Common Visa Types

Common Visa Types


A non-immigrant visa is issued to a person with a permanent residence outside the U.S., but who wishes to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis such as tourism, business, temporary work, or study. For the most commonly used visa types at UNT Health Science Center, see below:


Business (B-1) visa and the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allow academic foreign nationals an opportunity to enter the U.S. for a brief period of time for business activities and be paid an honorarium, if applicable. The scope is very limited and includes: business meetings, attendance at conferences, and short-term (less than 9 days) academic lectures and consultations. Employment is strictly forbidden on this visa type. Authorization for use of the B-1/VWP at HSC must be approved by the Executive Director of the Office of International Services or his/her designate prior to the arrival of the foreign national

F-1 Student

F-1 Student visa is for a non-immigrant pursuing a “full course of study” to achieve a specific educational or professional objective, at an academic institution in the United States designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer courses to such students, and who has been enrolled in SEVIS (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

F-2 Student

F-2 Student Visa is a non-immigrant temporary permit for the immediate family of F1 Student Visa holders. If you are an international student enrolled at a U.S. educational institution, your children and spouse can join you in the country.

J-1 Exchange Visitor

What is a J-1 Scholar?

A J-1 Scholar is a visiting researcher, professor, or specialist from a country outside of the United States who has been approved to enter the United States for a specific purpose and for a limited amount of time.  The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for the express purpose of promoting the international educational exchange of expertise and stimulating collaborative teaching and research efforts.  Exchange is truly at the core of the program and based on this philosophy and directive.

Important Characteristics of The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program 

  • Permanent or tenure-track positions are prohibited for J-1 Exchange Visitors.
  • Throughout their stay, J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents must have medical insurance that meets U.S. Department of State requirements.
  • The Exchange Visitor must have sufficient English language proficiency to have a productive experience both academically and culturally.

J-1  Exchange Visitor Categories 

The Exchange Visitor Program includes 16 different categories of Exchange Visitors.  In addition to enrolling international students in the J-1 Student category, HSC is also authorized to use the following categories for “scholars”:

Professor and Research Scholar

  • Program Duration: Three (3) weeks to five (5) years (continuous time)
  • Primary Activity: Teaching or collaborative research.  Details are available on the State Department’s website for Professors and for Research Scholars.
  • This category is subject to the 12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation.

Short-Term Scholar

  • Program Duration: One (1) day to six (6) months
  • Primary Activity: Teaching or collaborative research.  Details are available on the State Department’s website.
  • This category is NOT subject to the 12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation, but may still be influenced by it.


  • Program Duration: Three (3) weeks to one (1) year
  • Primary Activity: Used for visitors who bring a unique skill set and often provide seminars or “master classes.” Details are available on the State Department’s website.
  • This category is NOT subject to the 12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation, but may still be influenced by it.

Independent Researchers and Guest Lecturers

If you are coming to HSC to conduct business, present a lecture, attend conferences and seminars, or hold business meetings, it may be possible to enter the U.S. on the B-1 (visitor) visa or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for a business.  If you plan to enter this status, you MUST understand that:

  • These visa classes DO NOT allow employment.
  • Honoraria and per diem payments can be made, provided that you meet the 9-5-6 Rule (your stay at the university is no longer than 9 days and you have not accepted reimbursements from more than 5 other institutions in the U.S. during the preceding 6-month period).
  • Canadian citizens who enter the U.S. without any other visa documentation are considered to be admitted in a joint B-1 (Visitor for Business)/B-2 (Visitor for Tourism) immigration classification.
  • Reimbursements in this visa classification may be subject to substantial tax withholding.


H-1B Temporary Worker visa is for a “specialty occupation” that requires “(A) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and (B) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” The H-1B must also meet criteria set forth by the Department of Labor and is governed by both statutes and regulations. Rice has specific guidelines for when the H-1B visa may be used, with strict protocol that must be followed involving both ISO and HR.


O-1 visa is for the employment of individuals who have achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This category permits an employer to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an individual to come to the United States on a temporary basis to continue to work within his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement. It is used on a limited basis at HSC, but will occasionally be recommended by ISO in those situations where it is determined to be the best fit for the purpose of the program, and where all other visa options have been excluded.


NAFTA Professional (or “TN”) facilitates the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. Only occupations specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation.


PERM Processing for Permanent Residency – PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management process and refers to processing one type of permanent residency that is based on employer sponsorship; PERM requires a Labor Certification process as part of an employer-based petition for permanent residency. Rice has a comprehensive manual to assist with PERM processing for international faculty and staff. It includes guidelines for the circumstances under which Rice will sponsor PERM.