Hiring Department Information and Resources

International Student and Scholar Advising has a number of different units that assist with foreign nationals:

  • The Faculty Advising Unit primarily assists with the hiring of foreign nationals who will be employed via one of the following work-eligible visa statuses: H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1 and employment-based permanent residency via filing the required visa/immigration petitions and ongoing advising related to their immigration/employment status.
  • The J-1 Scholar Advising Unit primarily assists J-1 exchange visitors who are at Penn State temporarily as a visiting Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar or a Professor with regard to issuing their appropriate immigration documentation and ongoing advising related to their immigration/employment status.
  • The Student Advising Unit primarily advises and guides international students with regard to the appropriate immigration documentation.

Special Handling & Recruitment Ad Guidelines

International Faculty Advising can provide guidance for University departments and units regarding immigration related recruitment and hiring practices. Of particular import is the early involvement of Faculty Advising in the process involving potential international employees.  Considerations include:

  • The activity must include teaching/instructional activities for the University
  • There must be a minimum of one print ad in a national professional journal OR a 30 day ad in an "electronic journal"
  • Ads should follow the PERM Advertisement Guidelines (Word) (PDF)
  • The date on the job offer starts the 18 month clock for the Labor Certification (PERM) filing deadline
  • The offered wage must exceed the Department of Labor's Prevailing Wage Determination
  • A final recruitment and selection report must be submitted by the official with hiring authority
  • Use this Hiring International Faculty guide to assist with hiring tenure track faculty members who are foreign nationals

Working with the Faculty Advising Unit

When hosting/hiring foreign nationals, our best advice is to START THE PROCESS AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Getting an H-1B visa can take between 4-6 months, and while the J-1 process may be faster, it can still take up to 3-4 months. Plan ahead.

Before you start the request for visa sponsorship on behalf of a newly hired foreign national, you may want to secure the following answers from the foreign national first:

  • What is their home country of citizenship?
  • Where are they currently living? Are they already in the US?
  • Will they be paid? By whom? Will there be any other source of income? If so, from where and how much?
  • What is their field of interest?
  • Do they have a degree (bachelor's degree or higher) in the appropriate field? (Penn State requires a Ph.D. for the speciallty occupation H-1B visa)
  • What will be their basic duties? What is the purpose of their stay in the US?
  • What are their plans at the end of their stay? Do they want to remain in the US permanently?
  • Will their dependent family members accompany them and if so, will they require visa sponsorship as well? Is the intent to have them work or study while here?

Hiring Department Steps (H-1B, TN, E-3, O-1 and LPR)

Hiring Department Steps

  1. Review Possible Visa Options (Word / PDF)
    • Special visa guidance for postdoctoral scholar positions (Word / PDF
  2. Review Process Flowchart for Hiring a Foreign National
    • Overview of process from Job Posting to Initiating Request for Visa Sponsorship (Word / PDF)
    • Overview of process after Faculty Advising Initial Review (Word / PDF)
    • Overview of process for Special Handling/Permanent Residency (Word / PDF)
  3. Request Access to iStart (ISSA's immigration management system)
  4. Initiate Hire in Workday
    • You'll find step-by-step checklist in the Departmental Reference Guide (Word / PDF)
  5. Gather Required Documentation identified in the eForm Overview & Breakdown
  6. Access iStart
    • You cannot begin this step without the foreign national's PSU ID number, date-of-birth, and Offer Letter from HRSS
  7. If Foreign National is NEW to Penn State:
    • First create a profile in iStart by completing the Add New Person eForm
    • Be sure to select "SCHOLARS" as the campus location
  8. Complete and Submit the Faculty Advising: Visa Inquiry/New Offer Notification eForm
  9. Follow Faculty Advising's Recommendation for Next Steps
    • If the recommendation is to proceed with visa sponsorship for H-1B, for example, the next steps may include:
      • Complete and submit the Faculty Advising: New H-1B, TN, E3, O1 eForm
        • Please Note: Most visa requests will need to be initiated in iStart AT LEAST 4-6 months in advance of the anticiapted employment/visa start date - if not submitted as requested, Faculty Advising cannot guarantee that the foreign national will be able to begin his/her position as anticipated
        • eForm Overview & Breakdown
  10. Ensure Foreign National Checks-in with Department/Campus Representative Upon Arrival/By Start Date
  11. Ensure Foreign National Completes Online Documentation Check-in eForm in iStart Upon Arrival/By Start Date‚Äč
    • Foreign Nationals have to complete page #1 of I-9 NO LATER THAN FIRST DAY OF EMPLOYMENT
    • Upon receipt of this eForm, Faculty Advising will contact Foreign Nationals who will be based at the UP campus to schedule and appointment to meet with the adviser and complete the I-9 (the I-9 will be forwarded to HRSS to update in Equifax and Workday)
    • Foreign Nationals who will be based at Non-UP campuses will be directed to meet with a campus representative to complete his/her I-9 in Equifax and Workday
      • Campus representatives will then need to log into iStart and complete the Faculty Advising: I-9 Update (H1B, TN, E3, O1) eForm
      • Faculty Advising will then review and update record in iStart
  12. Foreign Nationals Offered Tenure/Tenure-Track Positions:
    • Due to extremely time sensitive processes related to sponsorship for permanent residency, department contacts should complete the Faculty Advising: PERM/Special Handling eForm group when prompted by Faculty Advising
  13. Foreign Nationals with Visas Sponsored by Penn State:
    • Extensions and/or amendments are requested by completing and submitting the Faculty Advising: Extend / Amend H1B, TN, E3, O1 eForm group
    • Please Note: Extensions should be initiated at least 3-4 months prior to the current visa end dates in order to prevent gaps in payroll and/or violations of visa status