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Stanford Classifications and Appropriate Visa Categories

Speakers and Conference Attendees

Visitors to Stanford who have speaking engagements or coming to campus to attend a conference should enter the US as B-1 (Visitor for Business) or with the “ESTA” WB (Visa Waiver for Business).

Visiting Scholars

The Visiting Scholar category only applies to senior, established scholars who are using university facilities at the invitation of a Stanford faculty member.

Visiting Scholars meeting eligibility guidelines as defined in the Research Policy Handbook at section 10.5 must enter the US using the J-1 program.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Postdocs are considered advanced students who are conducting research under the supervision of a Stanford faculty member. For more information, please see section 10.3 of the Research Policy Handbook. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs determines the Visa categories for Postdoctoral Scholars.

Visiting Student Researchers

There are a limited number of instances when it would be to the benefit of Stanford faculty to permit graduate students who have not yet attained the PhD to engage in research on the Stanford campus using Stanford research facilities. These arrangements are defined in section 10.7 of the Research Policy Handbook. Such students must come to Stanford in J-1 status.

Academic Staff—Research

Research Associates are considered to be Academic Staff employees of the university and as such will typically be in H-1 status.

  • J-1 "Research Scholar" or "Short-term Scholar" for those in Stanford's Visiting Research Associate classification whose stay will be less than or equal to one year. No J extensions beyond one year will be given. Departments who would like their Research Associates in J status to remain at Stanford for more than one year will need to apply for H-1B visas. In order to process an H request, the research associate must be at 100% FTE. If the Research Associate is subject to the two year home country residency requirement a waiver must be obtained prior to the submission of the H Request.
  • TN status for Canadian and Mexican Research Associates with fixed-term positions. TN status is not recommended for positions that are indefinite in term.
  • Post-graduate employment authorization.


Staff refers to non-faculty, non-postdoc, non-academic staff positions. This includes the Life Science Research Professional series as well as programmers, the bargaining unit and a few specialized administrative positions.

In general, in order to be eligible for an H-1B, these positions must be exempt, qualify as a Specialty Occupation, and, furthermore, require at least a Bachelor's degree or higher as defined by Human Resources.


Visiting Faculty

Faculty who are hired to teach courses in the university’s curriculum are considered employees, and will be in H-1 status. Visiting Scholars with the title of “Visiting Professor” whose activities do not include a teaching appointment will be in J-1 status.

Other Faculty and Teaching Titles

Tenure line faculty, lecturers and others with teaching appointments are considered employees and will use H-1 status.

Clinical Faculty and Clinician Educators

Faculty with patient care responsibilities must use H-1 or O-1 status, and must hold a California medical license or exemption at the time the petition is submitted.

Visa Types

  • J-1 is a visa facilitating Stanford’s designation under the State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program.
  • H-1 is an employment visa for professional occupations, subject to Homeland Security adjudication.
  • O-1 is an employment visa for aliens of extraordinary ability, subject to Homeland Security adjudication.

Practical Training

Recent graduates in F-1 status may receive authorization from Homeland Security for a period of employment authorization as training. Employing departments are responsible for application materials and periodic progress reports.

Academic Training

Recent graduates in J-1 status may receive authorization from their sponsor for a period of employment authorization as training.


TN status may be granted by Customs and Border Protection to Canadian and Mexican citizens for temporary employment consistent with the occupations defined in the North American Free Trade Act. (Mexican citizens must apply for an entry visa from the US Department of State.) Physicians may not have patient care responsibilities.

Australian Free Trade Act

E-3 status may be granted by Customs and Border Protection upon presentation of a valid E-3 entry visa.