7.11 Employment or Appointment of Foreign Nationals

This policy was last updated January 5, 2024. See the update history page for more information.

In accordance with federal law, foreign nationals (non-United States citizens and non-permanent residents) employed or appointed by MIT must have proper immigration status and work authorization, granted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Foreign nationals must maintain a valid immigration status throughout their employment or appointment at MIT. Failure to maintain status will lead to termination of the MIT employment or appointment.

7.11.1 Role of the International Scholars Office

The International Scholars Office (ISchO) has been designated by the Institute to handle applications and information regarding immigration for foreign academic staff and sponsored research staff. The International Students Office offers similar services for international students.

The International Scholars Office is MIT’s liaison with immigration authorities. The ISchO is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 exchange visitor sponsorship in specific categories only. The ISchO is the only authorized petitioner to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visas. Such applications may not be filed by outside attorneys on behalf of MIT.

7.11.2 Appointments and Reporting to the International Scholars Office

Inquiries and requests for appointment and visa sponsorship should be channeled through the department, laboratory, or center’s primary liaison to the ISchO, typically the Personnel Administrator or Director of Administration and Finance. Liaisons are urged to contact the ISchO as many months as possible in advance of the expected arrival of any international scholar. Occasionally, despite ISchO’s best efforts, sponsorship of a particular scholar is not possible, or an appointment start date must be delayed to allow for government agency processing of visa documents.

All newly arrived international scholars must register with the ISchO (with their passports and visa documents), regardless of the scholar’s immigration status or sponsor. Departments, laboratories, and centers must ensure that this registration is done promptly after the scholar’s arrival at MIT. Departments, laboratories, and centers must report the departure or termination of international scholars to the ISchO, including notifying if a scholar completes their appointment earlier than expected.

7.11.3 Visa Sponsorship

MIT sponsors visas only for certain academic and research positions. MIT does not sponsor the following individuals for employment-based visas or for exchange visitor visas: students; technical, administrative, library, or support staff members; individuals with inadequate funding, insurance, or credentials; or those whose particular visa history precludes sponsorship. Non-immigrant Status

Only individuals with certain categories of nonimmigrant status may work at MIT, such as F-1 or J-1 students on approved practical or academic training, MIT-sponsored J-1 exchange visitors and H-1B workers in a specialty occupation, and some others. Foreign nationals in certain immigration statuses are not eligible for appointments or employment at MIT, such as B-2 or WT (visitors for pleasure-tourist) or F-2 (spouses and children of F-1 students). For more details, departments, laboratories, and centers should consult the ISchO website or contact ISchO directly. Immigrant Visas

MIT sponsors only tenured and tenure track faculty and certain exceptional researchers for immigrant visas (US permanent residence/”green cards”), based on their employment at the Institute. For more details, departments, laboratories, and centers should consult the International Scholars Office (ISchO) website or a staff member in the ISchO.

There are immigrant categories for which an individual may self-petition without the sponsorship of an employer. MIT and its departments, laboratories, and centers may not be listed as petitioners on such applications.