Summer is almost over and the 2015-16 school year is right around the corner. That’s why it is appropriate we focus on visas that are available to university professors, researchers and students in this edition of Business Immigration Zone.
Outstanding Professors or Researchers
There is good news for foreign individuals who qualify as outstanding professors or researchers and wish to obtain an employment-based visa. Based upon the August Visa Bulletin, employment-based, first preference (EB-1) visas are currently available for all qualified applicants. Qualified applicants are those individuals who:
- are able to demonstrate international recognition for their outstanding achievements in a particular field;
- possess at least three (3) years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area;
- will enter the United States to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other higher education institution;
- have an offer of employment from a prospective U.S. employer; and
- are able to provide documentation for two (2) of the following:
- Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
- Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
- Published material in a professional publication written by others about the individual’s work in the academic field
- Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or related academic field
- Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
- Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in journals with international circulation) in the field
Employers wishing to hire qualified, foreign individuals for a research or teaching position must file a Form I-140 on behalf of the candidate to begin the visa application process. 
Foreign individuals wishing to enroll as a student in the United States may be eligible for an F-1 or M-1 student visa, provided they meet the following criteria:
- will be enrolled in an "academic" educational program, a language-training program or a vocational program;
- the destination school is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement;
- will be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
- are proficient in English or will be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
- have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
- maintain a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of giving up.
To obtain a student visa, interested students must first apply to and be accepted by an accredited school. Once accepted, the foreign individual must pay the required fee before filling out a school-provided Form I-20.