Department Responsibilities

Overview

Working Together to Ensure Compliance

We’ve created this page to help you better understand your responsibilities as a department. We need to work with you to follow University policy and ensure compliance with federal regulations, both at the institutional level and to safeguard each scholar's status.

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For Sponsorship of All Scholars

Direct all immigration-related questions to us

The ISSO is the only University office authorized to provide advice on immigration matters. Please direct all questions to us regarding appropriate visa classification (do not follow the guidance of the scholar or external counsel), a scholar’s employment eligibility, transfer of visa sponsorship, and eligibility for remuneration for future incidental activities.

Follow university policy and comply with federal regulations

All academic appointments (paid or unpaid) require U.S. work authorization. You at the departments, schools, and institutes are the crucial points of contact with our international scholars and faculty. Your oversight is essential.

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Before Initiating Visa Sponsorship

Verify that the position is eligible

For all positions, refer to our overview of scholar sponsorship page.

Verify that:

  • the position is eligible for visa sponsorship
  • the terms of an academic appointment comply with University policy. Consult with Human Resources, your department administration, and the Office of the Provost for Academic Appointments, as appropriate
  • your scholar has been informed in the offer letter of the terms of the invitation or appointment including the title, dates, fees, and any Columbia funding or benefits eligibility

J-1 Specific Additional Obligations

Verify that:

  • your J-1 Scholar or Student Intern possesses the English language proficiency necessary to successfully participate in the program and function on a day-to-day basis in an English-speaking environment. This is achieved through an objective assessment.
  • the faculty sponsor has completed a DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (if you are bringing a J-1 student-intern)

Verify that:

  • the research is independent and non-collaborative as described in the Faculty Handbook
  • the faculty sponsor will assist in integrating the scholar into the Columbia community. The faculty sponsor is not a mentor or advisor, but rather an important personal and professional resource.

J-1 Specific Additional Obligations

Verify that:

  • your J-1 Scholar or Student Intern possesses the English language proficiency necessary to successfully participate in the program and function on a day-to-day basis in an English-speaking environment. This is achieved through an objective assessment.
  • the faculty sponsor has completed a DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (if you are bringing a J-1 student-intern)

Initiate an application via the appropriate webpage

A list of all scholar visa types are linked on our services page.

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Before Your Scholar Arrives

Contact us if delays or travel changes occur

Contact us if your scholar

  • will be delayed more than 30 days beyond the intended start date
  • will not be coming
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When Your Scholar Arrives

J-1 Only: Orient you scholar

Help us by:

  • encouraging your scholar to attend one of our Orientation Sessions
  • reminding your scholar to complete the SEVIS registration so we can activate the scholar’s SEVIS record (only if the DS-2019 was issued by Columbia University).
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During Your Scholar's Program

Contact us if there are any changes

Contact us immediately if there are changes in the terms of the visit including:

  • funding
  • title
  • duties and/or
  • location

We may need to take immediate action to maintain the scholar’s visa sponsorship.

Be aware of the following additional provisions specific to the visa status below:

  • If there is concern about the scholar’s health, wellness or performance; refer to our guidance on Reporting a Serious Situation  
  • If your scholar will be completing the program more than 30 days in advance of the original end date, as we need to shorten the DS-2019 to reflect this change

Contact us immediately regarding any changes listed below, as these may require us to file an amended H-1B petition

  1. a change in academic appointment or a change in job duties
  2. a change in the worksite, including an additional worksite or working from home
  3. a change in the academic department
  4. a reduction in salary or FTE below what has been reported on the H-1B petition
  5. any paid or unpaid leave
  6. termination: If employment is terminated prior to the expiration of the I-797 Approval Notice, the employer must offer to pay the return transportation to the worker’s last place of residence outside the U.S.  This does not include the cost of return transportation for family members or personal property. Refer to our H-1B termination form.

Initiate extension requests at the correct time

  • J-1: Initiate extension requests prior to the DS-2019 end date
  • All other scholars: at least three months in advance of their I-94 expiration date

Find instructions on how to initiate an extension via the appropriate webpage linked on our services page.