Rice Unconventional Wisdom

welcome white


We, at the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS), consider it an incredible privilege to serve our international scholars.

Not only have you excelled in your home countries, but we anticipate that you will do the same here in ours. 

This gateway includes information about legal and immigration issues, acculturation and adjustment to the USA, and other resources. We hope you find it helpful as you prepare to come to Rice. 

International Research Scholars at Rice
International research scholars enter the U.S. as non-immigrants for the purpose of receiving education, research or additional professional training in their academic fields through research, teaching, or both.

International Scholar Visa Classifications

B-1/Visa Waiver – typically used by foreign visitors are invited to Rice for only a short visit with the purpose of presenting a lecture or workshop, or attend a conference, etc.

F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) – used by international scholars who have just completed a degree program at Rice or another university on the F-1 visa (typically valid for up to 12 months)

J-1 Academic Training - used by international scholars who have just completed a degree program at Rice or another university on the J-1 visa student category (typically valid for up to 18 months).

J-1 Exchange Visitor – most often used visa classification for Rice international research scholars. The visa is obtained based on DS-2019 Form issued by OISS through J Program Sponsorship. J-1 research and faculty scholars may participate in exchange visitor training programs in the U.S. for a maximum of five (5) calendar years. Their immediate dependents arrive as J-2s.
There is also a Short-term Scholar option under the J-1 visa.  The Short-Term Scholar category is for short-term visitors, as the maximum duration is 6-months with no option for extension.

 Obtaining a DS-2019 Form

OISS will be notified by the Academic Department wishing to invite a new international scholar. Scholars need to work with their academic department to provide the following:

  1. Copy of the passport identification page 
  2. Completed DS-2019 Request Form for Scholars, Part I: Scholar Form (completed by scholar)
  3. Completed DS-2019 Request Form for Scholars, Part II: Academic Department Form, including the English Language Proficiency Determination Form (completed by Rice academic department) – More information on Condition 4 of the English Language Proficiency Determination (i.e. if an interview is required):   
  4. Personnel Action Form (PAF - provided by the academic department) 
  5. Proof of financial support, minimum of $2000/month  (plus funding for dependents: $4860/spouse/year (or $405/month) and $1900/child/year (or $150/month)) 
  6. Original offer letter provided by Dean's Office plus two copies 
  7. CV  
  8. Proof of paid $300 J-1 EV Rice administrative fee (effective 09/01/2016 - applies to all complete hard copy packets received by OISS after September 1; any incomplete packet received before September will also be assessed the fee, if missing documents are received after 9/1/2016). To make payments, visit https://signup.rice.edu/JScholarFee/

Please note that the DS-2019 form may not under any circumstances be sent electronically (e.g. scanned or faxed). You may request your academic department to send you the relevant information from the DS-2019 (e.g. the SEVIS number and Rice's Program Number), but you may not receive an electronic copy of the form itself.

Special Regulations for J-1 Exchange Visitors
J-2 Work Authorization

H-1Bnon-immigrant worker visa for specialty occupations, valid for up to six (6) years. Visa processing can take 4 – 6 months.  Please contact OISS to discuss your case.

 Obtaining an H-1B Visa

TNfor Canadian and Mexican citizens only, valid on one year appointments. Their immediate dependents arrive as TD visa holders.

PERM Processing -  University-sponsored Permanent Residency valid for foreign employees that meet certain requirements.