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International Employee Visa Documents

Who are international employees? International employees include faculty, researchers, and certain other professionals who have been offered employment at Tufts. Any visa or immigration process for an international employee will be managed by the International Center once we have been contacted by the employee's department or hiring unit.

Immigration Sponsorship Options

Depending on the type of employment you are offered, your current US immigration status (if applicable), and other factors, the International Center may recommend different types of visa options. The list below indicates the most frequent visa types used by Tufts to sponsor international employees:

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor status for temporary researchers (including postdoctoral researchers) and visiting professors
  • H-1B Temporary Worker status for faculty, researchers, and certain other professions that are specialty occupation positions requiring specialized knowledge and skills
  • Trade NAFTA (TN) Professional status for Canadian and Mexican nationals qualifying for temporary professional employment under NAFTA
  • E-3 Specialty Occupation Professional status for Australian nationals hired to a specialty occupation requiring specialized knowledge and skills
  • O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability status for persons who have shown extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics

The type of visa documents needed to enter the US for the purpose of employment will be different depending on which visa type is requested for you. See the section below for more details about the visa documents for each.

Visa Sponsorship Process

The sponsorship process involves several steps.

  1. Talk to your department as soon as you have confirmed your intention to accept (or continue) employment at Tufts. Your department is responsible for contacting the International Center to start the visa document request process once you have confirmed your intent to work at Tufts. Departments should initiate the visa sponsorship process as soon as possible, and preferably up to six months prior to your expected arrival date.
  2. Once your department has started the process, you will be contacted by the International Center o provide any information needed in the visa sponsorship process.
  3. Once the appropriate visa documents and approvals are produced and secured, they will be delivered to you so that you may apply for the correct entry visa at a US consulate overseas.
    • Note: Citizens of Canada are not required to apply for entry visas, but will need to carry visa documents and supporting evidence in order to enter the US in a status permitting international employment
  4. Upon arrival, you will need to complete an immigration check-in with the International Center. Information about immigration check-in procedures and schedules will be provided to employees along with other visa documents and materials.
  5. Following arrival, you are expected to start your employment as outlined in the immigration and visa documents provided to you.

If you have any questions, please contact the International Center at


The visa sponsorship process timeline can vary from case to case. Much will depend on the type of visa you are being sponsored for, whether you are outside the US or already in the US in the same or different status, and the time of year as visa processing is often cyclical. In addition, certain visa petitions must be reviewed and processed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which typically leads to lengthened processing times. As an example of average processing times for J-1 Exchange Visitor and H-1B Temporary Worker visas, see below. When starting the visa sponsorship process, contact the International Center if you have any questions or concerns about the timeline.

Visa Type Step 1:
International Center Processing
Step 2 (if needed):
USCIS Processing
Step 3 (if needed):
Visa Application*
J-1 Visa 3 weeks N/A** Varies by US consulate location and time of year
H-1B Visa 1 - 2 months 8 months under standard processing; 3-4 weeks under premium processing Varies by US consulate location and time of year

*Canadian citizens are not required to apply for visas, but must get visa documents through the International Center and/or USCIS.

**USCIS processing is not ordinarily needed for J-1 status, except for those persons already in the US in another status; in this case, an application to USCIS to change to J-1 status may be needed.