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Coming to Carnegie Mellon

Department Contact

In most cases, a scholar who plans to visit or work at Carnegie Mellon will first make contact with a professor or researcher within the University. If the faculty member decides to invite the scholar to come to Carnegie Mellon, the faculty member will notify the Foreign Scholar Coordinator within the department.

The Foreign Scholar Coordinator is responsible for coordinating important immigration documents and other services for visiting scholars, researchers, and professors. The Foreign Scholar Coordinator gathers information from a prospective visitor - personal and family, financial support evidence, prior immigration/visa status, etc. - and coordinates with the Office of International Education to produce the proper immigration documents for non-immigrant status. The Coordinator in the department may contact a future visitor by email, fax, or mail. The Scholar should respond promptly and accurately to this communication so that important immigration and visa documents can be processed in a timely manner.

If you are uncertain about this process, please ask your primary contact, "Who is the Foreign Scholar Coordinator in the department and should I contact him/her directly?"

Immigration Issues

Once an invitation to join Carnegie Mellon University has been offered and accepted, the academic department, the international visitor and the Office of International Education work together to assist the international visitor in obtaining the appropriate immigration status for their trip to Carnegie Mellon.

Most research scholars, visiting professors or short-term visitors will come to the US in J-1 status. Tenure-track faculty appointments generally involve the University petitioning for H-1B status. Other immigration options may be B-1/B-2, E-3, TN, or F-1 Optional Practical Training depending upon the nature of the CMU appointment, the country of citizenship of the individual and whether or not the person is already in the US.

International visitors should not make appointments for visa interviews or airline reservations until they have the documents necessary for applying for a visa and entering the US. Details about the process for the different visa types can accessed through the Foreign Scholar Information Directory.

Sensitive Disciplines and the Technology Alert List

Every visitor applying for a visa to enter the US undergoes a security clearance process. Scholars from countries designated by the US to be state sponsors of terrorism and scholars who propose to work in fields considered sensitive by the Department of State may be subject to additional scrutiny when applying for a visa. The procedures can cause delays of several weeks to a month or more and in extreme cases the State Department may decide that issues of national security outweigh those of international educational exchange. In these cases the prospective Scholar will not receive an entry visa, and will not be able to come to Carnegie Mellon University. When visa delays or denials happen, there is little if anything that Carnegie Mellon is able to do to speed up the process or reverse the negative decision.

More information about the Technology Alert list and preparing for the visa interview can be found on the OIE website.

Last Updated On: July 16, 2008