Incoming Scholar Appointment Process

APPOINTMENT INFORMATION FOR INCOMING SCHOLARS

(Visiting Scholars, Postdocs, & J-1 Student Interns)

 

In order to initiate the process, the PI must provide ALL of the following information via email to chem-visa@chem.upenn.edu in order for the Visa Coordinator to begin processing the appointment. Please note that the process of obtaining a DS-2019 form for international scholars takes 3 to 4 months. This does not include issuance of a visa from the candidate’s home country, which in some cases can add an additional 1 to 2 months.

 

ALL of the following information must come directly from the PI.
  • Appointment Information
    • Position title (Please refer to the “Position Title Categories” section below for descriptions for each possible position title.)
  • Expected start date AND end date of appointment
  • Brief description of expected responsibilities, objectives, duties, etc. (1-2 sentences)
  • Expected source of funding support
    • Please refer to the “Funding Information” section for more information on acceptable funding sources and minimum funding level requirements

ALL of the following information must come directly from the incoming scholar.

  • Scholar Information
    • Full name of scholar
  • Scholar’s email address
  • Whether or not the scholar is a U.S. citizen
  • Copy of most recent CV
  • Copy of biographical data page of the scholar’s passport.

After ALL of the information mentioned above is provided from both PI and scholar, the Visa Coordinator will then conduct the following steps to process the incoming scholar’s appointment:

 

Part I—Applies to both U.S. Citizens and Non-Citizens (up to 4 weeks processing):

  • Review information provided by the PI—follow-up if not all information was given, or if clarification is needed.
  • Review scholar’s CV to confirm that the suggested position title fits with the scholar’s education and experience.
  • If the scholar is not a U.S. citizen, the Visa Coordinator will contact the scholar directly for the following information:
  • Confirmation of current immigration status—Ask for documentation if needed.
  • If scholar is planning to enter the U.S. on a J Visa, conduct the English Proficiency Evaluation.
  • Based on position title, confirm funding sources and amounts via proper documentation from the scholar and/or PI.
  • Once ALL requested information from the both the PI and the scholar are confirmed, the offer will then be drafted.
  • Offer letter will be emailed to the PI read and confirm its correctness.
  • Offer letter will be reviewed and signed by the Executive Director.
  • Once Executive Director signed the offer letter, the PI is expected to email the letter to the scholar for them to sign and return.

 

Dean’s Approval

 

After the completion of Part I, the offer letter and the scholar’s CV will be submitted to the Office of the Dean for approval.  Please be aware that it can take up to 4-6 weeks to receive the initial decision as to whether or not an appointment is approved.  Processing times can be delayed if the Dean asks for additional information regarding the appointment, or if the appointment is initially rejected.

 

 

Part II—ONLY Applies to Non-Citizens entering the U.S. on a J Visa (up to 4-6 weeks processing):

  • For J-1 Student Interns ONLY—Visa Coordinator will contact PI regarding information for the Student Intern Placement Agreement (SIPA). 
  • Start DS-2019 application in iPenn
    • Form 1—Completed by Visa Coordinator
    • Form 2—Completed by Scholar
    • Form 3—Completed by Visa Coordinator
    • Form 4—Completed by Visa Coordinator and Business Office
  • Submit completed DS-2019 application to ISSS
    • ISSS can take up to 4-6 weeks to process and issue the DS-2019.
Please note that the Department of Chemistry can not assist with applying to obtain a J Visa directly with a scholar or intern's local U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. We can only assist in obtaining the DS-2019 and/or the DS-7002, which are documents required for J Visa application. If you have any questions regarding the J Visa application process, please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. We can only respond to questions regarding the DS-2019 and DS-7002.

 

 

POSITION TITLE CATEGORIES

 

Visiting Scholar

 

Visiting scholars are appointed to conduct research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project to further training for a limited period of time.

 

Eligibility:

  • Must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  • If the scholar has already obtained a PhD, the scholar must provide official documentation that they currently hold a position at his/her home institution to which they could return to at the end of the Visiting Scholar appointment.
  • Cannot be used for tenure-track faculty positions, regular faculty or support positions, administrative positions, or staff positions.

