Immigration Services

Welcome to Immigration Services at Kent State University!

The Office of the General Counsel currently coordinates the petitioning for H, O, and other nonimmigrant visas needed by eligible international faculty and professionals for employment at Kent State University. Our office also provides employment-based permanent residency petitioning for full-time employees of the University upon approval from the employing department. The purpose of this site is to provide educational materials, immigration updates, and - most importantly - access to the tools and forms used by the Office to assist the University in its immigration needs. Our office also coordinates with the Office of Global Education on policy and regulatory interpretations. The Office of Global Education provides international student and scholar services for the University community and coordinates the filings for F and J visas. 

H-1B/O-1 Sponsorship: The Sponsoring College/Division office can begin the process by downloading the "H-1B Request Form" provided below and complete Form A of the document. Form B of the document should be forwarded to the international faculty or staff person for completion.

Note: While our office can provide limited guidance on issues regarding dependents, our office does not file the necessary petition for change of status or extension of status for dependents (i.e. I-539). The university faculty or staff member is responsible for those filings and all associated costs, however, our office will accept dependent petitions to accompany our filings on behalf of the university faculty or staff member.

University Sponsorship for Employment-Based Permanent Residency

International faculty and professional staff members who would are interested in University sponsorship with employment-based immigration must first seek approval from the College or Division, and after such approval is received, may initiate a request for further action by sending such request to Associate Counsel Michael Pfahl at mpfahl [at] The Office of General Counsel does not automatically begin such processes upon hire, and does not commence such processes until approval is secured by the appropriate College or Division appointing authority. All international faculty and professional staff members requesting such sponsorship must be: currently employed by the University and in a position that is otherwise eligible for such sponsorship in accordance with federal regulations. For information, see the KSU Guide for Recruiting and Hiring International Faculty and Professionals document below. The University will provide services at the Permanent Labor Certification (ETA-9089) and Form I-140 stages, but the international faculty or professional staff member remains responsible for the Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status, "Green Card Petition") and any associated forms and costs (i.e. attorneys fees, filing fees, etc.).

See Guidelines for University Sponsorship of Employment-Based Permanent Residency for more information.



Helpful Links


Occasionally, departments may have international guests come to campus to conduct or attend a workshop, conference, present a lecture, observe, or conduct independent research for a short period of time.  An International visiting for the purposes of engaging in temporary academic, educational, or professional activities as described above, may not need for Kent State to sponsor an H-1B visa.  However, any visa consideration should always be made well in advance so find out all relevant information as soon as possible!

The B-1 business visitor category is not appropriate for visitors engaging in active in-lab research or collaborative activities.  Visitors involved in exchange programs, formal collaboration between institutions, or joint research projects from which Kent State will benefit should use the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and should contact the Office of Global Education, International Student and Scholar Services at 330-672-7980.

Visa Waiver Program

Some internationals from countries listed as part of the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program won’t need to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a B-1 visitor.

View list of included countries

Visitors from countries included in the visa waiver program will not need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to entering the U.S. However, upon entry to the U.S. they will be required to present:

  • Valid passport
  • Letter of Invitation from Kent State University (Similar to the B-1 letter provided for below)
  • Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program must register for travel authorization on the Department of Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Website.  Registration must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel.
  • Their passport and their I-94 card will be stamped indicating their immigration status and length of stay allowed in the U.S. When entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver program the international will be given a green I-94 card and an extension of their stay after entering the U.S. will not be permitted.

B-1 Business Category

Visitors from countries not included in the visa waiver program will need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain a B-1 before boarding a plane to enter the U.S. The visitor should check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s web site to see what specific documents they will need to take to their visa appointment. They can find this information at the U.S. Department of State web site here: The person must enter on a B-1 visa or have similar work authorization in order to be eligible for payment of the honorarium and reimbursable travel expenses.

