Eligibility for Employment-Based Sponsorship of Foreign Nationals for Temporary and Permanent Work Authorization

Policy Summary

The George Washington University (GW) offers employment-based visa sponsorship, which confers the right  to work for a U.S. employer in the United States on a temporary or permanent basis. This sponsorship is only offered for ascertain eligible position classifications at GW. Authorized employees within the Office of the Provost, including its International Services Office (ISO), Human Resource Management and Development, and the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OGC) are the only individuals with authority to represent to a current or prospective employee that the university will sponsor the foreign national for an employment-based non-immigrant or immigrant visa. Any such commitments made by unauthorized departments or individuals are not considered binding. OGC is the only GW office authorized to retain private attorneys in connection with sponsorship applications. Attorneys representing individual faculty and researchers are not authorized to file employment-base petitions on behalf of the university.

When GW sponsors foreign nationals for temporary or permanent work authorization, it is subject to applicable federal laws and regulations. Failure to adhere to such laws subjects the university to potentially serious penalties.  

Who is Governed by this Policy 

  • Students
  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Researchers
  • Research Scientists
  • Post-Doctoral Scientists
  • Visiting Teaching and Research Scholars


In accordance with its mission to attract and retain diverse and skilled employees, the university offers employment-based visa sponsorship to foreign nationals in certain teaching and research positions, as set forth in this policy. 

The visa types available most frequently to appoint eligible nonimmigrant faculty, scholars and researchers on a temporary basis are the H-1B and J-1. The university may also agree to transfer an H from a prior employer to GW, or pursue employment using an O-1, TN, or other visa. The university may also agree to sponsor foreign nationals in certain teaching and research positions for U.S. Permanent Resident status (PR) (also known as the “green card”), which confers the right to work in the U.S. indefinitely and for any employer. In some cases, the university may elect to sponsor positions that would otherwise be ineligible for sponsorship under this policy. Dependent sponsorship may also be possible. 

It is recommended that foreign nationals exhaust all other available visa types that allow work authorization at GW prior to obtaining GW visa sponsorship. This includes F-1 OPT and STEM OPT work options, for example. Once a foreign national is hired by the university, it is recommended that the department waits the full employee introductory time period of 90 days prior to initiating employment-based visa sponsorship or permanent residency as necessary.

While a department or prospective employee’s wishes may be taken in to consideration, the university makes the decision as to which visa category and approach to sponsorship is appropriate. The International Services Office (ISO), in conjunction with other university offices, will weigh several factors in deciding on an appropriate sponsorship category to help ensure success of any visa sponsorship application to U.S. government agencies. To optimize chances for success, departments should initiate requests for sponsorship to ISO with sufficient lead time, as described on ISO’s website. The ISO uses the ISO GateWay portal for all sponsorship submissions.

Once GW’s ISO confirms the position is eligible for sponsorship, ISO and GW’s external immigration counsel will work directly with the department on the relevant applications and will keep the department informed on progress. The university and any external immigration counsel it engages cannot guarantee success of any application, or that an application will be approved in time for the foreign national to begin by a specific date. Federal government authorities have the ultimate authority to approve or disapprove any visa sponsorship application and control the timing of such approvals or disapprovals. 

Departments should consult with ISO for any questions concerning this Policy. The charts below details eligibility for GW employment-based visa sponsorship. For more information on the application process, please visit ISO's website.

Sponsorship for New Hire H-1Bs
Eligible Positions Ineligible Positions
Regular active status faculty with title of University Professor, Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor Current Students
Specialized Faculty Staff (includes administrative, technical and library staff)
Research Faculty Instructors
Research, Senior Research, and Lead Research Scientists Research Assistants, Senior Research Assistants, Research Associates and Senior Research Associates
Postdoctoral Scientists

Visiting and Limited Service Faculty

Sponsorship for J Exchange Visitor Visa
Eligible Positions
J Students
Postdoctoral Scientists
Research, Senior Research, and Lead Research Scientists
Faculty other than tenure-track appointments
Note: The determination as to whether the J or H-1B is more appropriate for those who are eligible for such sponsorship will be made by ISO, taking into account any remaining employment authorization eligibility within the J status.
Sponsorship for Permanent Resident (PR)
Eligible Positions Ineligible Positions
Regular active status faculty, as defined above Students
Research Faculty Staff (includes administrative, technical and library staff)
Research, Senior Research, and Lead Research Scientists Research Assistants, Senior Research Assistants, Research Associates and Senior Research Associates
  Postdoctoral Scientists
Special Note on Sponsorship of Foreign Resident Physicians
GW's Graduate Medical Education program accepts foreign medical residents sponsored on the J-1 visa by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) only. GW does not sponsor foreign physicians for graduate medical education for the H- 1B in accordance with recommendations by the American Medical Association and the American Association Medical Colleges. Foreign resident physicians are also ineligible for permanent residence sponsorship.


Related Information


Contact Phone Number Email Address
International Services Office 202-994-4477  [email protected]
Office of the Provost 202-994-6510  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.