Information for Non-U.S. Citizens

Non-U.S. citizens with the Exchange Visitor J-1 status (research scholar only), lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, or employment authorization document (EAD) with adjustment of status (AOS) are eligible to receive an NPP Fellowship. The immigration status must allow participation in the program for at least two years.

An H1-B status is not acceptable, because that status is for employment only. Non-U.S. citizens selected for an appointment must contact ORAU concerning their immigration status and provide evidence that they have a valid and appropriate authorization before they can begin an NPP appointment.

ORAU can provide information regarding U.S. Visas, but cannot apply for a Visa or permanent residency on the Fellow’s behalf. All costs in connection with a passport, Visa, or their renewals are the Fellow’s responsibility.

A non-U.S. citizen who has been awarded an NPP appointment may apply for an exchange visitor Visa as a J-1 research scholar under the sponsorship assigned to ORAU by the U.S. Department of State. Upon written request, a DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status), will be issued by ORAU. ORAU cannot issue the DS-2019 form until the Fellow has provided written acceptance of the NPP appointment offer and proof of the doctoral degree.

  • A Fellow outside of the United States may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 Visa at a United States embassy or consulate.
  • A Fellow in the United States on a valid status under Other Sponsorship must transfer the status to ORAU sponsorship. Transfers require that the research field remain the same and that the Fellow has the agreement of the current J-1 sponsor. Once a transfer is requested, ORAU and the Fellow’s current sponsor will complete the transfer process.
  • A Fellow in the United States on any other status may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status.
  • The Fellow may begin or continue the NPP appointment only after written USCIS approval has been received.

All exchange visitors are subject to strict legal limitations on the length of stay in the United States. Currently, research scholars may stay up to 60 months.

By law, all exchange visitors are required to hold health insurance and repatriation and medical evacuation insurance for themselves and their dependents throughout their appointment. Health insurance may be obtained through ORAU (see Health and Accident Insurance). J-2 dependents may hold other health, insurance, as long as it meets U.S. Department of State requirements for exchange visitors.

If the Fellow is currently in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (Immigrant Visa), and holds a valid green card without restrictions on length of stay and employment, the Fellow may continue in that status. If the Fellow has applied for and expects to receive the green card, the Fellow must provide ORAU with evidence of this authorization for employment before beginning or continuing the appointment.

All exchange visitors, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and Fellows with EAD-AOS must immediately provide ORAU with any changes in the following:

  • Home or appointment facility address
  • Immigration
  • Dependents (spouse and/or children)
  • Marital status
  • Health insurance coverage

All non-U.S. citizens who move to a new home address must notify the USCIS within ten (10) days or be subject to severe penalties.

Before any stipend payments can be made, the Fellow must provide ORAU with a United States Social Security number (SSN) or a Tax Identification Number (TIN). Fellows who do not have a U.S. SSN or TIN must apply for one in the United States at a local office of the Social Security Administration.

All travel by non-U.S. citizen Fellows, research-related or personal, either within or outside the United States, must be pre-approved by the NPP advisor and NPP Center representative and coordinated through ORAU before the Fellow is authorized to travel. The NPP Center representative must provide ORAU with approval of the Fellow’s research-related travel at least three (3) weeks in advance of the departure date for domestic travel and four (4) weeks for foreign travel.

All non-U.S. citizen Fellows who plan to travel outside the United States, must have the following documents in order to re-enter the United States:

Exchange Visitors:

  • Valid passport containing a valid United States J-1 Visa
  • DS-2019 forms, endorsed for travel by an ORAU responsible officer or alternate (if the Fellow’s J-2 dependents travel, they also must have a travel endorsement on their DS-2019 forms)
  • Letter from ORAU, signed by an ORAU responsible officer (or alternate), stating that the Fellow is in good standing in the program


  • Valid passport with applicable admission stamps
  • EAD card with advance parole


  • Green card

For more information, please refer to the Travel Notes section at the bottom of the Travel During Appointment page.

If the Fellow has a non-immigrant status, ORAU may be required to withhold income tax from the monthly stipend and to report this deduction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annually. The amount withheld, if any, depends on stipend level, country of citizenship, immigration status, tax treaty, etc. ORAU will notify any Fellow that is included in an IRS required withholding category when the first stipend check is issued.

ORAU is required to notify the U.S. Department of State when an exchange visitor leaves the program earlier than 30 days before the ending date on the current DS-2019 form.