Foreign academics and researchers who have immigrated to the United States as university professors and lecturers have enlarged the community of science and technology professionals, bringing fresh and creative ideas. They have not only helped their companies but also made incalculable contributions to the national interest of the United States.

The difficulty for academics and researchers, as well as the organizations that employ them, is determining the best strategy to attract and keep talented individuals in the United States. We provide an overview of some of the most popular nonimmigrant U.S. visa alternatives for academics and researchers.

Colleges and universities have the challenge of educating undergraduate and graduate students for life beyond their degree programs – and employing foreign faculty and having a dynamic team of professors, scholars, researchers, and professional staff offer critical scaffolding for that objective.

This article will tell you about immigrating to the U.S. as university professors and lecturers, their U.S. visa options, salary, etc.

What do University Professors and Lecturers Do?

A professor is someone who teaches pupils beyond high school in a wide range of academic and vocational areas. In addition, they undertake research and produce scholarly books and articles. Educators are employed in universities, colleges, and career and technical schools, including public and private universities. Professors are known to perform the following:

  • Teach a wide range of disciplines, including chemistry, culinary arts, and nursing.
  • Work with students pursuing a degree, diploma, or certification or attending programs to enhance their knowledge or job abilities.
  • Create a syllabus for their subject and ensure it complies with college and department requirements.
  • Make lesson plans and assignments.
  • Grading papers and examinations allow you to track your pupils’ progress.
  • Give students suggestions on which classes to take and how to reach their objectives.
  • Keep up to date on developments and advances in their sector.
  • Conduct experiments and research to increase understanding in their profession.
  • Supervise graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees.
  • Original research and analysis should be published in books and academic publications.
  • Participate in academic and administrative committees that analyze and suggest policies, make budget choices, or advise on department recruitment and promotion.

Working Conditions and Environment of University Professors and Lecturers in the U.S.

College instructors have somewhat flexible working hours. They must teach a given number of classes, usually during the work week, have a certain amount of office hours each week, and attend committee hearings as needed. However, teachers can set out time for research, assessing papers, and preparing for lessons. Furthermore, college instructors get numerous holidays off and just a modest workload, if any, during the summer.

College instructors spend much of their time indoors, in classrooms, offices, conference rooms, libraries, and research facilities. They may stand for significant amounts of time while teaching in the classroom but are otherwise seated at work.

Basic Requirements for Professors to Immigrate to the U.S.

Colleges expect their lecturers to be experts in their fields. They are invited to visit conferences, read new materials, and keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Many academics must provide primary research books and essays for peer-reviewed journals. Some institutions offer teachers sabbaticals to seek research and continuing education credits.

Master’s degree

Your academic record must be good, and you need a master’s degree in any field. In addition, if you are in a general category, you must have a minimum aggregate mark of 55%, and if you are in a minority group, a minimum mark of 50%.

Competitive exam score

It is necessary to have taken and passed any of the government-approved competitive tests listed below:

National Eligibility Test (NET): This test is administered twice a year by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which is part of the University Grants Commission (UGC), to choose teachers at colleges and universities across the country.

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE): This exam is given annually by the GATE committee. The score is good for three years and can be used to enroll in masters or doctorate programs.

State Level Eligibility Test (SET): The NTA administers the SET once a year in English and vernacular languages. Passing it permits you to serve as a lecturer at a state-level institution or university.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) NET: The NTA holds the national-level CSIR NET two times a year to select applicants for lecturer jobs or junior research fellowships in several science subjects.

Doctoral degree

If you obtain a Ph.D. degree from a regular university, you can get a professor job without taking any competitive tests. This signifies that at least two external evaluators have examined your research thesis, and you have appeared for viva voce. You must also have at least two related research publications published.

Teaching experience and skills

Three to fourteen years of formal educational teaching and mentoring experience are required. A confident, optimistic attitude and unique teaching approaches that appeal to your kids can assist. In addition, you must have excellent communication and presentation abilities and the ability to convey your subject clearly and passionately. Good organization, time management, and problem-solving skills may also be advantageous.

Research and publications

You must produce several peer-reviewed papers, articles, or books demonstrating your expertise and study breadth. You must also be actively involved in studying and presenting new advancements in your profession.

Types of Visas for University Professors to Immigrate to the US

J-1 visa for university professors

The J-1 visa category comprises a wide variety of foreign national exchange visitors, such as professors, research scholars, and teachers visiting the United States as part of an exchange program for a particular function, such as research, teaching, instructing, or lecturing.

Professors and lecturers who enter the United States in J-1 status or alter their situation might be subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. However, suppose they are not subject to foreign residency, and instead, they are subject to the two-year home residency requirement. In that case, they are considered disqualified from changing their status in the United States. This means they can’t change their status to legal permanent resident or any other nonimmigrant status. They also can’t acquire an H, L, or immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, until they have come back to their home country or last residence and spent two years there.

