The University of Vermont employs or hosts several hundred foreign nationals in a range of non-immigrant visa categories. There are a variety of reasons that one category may be better than another in a given situation, so consulting the Office of International Education staff early in the process is advised.

Major Differences between Visa Types

Not sure which visa type to use for your scholar or employee?  Here is a brief overview of the common international scholar visa types and their uses.

Most Common International Scholar Visas

Need additional guidance on whether to pursue J-1 or H-1B after reading what's below? Complete the "Which Visa Status?" set of e-forms in iStart, or contact us to set up an advising appointment.


The J-1 Exchange Visitor program is used for temporary appointments such as postdoctoral appointments, non-tenure track, salaried faculty positions, non-salaried Visiting Scholars, and other temporary academic staff appointments. The J-1 visa is also used for visiting students. It is an appropriate visa for all unpaid academic appointments and many paid ones. It is not appropriate for tenure-track positions or for positions involving anything more than incidental (such as observing) clinical patient contact or care.  Learn more about bringing a foreign national on a J visa.


Individuals coming to the United States to perform temporary services in a specialty occupation are eligible for H-1B status. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement." It is an appropriate visa for all tenure track academic appointments, physician appointments at the UVM College of Medicine and staff positions. All H-1B positions require a bachelor's degree or higher in a related academic discipline. Because the H-1B process has high departmental costs (approximately $1,000 - $3,900), inflexible job requirements and a lengthy processing time (1-7 months), the OIE generally recommends pursuing J-1 if possible.  Learn more about bringing a foreign national on an H-1B visa.


Less Common International Scholar Visas


TN status is available for Canadian and Mexican citizens in research and teaching positions. Other occupations specified in the NAFTA Treaty for which the employee has the required minimum qualifications may also qualify for this status. Learn more about bringing a foreign national on a TN visa.


The B visa (B-1, B-2, WB or WT) may be appropriate for short-term visits of 3 months or less in which the visitor will not be paid (except for an honorarium and/or reimbursement of expenses; see rules here) nor have an academic appointment. These visitors are often coming to attend a conference or workshop or to participate in independent research. If the research provides any benefit to the University of Vermont, this is not an appropriate category. Learn more about bringing a foreign national on a B visa.


This visa is often used for scholars who may not be eligible for H-1B status. The application process is extensive and requires proving that the professor or researcher is at the top of their field.


Different Visas for Different Lengths of Employment

How long will the foreign national be engaged in activity on UVM's campus?  Click the appropriate answer to find out which visa types might be appropriate for your situation.

Short-Term Visitor (Less than 9 days)

Short Term Visitor (Between 1 days and 6 months)

Faculty, Scholar or Staff Positions (Permanent, short-term or full-time)


Still have questions about the right visa type for your international scholar? Contact us at or 802-656-4296.