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RPI Departments

This section contains information for the departments at Rensselaer to provide support to international students and exchange visitors and learn more about the ISSS processes.

Faculty and staff can sign up to receive Campus Partner messages from ISSS, which will provide information when large changes occur within the international community (such as the federal guidance issued in July 2020). Sign up at this link!

This page was last updated on: July 10, 2020.


J-1 Exchange Visitors

The most common type of Exchange Visitor at RPI is short-term scholar or research scholar.

J-1 visas are available for temporary exchange visitors (scholars) conducting research or collaborating with RPI faculty. J-1 exchange visitors may be paid or unpaid, but any temporary paid exchange visitors must come on a J-1 visa (i.e. are not eligible for a B visa). There are three types of J-1 scholars at RPI:

  • J-1 Short-Term Scholar (six months maximum)
  • J-1 Professor/Research Scholar (five years maximum)
  • J-1 Student Interns (individuals who are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree outside of the United States who will be partaking in an internship directly related to this degree)
J-1 Financial Support Documentation Requirements

Below are some guidelines for how prospective visiting scholars should submit proof of finances. Please be aware that this is for brief reference only and information is subject to change. The requirements are subject to change and scholar’s support is evaluated individually.

Amount Required

  • Scholars must be able to demonstrate a minimum financial support of $1,500 USD per month, or $18,000 USD annually, for the entirety of their appointments. Our office will convert any funding not in USD to USD equivalent amounts.
  • Dependents: If a scholar is bringing a spouse or child as a dependent, he/she must demonstrate an additional $8,820 USD annually (or $735 USD per month) for the first dependent and $4,410 USD annually (or $367.50 USD per month) per each additional dependent.

Documentation Requirements

  • Scanned documents are acceptable (ISSS reserves the right to request an original document).
  • Financial documents must be dated within the past six months.
  • Documents should clearly state, in English, the amount of funding.

Examples of Acceptable Funding

  • Below are some of the most frequently used forms of funding. This list is not exhaustive and other sources of funding may be acceptable upon review:
    • Personal bank statement(s)
    • Scholarship or grant award letter, clearly stating amount
    • Letter proving continued funding from scholar’s home institution
    • Letter of funding from Rensselaer

Graduating Students

If a department intends to hire a graduating student in a postdoctoral position, there are two potential options. Contact ISSS to explore these options.

Postdoctoral Position Options
  1. F-1 students are eligible for Optional Practical Training; or
  2. The position may be appropriate for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.

Other Visa Types

There are also scholars on other visa types, such as B-1/B-2 and Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). In order for individuals to do research at RPI, they must be approved through Export Control.

Other Visa Types Process

To become approved, individuals work with their inviting department to submit documentation to ISSS. ISSS then submits documentation to Export Control, which is a process that can take over one month to be completed. ISSS is notified when Export Control makes a determination regarding the scholar and then notifies the department.

Within one week of entry to the U.S., the scholar must check in with ISSS. For more instructions on this process, please email ISSS at

B-1/B-2 Visitor - General Information

Please note: The B-1/B-2 visa is only appropriate for very specific activities. For more information on the B-1/B-2 visa visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and  U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Only visitors who would otherwise apply for B visas are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). For details, visit:

Individuals on B-1/B-2 or ESTA are not eligible to receive financial remuneration.


Permanent Positions

Permanent Position Visas

If a department intends to hire an Exchange Visitor for longer than five years or for a permanent position, it is recommended that the EV obtain one of the following visas:

  • H-1B visa (6 years maximum, contact Human Resources)
  • TN visa for Canadian and Mexican citizens only. (One year, renewable annually)