Postdoctoral Trainee (Researcher or Fellow)

 

Postdoctoral trainees come to the University for further training in their chosen discipline. The postdoctoral trainees receive training conducted in an apprenticeship mode under the supervision of an established faculty member who serves as a mentor.

 

The designation of Postdoctoral Researcher or Fellow is based upon funding source.

  • Postdoctoral Researcher—supported from a research grant
  • Postdoctoral Fellow—Supported by a private foundation, non-profit charitable organization, or other source 

Eligibility:

  • Must hold at least an advanced degree the same or equivalent to a PhD.
  • Cannot be used for tenure-track faculty positions, regular faculty or support positions, administrative positions, or staff positions. 

 For more information regarding Postdoctoral Trainees, please click here to review the Policy for Postdoctoral Trainees at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

 

J-1 Student Intern

 

The J-1 Student Intern Program provides an J-1 visa international student with an opportunity to pursue a structured internship program in his or her academic field. The student's internship is meant to fulfill the educational objectives for a current bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree program at his or her home institution abroad.

 

Eligibility:

  • Must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) at an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S.
  • The J-1 Student Intern category is not available to those who have graduated.
  • Must be in good academic standing with the post-secondary academic institution at which s/he current is enrolled.
  • Must return to his/her home institution outside the U.S. after the internship.
  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern has been accepted into an approved student internship program at Penn, rather than to engage in employment or provide services to Penn.
  • May participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree level.  Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.
  • The internship must be full time—a minimum of 32 hours per week.
  • The J-1 Student Intern activities must occur only on the Penn premises (i.e. Penn's Philadelphia campus and 12 schools only).
  • The PI should have plans in place for the J-1 Student Intern to participate in American cultural activities as required by the Department of State.

Distinction between J-1 Student Internship & Regular Employment:

 

The internship:

  • Cannot serve to fill a labor need.
  • Must exist solely to assist the Student Intern in achieving the objectives.
  • Must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.
  • Cannot displace American workers, including full or part-time, temporary or permanent.
  • Must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
  • Must not involve in any way a staffing/employment agency.

 

 

FUNDING INFORMATION


Funding Requirements

 

Funding for Visiting Scholars and J-1 Student Interns (applies to ONLY J-1 visa holders)

  • If a scholar’s expected start date is in September 2017 or earlier, a minimum of $28,310 USD per year ($2,360 USD/month) will be required.
  • If a scholar’s expected start date is in October 2017 or after, a minimum of $28,810 per year ($2,400 USD/month) will be required.
  • An additional $6,000/year ($500/month) is required for an accompanying spouse and an additional $4,000/year ($334/month) for each accompanying child.

 

Funding for Postdoctoral Trainees (applies to both U.S. citizens and non-citizens)

  • Postdoctoral Trainees must be paid according to the most recent the current National Research Service Awards stipend levels, which may be found here.

 

Funding Sources

 

Funding Source Requirements

  • Documents must not be older than 1 year at the time of the DS-2019 application.
  • Documents must be written in English.  If this is not possible, then a notarized English translation is required.  An unofficial English translation will not be accepted.
  • Funds must be liquid.  This means that they can quickly and easily be converted to cash, such as checking or savings accounts without withdrawal prohibitions.
  • Examples of funds that ARE NOT liquid include:
    • An assessment of the value of your assets (home, car, property, jewelry)
  • Proof of employment or salary 
  • A report on your stock and investment portfolio
  • Pension or retirement plan
  • Bank Statements:
  • Online printouts should include account holder's name, account type, and bank name.
  • Highly recommended: You have an official bank statement for your visa interview.
  • Bank Letters:
  • It is preferred your bank letter is in English.  If not possible, you must include a notarized English translation. 

 

Acceptable Funding Sources

  • Personal Funds:
    • Saving or Checking bank account in your name
  • School Funding:
    • Fellowship, Scholarship, Assistantship or Grant money awarded to you by Penn or your home institution
  • Other Funding:
    • Scholarship or grant from a non-Penn source (example: home government, current employer or private organization)
      • Sponsor letter should be on official letterhead
  • Bank account in your mother's or father's name
  • If a person other than your mother or father is supporting all or a portion of your study, please include an affidavit of support letter.

Department of Chemistry

231 S. 34 Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323

215.898.8317 voice | 215.573.2112 fax | web@chem.upenn.edu