Visa and Immigration Services Administration

Overview

The Visa and Immigration Services Administration (VISA) office provides a wide array of services to departments and over 200 international employees and visiting scientists coming to Cedars-Sinai. VISA, a division of Human Resources Compliance, provides comprehensive immigration advising services, programs and informational resources that facilitate the hiring of international employees in support of Cedars-Sinai's mission and help international scholars and their families in achieving their academic, professional and personal goals.

In addition to oversight of Cedars-Sinai's immigration services, the VISA office also oversees I-9 compliance for the medical center.

Information on this site pertains only to employment or sponsorship by Cedars-Sinai and is not intended to be nor should it be used as immigration legal advice. In addition, individual experiences may differ and procedures may vary, as the information is subject to change at any time.

 

News and Announcements

The U.S. Department of State recently published substantial changes to the J-1 visa regulations, as follows:

  • Objective measurement of English language proficiency.
    New J-1 participants must have proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, sufficient to participate in their programs and to function on a day-to-day basis. Host departments will need to document and certify the method by which English language proficiency was determined before the form DS-2019 is issued to the prospective J-1 visitor. The following methods are acceptable:
    • Recognized English language test (ex. TOEFL, etc.)
    • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or
    • Documented interview conducted either in person, by videoconference or by teleconference

The VISA office has updated its J-1 visa intake application to reflect this new requirement.

  • J-1 principal and J-2 dependents must report the following information to VISA office within 10 days of any change:
    • Primary e-mail address
    • Personal phone number
    • Departure from the U.S. if leaving prior to the final departure of the J-1 spouse or parent
    • Residential and mailing address
    • Financial support
    • Physical site of activity
  • New health insurance minimum coverage requirements effective on May 15, 2015. All J-1 and J-2 visa holders must have health insurance that meets these minimums:
    • Medical benefits: $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of remains: $25,000
    • Medical evacuation: $50,000
    • Deductible: not to exceed $500

Insurance coverage must begin upon arrival in the U.S. and must not end before the J-1 visitor's final departure.


New Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 Card) Automation

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently began automating the Form I-94 process at air and sea ports by eliminating the paper Form I-94. CBP will no longer require nonimmigrant visitors (H-1B, H-4, F-1, J-1, J-2, O-1, TN, etc.) to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival into the U.S. by air or sea. CBP will continue to issue a paper I-94 to travelers crossing at land ports of entry such as border with Mexico or Canada.

Foreign national travelers should retain their travel documents after entering the U.S., as CBP officers will stamp an admission stamp in the passport. This admission stamp will show the date of admission, nonimmigrant class of admission (H-1B, F-1, J-1, etc.), and the expiration date of the status, or the designation "D/S." The paper Form I-94 no longer will be provided to most non-Immigrant visitors. However, a copy of the I-94 card can be printed out from their CBP website.

Please continue to notify the VISA office of your travel plans. A copy of the I-94 card is still required when applying for certain immigration benefits such as extension of stay, change of status, EAD application, etc. so you should print a copy of the I-94 card after each trip to ensure that your admission stamp is correct.


Fraud Detection and National Security Site Visits

What you should know Fraud Detection and National Security Site Visits .


Reminder Regarding Travel Outside the U.S.
Are you planning a trip outside of the U.S.? Don't forget to notify the office prior to your travel to obtain the necessary travel validation documents or an updated employment verification letter.

  • J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents need a valid signature on the DS-2019 form along with other supporting documents to re-enter the U.S.
  • Other visa status holders (H-1B, H-4, E-3, O-1, etc.) must carry the original I-797 Approval Notice and an employment verification letter.
  • If you need a travel signature or employment verification letter, please contact the office to schedule an appointment with your Immigration Partner at least two weeks prior to your trip abroad.

For more information about travel and re-entry, please visit the international travel page. More information about travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State can be found on their Web page. please click here. For more information about re-entry into the U.S., please click here.

 

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