It is possible for the J-1 professors to change their visa status to that of a legal permanent resident or another nonimmigrant visa type. If J-1 professors desire to stay in the U.S. beyond the deadline of their program and change their visa status, or if they desire to come back to the U.S. before completing the two years overseas, they could request a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement.

Three J-1 visa categories cover professors and lecturers:

J-1 “Short-term Scholar”: This type may be utilized for Visiting Scholars or Visiting Professors who will be in the United States for no more than six months. There is no set length of stay.

J-1 Professor: An individual engaged primarily in teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar institutions. J-1 professors may perform research unless it is not allowed by the sponsor.

J-1 Research Scholar: An individual who works primarily in post-secondary authorized educational institutions, museums, libraries, or other institutions, teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. J-1 academics may research unless the sponsor prohibits it.

H-1B visa for university professors

Employers in the United States (including many universities and research organizations) use the H-1B visa program to hire professionals in specialist vocations, such as professors and lecturers. A specialty profession necessitates the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the specified specialization.

The following crucial requirements must be completed to be able to qualify for an H-1B visa as a Professor or Researcher:

  • The employer must demonstrate that the employment demands at least a Bachelor’s degree in a particular discipline.
  • Foreign nationals must have the necessary degree or its equivalent.
  • Because a Bachelor’s degree, if not a Master’s degree, is often required for admittance into these disciplines, the great majority of professors and researchers fulfill the H-1B basic standards.

The “H1B cap” is a numerical limit of 65,000 H1Bs annually. Before applying, employers must ensure that the cap is still open for the current fiscal year. As a result, USCIS had to run the H-1B lottery within weeks of the H-1B cap being reached in the last few years.

Nevertheless, there is a critical exemption to the H-1B Cap that assists many academics and researchers: the foreign national may be excluded from the H-1B Cap if the foreign national will be working at:

  1. A higher education institution or a linked or associated nonprofit entity, or
  2. A nonprofit or government-sponsored research organization

This significant exception permits most professors and researchers to use the H-1B visa category.

O-1 visa for university professors

The O-1 visa category permits foreign persons with “exceptional aptitude” in the sciences, education, commerce, athletics, the arts, film, or television to visit the United States to engage in official activities relating to their field of endeavor.

The qualifying foreign national must have received national or worldwide recognition in the past. Extraordinary talent in science, education, business, or athletics refers to a degree of competence that indicates the individual is among the small fraction of people who have climbed to the very top of their field of endeavor. Extraordinary talent in the arts refers to “distinction” or a level of competence and reputation well above the norm, to the point that a person regarded as prominent is recognized, leading, or prominent in the arts field.

Professors and researchers must demonstrate “exceptional competence” in science or teaching. To be qualified, the foreign national must possess the following qualifications:


  1. Won a significant, widely recognized honor, like the Nobel Prize; or
  2. At least three of the following types of documentation are required:
    1. Proof of the alien’s receipt of nationally or globally renowned medals or accolades for distinction in their field of endeavor;
    2. Documentation of the alien’s participation in associations in the field for which categorization is sought that demand exceptional achievements of its members, as evaluated by acknowledged national or worldwide experts in respective disciplines or domains;
    3. Published material about the foreigner in professional or significant trade magazines or major media relevant to the foreigner’s work in the field for which categorization is sought, including the title, date, and writer of these published materials, as well as any appropriate translation;
    4. Proof of the foreigner’s involvement on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the same or a related field of specialty to that sought for categorization;
    5. Proof of the foreigner’s significant original scientific, academic, or commercial contributions in the field;
    6. Proof of the foreigner’s scientific article authorship in the area, professional journals, or other prominent media;
    7. Evidence showing the immigrant has worked in a crucial or critical role for organizations and places with a good reputation;
    8. Documentation that the immigrant has received or will receive a substantial wage or other payment for services, as indicated by contracts or other solid evidence.

If the requirements do not directly apply to the beneficiary’s profession, the petitioner may present any equivalent evidence to show the beneficiary’s eligibility.

T.N. visa for university professors

Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement, nationals of Canada and Mexico are eligible for the T.N. nonimmigrant visa to work in professional jobs in the United States (NAFTA). Teachers and professors at universities, and researchers in various fields, are eligible to apply.

Canadian and Mexican professors and researchers are permitted to work in the United States under the conditions below:

  • The applicant is a Canadian or Mexican citizen.
  • The applicant’s profession is on the NAFTA list.
  • A NAFTA professional is required for a position in the United States.
  • A Mexican or Canadian candidate must be employed full-time or part-time by a U.S. firm (self-employment is not an option)
  • The post requires a Canadian or Mexican citizen to satisfy the essential criteria.
  • The majority, if not all, of the vocations mentioned earlier that would qualify one as a Professor or Researcher need a Bachelor’s or Licenciatura Degree. If a baccalaureate degree is necessary, the experience cannot be replaced. Some jobs have different requirements than a bachelor’s degree, while others demand experience in addition to the degree.

T.N. status can be obtained easily for Mexican or Canadian nationals. Still, it cannot be utilized by tenured or tenure-track academics or physicians who are principally engaged in direct patient care.

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