Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens

U.S. citizenship is not required for participation in our research programs with NIH. If you do not have a current status that permits participation, we may be able to file sponsorship in the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program (research scholar and short-term scholar categories only). Students and recent graduates with an F-1 status may also be eligible for participation.

Lawful Permanent Residents

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

F-1 Student Status

The Designated School Official (DSO) in the international student and scholar’s office at the candidate’s school will determine if he/she is eligible for Curricular (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. In order to participate in ORISE programs, we must have the Student Eligibility Form I-20 endorsement from the DSO for both CPT and OPT. Curricular Practical Training can be authorized by the DSO for part-time employment during school (no more than 20 hours) and full-time during the summer or regular school breaks. Optional Practical Training 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. Dependents of F-1 students qualify for an F2 status.

In the event that you plan to use an F1 immigration status for participation in an internship program, pre- or post-completion F1-Optional Practical Training (OPT) is acceptable

We do not accept the STEM OPT extension.

J-1/J-2 Status

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 and is currently in the United States, he/she may be eligible for a transfer from his/her current sponsor’s program. More information about J-1 Status can be found here.

A J-1 exchange visitor’s spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 years, may be eligible to apply for J-2 status. A J-2 dependent (if age appropriate) is eligible to apply for authorization to work 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 requirements (degree, discipline, etc.) are met. Additional information pertaining to J-2 Status can be found here.

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.