Hiring Foreign Nationals

The process of employing foreign nationals (as faculty, staff, or employees claiming student status) involves federal rules and regulations that, if not carefully followed, can result in severe penalties to both employee and employer. In order to ensure the university complies with all applicable federal regulations, the Office of International Services (for F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors) and Faculty/Staff Visa Services (for H-1B, TN, O-1 and E-3 professional workers, as well as permanent residents) have been designated as the sole offices authorized by the university to process and file the paperwork required in order for a foreign national to be hired into a faculty or staff employee position. The university does not permit outside attorneys to act as agents of the university in the filing of petitions for temporary or permanent residence.

Departments must contact the Office of International Services or Faculty/Staff Visa Services (as appropriate) early in the recruitment process when it becomes evident that one or more of the top candidates being considered for a faculty or staff employee position is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The office will advise departments of the appropriate steps to take, assist in the completion of procedures, and provide legal services when necessary. Because of required processing time, departments and schools should begin obtaining necessary governmental approval prior to the extension of a job offer whenever possible.

The Office of International Services and Faculty/Staff Visa Services are responsible for determining whether the situation of the foreign national is such that he/she can legally be considered for university employment. Because of visa restrictions, some foreign nationals are not permitted to accept employment. Departments should also be aware of time delays in processing paperwork through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and plan accordingly.

Related Policy

Background Screening
Recruitment and Hiring

Responsible Office

Office of International Services


Faculty/Staff Visa Services


Issued by

Elizabeth Garrett, Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs
Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California