Science and research are truly international, and the Hospital's research community is rich in its diversity. For example, two-thirds of our postdoctoral fellows are international and have received their advanced degrees in foreign countries.

Recognizing that foreign nationals coming to Children's Hospital may have special needs, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute and the Hospital have developed mechanisms to address immigration-related needs, and to help foreign nationals adjust to life in an American research community.

Immigration Services

The Immigration Office within Human Resources provides an array of services such as communicating information on various visas, extending or changing visa status, evaluating employment eligibility, sponsoring permanent residency, and advising international travel. Walk-in consultation hours are held biweekly as a resource for our foreign national population.

The Hospital's immigration team works closely with hiring departments, foreign nationals and external attorneys on securing E-3, TN, H-1B, and O-1 visa petitions and applications for permanent residency at Children's Hospital. The office also assists foreign nationals and their Hospital departments in remaining compliant with immigration laws and regulations and provides changes and/or updates on immigration-related matters.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs works closely with Human Resources and the Hospital's Immigration Office on focus groups and visa seminars to assist international trainees. Through two grants from the Office of Research Integrity, the department is developing educational materials for training international postdocs.

Research Education also provides career and professional development opportunities for postdocs, including development workshops and the Postdoc Seminar Series, which provides a forum for fellows to share their work.

Visa Information

It is important for foreign nationals to work with the Immigration Office in addition to external immigration attorneys to thoroughly understand the various aspects of their particular visa status. For example, prior to changing positions, changing employers and/or traveling, it is recommended that foreign nationals consult the Immigration Office and/or their external immigration attorneys. Any changes in immigration status and questions concerning work eligibility should also be brought to the attention of the office.

General information on the various visa types at Children's Hospital is provided below.

H-1B visas are available to foreign nationals that are in positions that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Generally, the maximum length of time on an H-1B is six years. In certain situations, H-1B visas can be extended beyond the six year limit.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows students in F-1 status one year of work authorization provided that the job offer is in the student's field of study. One year of OPT is available after completion of every degree level (i.e., bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate)
TN visas allow citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States as long as the profession is a designated profession on the NAFTA job series list. Some examples on the list include statistician, research assistant, epidemiologist and scientific technician. For more information on TN visas, visit The Department of State Web site..
E-3 visas are available to Australian nationals that are in positions that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. E-3 visa status is granted for a 24-month period, which can be renewed.
J-1 visas are processed through the University of Pennsylvania's Office of International Programs (OIP). In order for foreign nationals to obtain this visa status, the position must be academic in nature (i.e., student, postdoctoral fellow, research associate). Generally, the maximum length of time on a J-1 is five years. OIP estimates a minimum funding of $1,500 per month to support a J-1 scholar. J-1 scholars must also carry adequate health insurance according to Department of State regulations.
O-1 visas are available to foreign nationals who can demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the sciences, education, business or athletics. O-1 visa status is granted for an initial period of up to three years and can be renewed indefinitely on an annual basis
Immigration-related Links
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Social Security Administration
Internal Revenue Service
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
New Jersey Department of Transportation
Other Links
International House (offers housing and English language classes)
Nationalities Service Center (offers English language classes)