New Scholars and Faculty

The Davis International Center proudly serves international faculty, scholars, and staff with U.S. immigration advising and support services.  This section offers information specifically for new hires and hiring departments.  If your situation is outside the scope of what is provided below or within our Current Scholars and Faculty pages, please contact one of our Scholar Advisors, who can answer your questions with more specificity. 

Because employment-based visas are based and reliant on the specific details of an appointment and each individual's particular circumstances, it is usually difficult for the Davis IC to provide anything but general immigration information to individuals until we receive the appointment paperwork and a completed Visa Information Form.

Steps for Departments Hiring International Employees

Step 1: Set up the Appointment

The visa process for new hires always begins with a formal appointment at Princeton.  As such, the host or hiring department or lab at Princeton should be the primary point of contact for new international scholars and employees. Departments are responsible for notifying the Davis International Center (Davis IC) about upcoming appointments for incoming international scholars.

Scholars with an approved appointment through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty (DOF) generally qualify for Princeton visa sponsorship. Individuals appointed through the Office of Human Resources (HR) or Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL) will receive immigration/visa assistance from the Davis IC for select appointments only. 

The host or hiring department/lab must arrange for an appointment through the DOF or HR--or in the case of PPPL, through the Protocol Officer--with a specified rank or title, duration of appointment, and required funding/salary. Depending upon the specifics of the appointment and the individual's visa history, and in consultation with the department, an appropriate visa status will be determined by the Davis IC.

Step 2: Gather the Visa Information and Submit with Appointment Paperwork

Department Managers/Representatives:

Collect the following from the new hire:

  • A completed Visa Information Form
  • Passport bio page, including for any for dependents requiring sponsorship
  • ELC (Department completes)
  • Financial support documents (if there is outside funding), and
  • Copies of current immigration documents (if currently in the U.S.)

Submit these documents with the Princeton appointment paperwork directly to the DOF or HR, who will then route the information securely to the Davis IC. After the appointment is formalized and in Princeton's information system (Peoplesoft or iCIMS, for example), immigration/visa processing can begin.

If you have a case that requires special consideration beyond what can be provided via the Visa Information Form or appointment paperwork, please contact Tayla Burns.

HR Staffing and PPPL

For faster processing, collect the following from the new hire:

  • A completed Visa Information Form (VIF)
  • Passport bio page, including for any for dependents requiring sponsorship
  • ELC (Department completes)
  • Financial support documents (minimums are listed on the VIF),
  • Copies of current immigration documents (if currently in the U.S.), and
  • An updated CV
  • Credentials evaluation/confirmation or background check

Submit these documents, along with the offer letter and/or copies of the position/salary information, to our secure Docuport (link is external)

Alternately, you can have the candidate submit their visa information separately to the Docuport, but it will likely delay processing.  For questions about whether positions are eligible for visa sponsorship, please contact Tayla Burns.

A Note on Visitors Without Princeton Appointments

Visitors without formalized appointments will not be eligible for visa sponsorship through Princeton. For short-term international visitors who will be conducting independent research or giving a talk or lecture, B-1 visa or WB status may be an option. If you are unsure whether the visit is allowable under the B-1/WB program, please consult with the Davis IC scholar team directly.

Steps for Scholars and Faculty with Princeton Appointments

Step 1: Visa Sponsorship and Entering the U.S.

International appointees will typically hear from the Davis International Center within 5 business days after their appointment has been approved and finalized by the Dean of the Faculty. If hired through Human Resources or PPPL, you will likely hear from us within a week of your acceptance of the offer. 

All appointees who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents must confirm with the Davis International Center that their visa status is in order prior to their arrival and appointment start date at Princeton. Appointees eligible for Princeton sponsorship will receive specific information on applying for a visa (if outside the U.S.) and arriving in the appropriate status. Confirmation of the appropriate visa type and process by the Davis International Center prior to traveling is essential.

For individuals arriving in J-1 status, see below for links to information pertinent to arriving in the U.S. and preparing for your stay:

If you have an emergency and need immediate assistance outside of regular office hours, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (i.e. family emergency that requires immediate departure from the U.S., problems at the port of entry upon entering/returning to the U.S.) please call Public Safety at 609-258-1000 and ask to get in touch with the Davis IC advisor on call. If you don’t have your DS-2019, or you have forgotten to obtain a travel signature (J-1 visa holders only), please email and we will respond to you when our office re-opens. Please note that you can depart the United States even if you don’t have your DS-2019, or a valid signature, with you. We will advise you what to do if you don’t have them on the way back.

Step 2: Reporting Your Arrival | Mandatory Check-In for J-1 Scholars

Individuals in J-1 status are required by law to complete a "check-in" with their program sponsor. As such, please complete the check-in process with the Davis International Center upon arrival in the U.S. to have your visa record validated. Your legal status in the U.S. can be in jeopardy if your visa record is not validated in a timely manner.

Accessing and Completing the J-1 Immigration Check-In:

Go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “J-1 Scholar Services”. Click “Scholar Online Check-In” and complete/submit the form.

You will need electronic PDF copies of:

  • Certificate of Eligibility, DS-2019 issued by Princeton University
  • J-1 Visa stamp issued by the U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad (Canadian citizens are exempt)
  • I-94 Record of Admission

Scholars in other statuses are generally not required to complete an official check-in with our office upon arrival.  Even so, we encourage you to schedule an appointment or stop by during walk-in hours to check-in if you have specific questions for us. If you are arriving from outside the U.S., submit to us a copy of your visa stamp for your records.

Step 3: Orientation and Settling In

Now that you're here, check out our Living in Princeton Guide, information on Taxes and Social Security, and our Immigration section.   Remember, you're invited to most of our events throughout the year, including immigration attorney sessions, and Cheers Around the World, a monthly happy hour social especially for scholars - Check our Events Calendar for more information. The following orientations are also available:

  • In-Person Orientation sessions are scheduled in September and February.  Check our Events Calendar for specific dates.
  • New Scholars & Visiting Student Research Collaborators (VSRC) are welcome to participate in the Online Orientation.

Am I a Scholar?

This is a question we often hear, and it's a valid one. In the academic world, we often refer to any international employee conducting scholarly research as a scholar. In the context of our office and immigration advising, anyone who is not currently a student and holds a Princeton appointment is called "scholar". We even sometimes refer to teaching faculty as scholars! It is mainly just a way for us to distinguish student advising, where an individual holds a student visa, from advising for an employment-based visa status.

Even then, it can get tricky because some student-visa holders have work authorization and Princeton appointments, so you may be considered a student for visa purposes and a scholar for employment purposes. If you are still unsure of the answer to this question, that's okay! Feel free to reach out to us directly and we can guide you in the right direction.