Visitors and Interns

The Office of Global Learning's policy requires that all sponsored international visitors are classified in relevant university databases as either a student (PS) or as faculty/staff (Workday). When Cornell Faculty and Research Staff wish to bring an international visitor who is a student in their home country and who does not clearly fit into a Cornell student or Cornell faculty/staff classification, the Office of Global Learning is happy to discuss the parameters of the case and to offer a preliminary recommendation to either:

  • Work with the Department/Unit HR contact - if a staff appointment seems most appropriate.
  • Work with the GFA and/or appropriate admissions office - if non-degree student status seems most appropriate.

Please note that the Office of global Learning can provide advice around what is possible from a regulatory perspective, but that Cornell faculty and Staff must follow whatever policies and procedures are set in place for international visitors within their Department, College, School or Division. The Guidelines for Cornell Faculty and Staff Engaging with Interns and Visiting Students ensures consistency in appointments, and limits risk exposure for the university.

F-1 Non-Degree Student Option:

Have the international come as a non-degree student—MUST obtain F1 visa status (unless already in the US in a status that allows enrollment—CANNOT be in B1/B2 STATUS). This is the first choice (and the best choice) whether they are an undergraduate or a graduate student abroad.

  • Pros and Cons

    — MUST register full time
    — Graduate Students: must be registered full time in the summer if here for the summer only or starting in the summer (6 credits of research); must be registered full time in the fall and spring (may be able to enroll in "Provost International Research Intern Program").
    — Undergraduate students: must register for at least 6 credits in the summer, 12 during the fall and spring, must pay tuition (may be able to enroll in "Provost International Research Intern Program").
    — Undergraduates must pay for their own accident and medical insurance
    — BOTH grads and undergrads CAN work on campus up to 20 hours per week (paid or unpaid)
    — BOTH CAN be reimbursed for expenses (travel, food, lodging)

J-1 Research Scholar/Short Term Scholar (for graduate students only):

If the visitor is a graduate student, consider the J1 Research Scholar or Short Term Scholar categories. This is a choice for those who will be given an academic appointment, or who will be appointed as an Research Intern for a period not to exceed twelve months. Important Note: J-1 Research Scholars and Short-Term Scholars must be actively working toward a master's degree or PhD. The J1 Research Scholar and short term scholar categories, as per the US Department of State, are meant for those qualified to perform advanced teaching and research. The J1 Research Scholar and Short-Term Scholar categories are not appropriate for undergraduate students.

  • Pros and Cons

    — Must have a bachelors degree and be working on a masters degree or higher (for some positions, a doctoral degree is required)
    — MUST have an academic appointment, or must be appointed as an intern for no more than 12 months
    — Must have sufficient financial support (personal funds, funding from Cornell, or funding from another source)
    — CAN work on campus up to 40 hours per week (paid or unpaid)
    — CAN be reimbursed for expenses (travel, food, lodging)
    — If not benefit eligible (unpaid or paid for temporary or less than 20 hours), then need to have own accident and medical insurance

 J-1 Student Intern (undergraduates & recently graduated undergraduates)

The J-1 Student Intern program allows international undergraduate students currently enrolled and pursuing a bachelor's  degree at a postsecondary academic institution, or recent graduates, to receive hands-on experience in their chosen field for an internship not to exceed 12 months. They must be currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States; or must have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date. Regulations for J-1 Student Interns are administratively complex. Please read the following information carefully if considering bringing a J-1 Student Intern to Cornell.

  • Pros and Cons

    — Require an administrative fee of $500
    — Must consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week of internship activity, no more than 20 percent of which consists of clerical work.
    — Must fulfill the educational objectives for the intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution. It must expose the participant to U.S. techniques, methodologies, and technology; and it must expand upon the intern’s existing knowledge and skills and not duplicate the student intern’s prior experience.
    — May be paid or unpaid. To be employed, however, the student intern must receive approval from his/her home institution’s dean or academic advisor.
    — Must not place the intern in any position that involves any of the following: unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical positions or any other kind of work involving patient care or contact, including therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education); or any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department [of State] into notoriety or disrepute.” [22 CFR § 62.23(i)(7)(iii)]
    — Can not serve to fill a labor need. It must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program. The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.
    — Can not displace American workers, whether full- or part-time, temporary or permanent.
    — If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

B-1/B-2 Visitor/Volunteer

Have the international come on a B1/B2 visitor's visa or the visa waiver program (if from visa waiver country) Please note that some colleges or departments at Cornell might have a policy which would not allow this choice for liability reasons. The Office of Global Learning does not set these policies and can only convey the immigration regulations.

  • Pros and Cons

    — CAN NOT register (it is clearly against the regulations for a B1/B2 or visa waiver status holder to register for classes)
    — CAN NOT be paid to work on campus at all (except for B1s only at Cornell for 9 days or less)
    — CAN be reimbursed for expenses (travel, food, lodging) but be careful about recording exactly what is being reimbursed
    — MIGHT not meet university requirements for volunteers ( please read university policy on volunteers). Generally, if a person is not allowed to work in the U.S. due to the visa restriction, then they are also prohibited from working as a University volunteer.
    — Needs own accident and medical insurance and does not qualify for University programs as visitor.
    — MIGHT have trouble at US consulate obtaining B1/B2 visa stamp to come to Cornell to do research
    — MIGHT have trouble at US port of entry gaining entry as B1/B2 or visa waiver visitor to come to Cornell to do research