Visa Team

The Visa Team works closely with BRS' Human Resources/Academic Personnel Support team, foreign national employees/affiliates and the Berkeley International Office (BIO) to coordinate the foreign national's request for required immigration documentation for the campus units BRS supports. 

BIO always recommends J-1 extensions be submitted to their office at least one month prior to the DS-2019 end date, and H-1B extensions/amendment requests submitted at least two months prior to the H-1B end date. 

The Visa Team handles these visa types:

  • J-1 Exchange Visitors: Short-Term Scholars, Research Scholars, Professors, Student Non-Degree, and Student Interns
  • H-1B Specialty Occupations
  • TN Mexican and Canadian Workers
  • F-1 Change of Status to J-1
  • F-1 Change of Status to H-1B

Additionally, the Visa Team provides the following services for foreign national employees/affiliates:

  • I-9 audits
  • I-9 reverifications
  • Historical I-9s (in Tracker I-9)
  • UCPath Immigration-related audits
  • H-1B and TN Department of Homeland Security check requests

Please note: The Berkeley International Office (BIO) is responsible for issuing immigration documentation and submitting petitions to USCIS. BIO works closely with the appropriate federal agencies to ensure compliance.

J-1 Scholar Process Timeline diagram

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can a visitor come on a Visa Waiver?

UC Berkeley guidelines require all international visitors participating in research activities for 30 days or more to come as J-1 Exchange Visitors. While U.S. immigration inspectors have wide discretion in granting entry to the U.S., they do not view the Visa Waiver Program as approporiate for someone coming to a University to conduct any research, especially if it is full-time for an extended period.

In addition, many embassies and consulates now require the J-1 visa to be used for such purposes. It is recommended that prospective researchers consult with the academic department at UC Berkeley in conjunction with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) to determine the most appropriate status for the proposed visit.

For more information, please visit: https://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/immigration/visa-waiver

I am uncertain if the J-1 visa is the correct visa for a specific visitor. What should I do?

Please have the prospective visitor answer these eight (8) questions to determine the correct visa type (and J-1 category if we will proceed with a J-1 visa request). Once the visitor has answered the questions, please email the Berkeley International Office (BIO) at jscholar@berkeley.edu to inquire about the correct visa type. In your email, please itimize the answers to all the questions and include the inviting department's name in the body of your email.

  1. What will the visitor be doing at UC Berkeley (research, internship, attend a conference, teach, etc.)?
  2. What department is hosting the visitor?
  3. What are the approximate dates of the visit?
  4. Who will be funding the visit (UC Berkeley, the visitor, the visitor's home government, the visitor's home institution, etc.)?
  5. Where is the visitor now (In the U.S., in their home country, in a different country, etc.)? If the visitor is in the U.S., what is the visitor's immigration status (F-1, B-2, or H-1B)?
  6. Has the visitor been in J-status in the past two years?
  7. What is the visitor's country of citizenship and "legal" permanent residence?
  8. List the highest educational degree awarded or current degree (high school, bachelor's, master's, or PhD).

I have an undergraduate student Visiting Student Researcher. What should I do?

Please have the undergraduate student answer the following 10 questions. Once the visitor has answered the questions, please email the Berkeley International Office (BIO) at: jscholar@berkeley.edu to inquire about the correct visa type. In your email, please itimize the answers to all the questions and include the inviting department's name in the body of your email.

  1. Is the visitor an undergraduate student? If yes, what is the anticipated graduation date?
  2. What will the visitor be doing at UC Berkeley (research, attend workshops, taking classes, etc.) and what department is hosting the visitor?
  3. Will the visitor be working or interning at an off-campus site? If yes, how many hours per week will the visitor spend at the off-campus location?
  4. What are the funding sources and amount (UC Berkeley, the visitor, the visitor's home government, the visitor's home institution, etc.)?
  5. What are the total department fees for participation in the research program (excluding VSPA, and Berkeley International Office (BIO) fees)?
  6. What are the approximate dates of the visit?
  7. Where is the visitor now (in the U.S., in their home country, in a different country)?
  8. If the visitor is in the U.S., what is the visitor's immigration status? Will need copies of immigration/visa documents (F-1, B-2, or J-1).
  9. Has the visitor been in J-status in the past two years?
  10. What is the visitor's country of citizenship and "legal" permanent residence?

I have a future employee/affiliate on a visa other than J-1, H-1-B, or TN. How should I proceed? Do they need a change in visa status?

I am uncertain which employment-based visa status (H-1B, TN, etc.) is correct for a specific employee/candidate. What should I do?

Please have the appliant and department jointly answer the following 10 questions. Once they have answered the questions, please email the Berkeley International Office (BIO) at: H1B@berkeley.edu so they can more accurately advise on the visa options. In the email, please itimize the answers to all the questions and include the visitor/employee's name in the subject line or body of the email.

  1. What is the official appointment/payroll title?
    1. ONLY for staff positions: please provide the official UCB Job Description of the position, salary, and degree with the field of study requirements.
  2. What is the anticipated start and end date?
  3. Which department and supervisor is sponsoring the employee?
  4. Can you provide the employee/candidate's CV?
  5. Where is the employee/candidate now? (e.g., in the U.S., in the home country, in a different country) 
    1. Do they have travel plans in the next 6 months? If so, please list travel dates and places.
  6. If the employee/candidate is in the U.S., what is the visitor's immigration status? (e.g., F-1, B-2, or H-1B)
    1. Please provide copies of current visa/immigration documents (e.g., I-94, visa stamp, I-20, DS-2019 and H-1B Approval Notice).
  7. Has the employee/candidate ever been a J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitor before?
    1. If so, please provide copies of J-status documents (e.g., ALL DS-2019(s) and J visa stamp(s). 
  8. Has the employee/candidate ever been in H and/or L status before?
    1. If so, please provide copies of previous Approval Notices, and periods of stay in H or L status in the U.S.
  9. What is the employee/candidate's country of citizenship?
  10. Does the employee/candidate have a pending permanent residence (PR) application?

RELATED SITES

Berkeley International Office links:

J-1 timelines

H-1B timelines

TN information

All Permanent Residency and O-1 visa inquiries should be referred to BIO at: H1B@berkeley.edu

Visa Team Members

Katie Scarborough - Team Lead, HR Visa Analyst

Maria Campbell, HR Visa Analyst

Roberta Santos, HR Visa Analyst

Julie Baek, HR Visa Analyst

Janet Speer, Director, Central Services

Internal Berkeley Regional Services (BRS) staff

HR Partners/Generalists with a request requiring a J-1, H-1B, or TN visa should submit a HR Service Hub ticket/case for a Visa task. For HR Service Hub assistance, refer to the BRS Visa Task Templates.