain an understanding of American culture and society.

ORISE can sponsor J-1 status (Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar categories only) for selected, eligible participants on a case-by-case basis. If a candidate already has a J-1 status as a Research Scholar of Short-Term Scholar (up to the maximum allowed length) and is currently in the United States, he/she may be eligible for a transfer from his/her current sponsor’s program.

The exchange of J-1 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. The maximum duration for the research scholar category can be for up to, but not to exceed, five years. J-1 Research Scholar status is reserved for those holding at minimum a Bachelor’s degree who will have an appointment longer than 6 months in duration.

J-1 Short-Term Scholars are professors, research scholars and other individuals with similar education or accomplishments who 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 6-month maximum. Change of category from J-1 Short-Term Scholar to J-1 Research Scholar or any other category will not be considered. J-1 Short Term Scholar status is reserved for those holding at minimum a Bachelor’s degree who will have an appointment no longer than 6 months in duration.

ORAU-sponsored J-1 status is for the sole purpose of conducting research in the Science Education and Workforce Development Programs program and cannot be used for any other reason. Exchange visitors are expected to leave the United States upon completing their program objective. Exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement are not eligible to change their status while in the United States. Waivers of the requirement are available in special cases. However, we do not assist with the waiver process. If application is made for a waiver and a favorable recommendation from the U.S. Department of State is received, you will be eligible to finish the currently authorized remaining J-1 time, but will not be eligible for extensions or transfers to a different J-1 program. If a waiver recommendation is issued to you, you must notify our immigration staff immediately.

A J-1 exchange visitor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years may be eligible to apply for dependents’ J-2 status. A J-2 dependent is eligible to apply for ORISE programs, assuming all other requirements (degree, discipline, etc.) are met.

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

Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) may participate in our programs. However, ORAU/ORISE/NETL does not sponsor green card applications for temporary educational participants, nor do we assist with the process.