Carnegie Mellon University

Coming to Carnegie Mellon

Academic Department Contact

In most cases, a scholar who plans to visit or work at Carnegie Mellon will first make contact with a professor or researcher within the academic department at CMU. If the faculty member decides to invite the scholar to come to Carnegie Mellon, the faculty member will notify the Foreign Scholar Coordinator within the department.

The Foreign Scholar Coordinator is responsible for coordinating important immigration documents and other services for visiting scholars, researchers, and professors. The coordinator gathers information from a prospective visitor (personal and family, financial support evidence, prior immigration/visa status, etc.) and coordinates with OIE to produce the proper immigration documents for non-immigrant status. The coordinator in the department may contact a future visitor and the scholar should respond promptly and accurately to all communications so important immigration and visa documents can be processed in a timely manner.

If you are uncertain about this process, please ask your primary contact, "Who is the Foreign Scholar Coordinator in the department and should I contact them directly?"

Immigration Issues

Once you are offered and accept an invitation to join Carnegie Mellon University, the academic department, the international visitor, and OIE work together to assist the international visitor in obtaining the appropriate immigration status for their trip to Carnegie Mellon.

Most research scholars, visiting professors or short-term visitors will come to the US in J-1 status. Tenure-track faculty appointments generally involve the university petitioning for H-1B status. Other immigration options may be B-1/B-2, E-3, TN, or F-1 Optional Practical Training, depending upon the nature of the CMU appointment, the country of citizenship of the individual, and whether or not the person is already in the US.

International visitors should not make appointments for visa interviews or airline reservations until they have the documents necessary for applying for a visa and entering the US.

Sensitive Disciplines and Security Clearances 

Every visitor applying for a visa to enter the US undergoes a security clearance process. Scholars from countries designated by the US to be state sponsors of terrorism and scholars who propose to work in fields considered sensitive by the Department of State may be subject to additional scrutiny when applying for a visa. The procedures can cause delays of several weeks to a month or more and, in extreme cases, the State Department may decide that issues of national security outweigh those of international educational exchange. In these cases, the prospective scholar will not receive an entry visa and will not be able to come to Carnegie Mellon. When visa delays or denials happen, there is little (if anything) Carnegie Mellon is able to do to speed up the process or reverse the negative decision.

View more information about security clearances during the visa application process

Incoming Fulbright Scholars

Fulbright scholars' immigration documents are processed by the Fulbright program, however, you are welcome to share these documents, along with your Fulbright Award Letter, with OIE so that the office can keep them on file. Fulbright scholars are also invited to view the OIE Canvas course to find helpful information about Carnegie Mellon, view a recorded welcome, and register to attend a live welcome session via Zoom. If you have questions about submitting your documents or would like to sign up for the Canvas couse, contact Christine Menand at To learn more about on-campus resources for Fulbright scholars, reach out to your home department.