The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and citizens of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Each Exchange Visitor Program has a program description under which that program must operate and designates an individual(s) as the staff responsible for the administration of the particular J-1 program. The Responsible Officer (RO) and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) at Cedars-Sinai are the staff members of the Visa and Immigration Services Administration (VISA) office.
The H-1B visa is complex, not all Cedars-Sinai employees are eligible for sponsorship, and preparation requires input from the scholar and the host department. All H-1B requests must start with the hiring department. VISA will only process the H-1B application once the complete application packet is received from the department. Outside attorneys are not authorized to petition for H-1B status for any Cedars' employee without written consent from the Visa and Immigration Services Administration office (VISA).
The H-1B temporary worker visa is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. 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."
Other Visa Options
The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant employment-based visa classification for foreign nationals who can demonstrate the sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the science, education, business or athletics. It requires the employer file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), along with evidence of the individual's extraordinary ability. The "extraordinary ability means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor."
The non-immigrant TN status as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work temporarily in the United States in certain occupations.
The E-3 visa, enacted in May 2005, allows for the admission of an alien who is a national of the Commonwealth of Australia and is entering the U.S to perform services in a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation for an E-3 alien is defined in the Act in the same manner as the H-1B context, that is, a specialty occupation means an occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation.
Very often Cedars-Sinai will invite a scholar, scientist, physicians, etc. to campus to give a lecture or participate in a seminar or colloquium. The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States generally for short term business. The B-2 visa is generally for pleasure or medical treatment. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than three months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or to undertake independent research. The B visa is not appropriate for students, residents in training or long-term scholars coming to Cedars-Sinai.
Cedars-Sinai currently does not provide F-1 visa sponsorship. However, current F-1 students sponsored by other U.S. institutions may engage in internship, training or employment at Cedars-Sinai with the proper authorization such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) from the Designated School Official.
Cedars-Sinai divisions and departments can sponsor international employees for legal permanent residency (green card) based on the individual's professional employment at Cedars-Sinai. While the decision to offer this kind of sponsorship must always be in line with the larger Cedars-Sinai employment policies, there are a number of other steps involved. This involves administrative commitment from the department and the use of significant Cedars-Sinai resources. Sponsorship should never be undertaken merely as a favor to a friend or colleague, but rather in response to genuine business necessity of the institution.