After obtaining the visa and upon entry to the U.S. they will be required to present:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid B-1 visa stamp in passport
  • Letter from Kent State University - Sample Letter (DOC)

Their passport and I-94 card will be stamped indicating their immigration status and length of stay allowed in the U.S. When entering the U.S. under the B-1 visa the international will be given a white I-94 card and an extension of their stay beyond their original intent will be allowed.


Academic honorarium payments and reimbursement for incidental expense are allowed. Please keep in mind that when a visitor arrives in the B-1 category that Honorarium payments are allowed only as long as the academic activity at Kent State University for which an honorarium is paid is no longer than 9 days, and the visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than five institutions or organizations within a 6 month period. The lecturer or business visitor will need either a social security number or an individual tax identification number (which must be applied for through the IRS). Please contact the Kent State University Tax Manager at 330-672-8622 to ensure the appropriate paperwork is completed prior to the date that the lecturer will arrive.


It is important to prepare for a B-1 visitors as far in advance as possible. It is very possible that there could be a delay at the port-of-entry (for visa waiver eligible lecturers) or a long wait time at the U.S. Embassy in his/her home country. To see current wait times for getting a visa interview appointment and for visa processing at each U.S. consulate or embassy, refer to the U.S. Department of State Visa Wait Times. B-1 visitors should plan to obtain their visa stamp well ahead of their visit to the U.S. It is recommended that a visa is obtained prior to booking an airline flight.

FOCUS: H-1B or H-4 to F-1 Student

As an H-1B/H4, you are able to attend school part-time or full-time, providing (for H-1Bs) it does not interfere with your primary purpose of working in the U.S. However, a situation may come along when you have a valid reason to change to a F-1 visa (i.e. you're admitted to a full-time academic program at a school that can issue a Form I-20), such as:

  • An offer of a graduate student assistantship by the school you will attend;
  • A written request from your sponsor requesting your change to F-1;
  • Your H-1/H-4 status is expiring and/or you want to complete another degree; or
  • You are turning 21 and can no longer remain an H-4 dependent of your H-1B parent.

You need to first obtain the Form I-20 from the school you are going to attend, and pay the SEVIS fee. After receiving your Form I-20, you can either choose to engage in consular processing OUTSIDE of the United States (in which case you will re-enter as a F-1 visa holder); or

You can petition for a change of status INSIDE the United States by sending a request to USCIS prior to the expiration of your current status. Such request should include the following:

  • Cover Letter explaining the change of status (i.e. your current status and why it is necessary to change).
  • A completed Form I-539 and filing fee (currently $290).
  • Receipt for paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
  • Original Form I-20 signed and dated by you and issuing school.
  • Copy of the front and back of the Form I-94 card (remember, you should always print out your I-94 from this website upon re-entry).
  • Financial verification (same as provided when applying for your I-20).
  • If in H-1B status, copies of all I-797 approval notices. If in H-4 status, copies of spouse/parent's I-797 approval notices for his/her H-1B status, copies of both sides of the I-94 card, and copies of any I-797 from your H-4 status.
  • A letter from the employer confirming that the H-1B is still employed.
  • Copies of the information and picture pages of each individual's passport.

The Form I-539 may also be filed electronically. If filing through traditional mail, a common suggestion is to send it via your preferred tracking method and with "delivery confirmation." For all processing timelines, please go to (as these change constantly).


This site will continually be updated when possible in order to provide the most comprehensive immigration services to our University. If you have any suggestions, please email the site administrator at legal [at], with "Immigration Services" in the subject header.





Due to recent processing trends, H-1B visas for international faculty and professionals holding foreign degrees may need to be accompanied by professional credential evaluations of the degree's U.S. equivalent. If the beneficiary does not have such an evaluation, the Office of General Counsel will engage an outside contractor to perform the evaluation - the cost of which must be borne by the department ($85 non-rush, $275 rush).

Please make sure that if your visa needs to be renewed this year, you are as responsive as possible to any requests for information from the Office of the General Counsel. An H-1B visa can be renewed up to 6 months before it is going to expire.