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 Office of Immigration & Visa Services (OIVS) within Human Resources provides an array of services such as consulting on various visa types, evaluating employment eligibility, advising on international travel and managing applications for permanent residency. The office also provides walk-in advising hours and workshops as a resource for the foreign national population and organizes cross-cultural events to provide an opportunity for foreign nationals to meet other individuals at CHOP and get better acquainted with American society and culture.

OIVS works closely with hiring departments, foreign nationals and outside immigration counsel on filing visa petitions and permanent residency applications at CHOP. The office also works to ensure that foreign nationals and their departments remain in compliance with immigration rules and regulations while keeping them abreast of changes in the immigration landscape.

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 available to researchers in the Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar categories. CHOP is a designated J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, and sponsorship of this status is limited to those who:
  • Have an offer for a temporary non-clinical hospital position (i.e., postdoctoral fellow, visiting scientist);
  • Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a related field, as well as relevant experience;
  • Have sufficient proficiency in the English language;
  • Have a source of funding that provides at least $2050 per month for a single scholar; an additional $500/month for a spouse; and an additional $334/month per child.
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)