Berkeley Lab

Berkeley Lab’s Quick Guide to Hiring/Hosting International Scholars


Visa Type Maximum Duration Cost Timing Recommended For Pros/Cons
J-1 nonimmigrant visa category: For exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural and educational exchange between the U.S. and another participating nation.May be sponsored financially by Berkeley Lab, a foreign government or entity, U.S. government or entity, or self-sponsored.J-1 must show proof of funding in the amount of $1,600 for the principal; $600 for a spouse; and $300 for each child accompanying.
  • Short-Term Scholar: No minimum, with a six-month maximum stay. Visits are short in nature. May return as a short-term scholar, provided there is a substantial break between visits and each visit has a unique objective. Can be used for collaborative research, observation, lecture, meetings, seminars, workshops, experiments, etc.
  • Research Scholar: Three-week minimum stay, up to a five-year maximum. Five years is “use or lose.”

Please note: Berkeley Lab is not authorized by the U.S. Department of  State to sponsor undergraduates for a J-1 visa (Intern category). If appropriate, we are able to assist with using an outside vendor to help support the visit of an undergraduate in certain cases. Please inquire with IRSO.

  • NONE for Berkeley Lab
  • Scholar pays  SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee, as well as visa application fee (varies, but generally $160)



  • One month at Berkeley Lab Visa and Immigration Services
  • No government processing time
  • Must factor in time to receive visa stamp (if arriving from abroad). May vary from a week to several months
  • Transfers from other entities or institutions within the U.S. require careful coordination with the hire, IRSO, and the other sponsor.
  • Temporary positions
  • Researchers
  • Postdoc fellows
  • Short-term scholars
  • Students from other institutions with academic training (18-36 months of degree-related training, paid or unpaid)



  • Prior use of some J-1 categories may result in a 12-month bar from use of the Research Scholar category, or 24-month bar on repeat participation of this same category. Berkeley Lab Visa and Immigration Services will advise.
  • Prior use of any J-1 category may result in employee becoming subject to 212(e), a foreign home residency requirement that can affect future ability to secure H-1B visas and permanent residency. Visa and Immigration Services will advise.
  • Paid external employment is generally not permitted, other than occasional lectures or consulting.
  • Only in some cases can change from J-1 to permanent resident.
  • Flexibility in terms of site of activity.
  • J-2 spouses can work with Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • Allows for 30-day grace period at end of authorized time in U.S.