Visa and Immigration Services

The Office of the General Counsel provides visa services and the coordination of employment–based immigration services for foreign national faculty, staff, researchers, and students.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for a F-1 student visa?
The Office of General Counsel completes all F-1 applications online. If you have been accepted as a student and need to submit an application, please fill out the F-1 application form and submit it to the OGC. Once the online application is completed, you will receive the original I-20 form. To receive the actual visa, you will need to schedule an interview at the US Consulate Office in your home country and provide the I-20 form to the immigration officer. Some US Consulate Offices have a waiting list for interviews, so it is advisable to schedule your interview as soon as possible.

Can I work while on a F-1 student visa?
Generally, you cannot work while on a F-1 visa and doing so could result in your being deported. There are, however, a few exceptions to this prohibition. For more information on these exceptions, please contact Allison Wootson via telelphone at 615.327.6921 or by email.

Work Visas
How do I apply for a J-1 work visa?
For a J-1, the Office of General Counsel completes the application for you online. To submit an application, please fill out the J-1 application form and submit it to the OGC. Once the online application is completed, you will the original DS-2019 form. To receive the actual visa, you will need to schedule an interview at the US Consulate Office in your home country and provide the DS-2019 form to the immigration officer. Some US Consulate Offices have a waiting list for interviews, so it is advisable to schedule your interview as soon as possible.

Can I apply for a H1-B visa while on a J-1?
Generally, J-1 visa holders cannot apply for a H1-B because federal law requires all J-1 visa holders to return to their home countries for a minimum of 2 years before returning to the United States. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For more information on these exceptions, please contact Allison Wootson via telephone at 615.327.6921 or by email.

How do I apply for a H1-B work visa?
Applying for a H1-B visa is more complicated than applying for a J-1 because it requires a "labor certification" that must be completed by an external immigration attorney. If you are interested in applying, please contact Allison Wootson via telephone at 615.327.6921 or by email. The entire application process takes a minimum of six weeks. However, this process can be expedited by the employee's paying a $1,000 fee to the government for Premium Processing.

Can I use my own immigration attorney for a H1-B?
No. The application is submitted in the name of Meharry Medical College. Therefore, applicants must use one of Meharry's approved immigration counsel in order to submit an application.

Permanent Resident Status (i.e., Green Cards)
Does Meharry sponsor green card applications?
No. Meharry will not serve as a sponsor for institution-sponsored green cards. However, if an employee applies for a self-sponsored green card (i.e., EB-1 Extraordinary Ability or EB-2 National Interest Waiver), Meharry will support the application by certifying that the employee's employment is in good standing, if it is appropriate to do so.

Can I apply for a green card while on a visa?
Yes, if you are on an H1-B visa, you can. If you are on any other type of visa, you must return home for at least one year before applying for a green card.