Postdoc Resources: Visas & Other Issues for Foreign Postdocs

Things to know as a foreign postdoc

This page provides a rough guide for new UCSC J-1 Postdoctoral Scholars from foreign countries. It is not limited to Postdocs in Astronomy & Astrophysics. As personal situations and governmental requirements vary, this document cannot be exhaustive. It is mainly a list of useful links to UCSC and governmental webpages, and reflects the requirements and procedures with links to webpages as of April 2011.

Before your arrival at UCSC International Postdoctoral Scholars are managed by the International Scholar and Student Services (ISSS) in the UCSC Office of International Education (OIE). Please find below Postdoc-specific links to their webpages:

Below you will find essential links to websites by the U.S government specific to J-1 Scholars. Knowledge about the rules and procedures is essential to obtain your J-1 Visa, so follow them carefully. Before you start your visa application you must have received your form DS-2019 and your invitation letter from your UCSC department. Be sure to schedule your visa interview at least 1 month in advance of your arrival.
Some legal background information is given below. At least you should get familiar with the tax treaty between the U.S. and your home country. Most tax treaties contain a federal tax exemption period for J-1 Scholars, but you have to know the specific article to claim that exemption.
Finally, an advice on moving expenses: Generally, your arrival airline ticket will be reimbursed by 50%, and only if your ticket is from a U.S. carrier according to the Fly America Act.

After your arrival at UCSC

After your arrival in the U.S., you will have to take several steps to lawfully stay in the U.S. and to set up as a UCSC employee.
  1. OIE: Mandatory Check-in with ISSS
  2. OIE: How to obtain a Social Security Number and Card?
  3. Open a U.S. bank account (You will need your SSN)
  4. Complete your check-in with your UCSC department

Working at UCSC

  • OIE: J-1 Scholar Authorization for Additional Employment (HTML, PDF) to be filed before you receive remuneration from a source not indicated on your DS-2019 (e.g., from other institutions for visits and invited talks)
  • Travel Reimbursement: Your airline ticket must be from a U.S. carrier (also code share) according to the Fly America Act
  • OIE: Guidelines for Applications for J-2 Work Permission (PDF) for your partner
  • OIE: Tax Links (very general, better get help from your foreign colleague next door or a tax professional)