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The International Students and Scholars Office serves the needs of all international faculty regularly employed at Smith College and visiting faculty who are here for a semester or shorter under our Visiting Scholars Program.

The office will issue J-1 exchange visa applications as well as advise faculty on immigration issues, travel and employment under different visa categories. The office works closely with an immigration law firm in Northampton to process work visas as well as initiate applications for permanent residency.

International faculty are encouraged to contact this office as soon as they have received a new appointment, are coming to lecture or will be conducting research. In order to expedite the process, you can fill out the Foreign National Information Form (FNIF) and send it in an email to

Visas for Faculty & Scholars

For permanent appointments of faculty and researchers, or for tenure-track faculty members.

Departments who are hiring foreign faculty currently in the United States, or are interested in extending a faculty appointment beyond a temporary visa, should consult with Office of the Provost or the Office for International Students & Scholars to determine if the position is eligible for H-1B status. For permanent appointments of faculty and researchers, or for tenure-track faculty members, the H-1B visa status is the most appropriate. More information about qualifying campus positions and college assistance can be found on the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty page.

The college provides a combination of grant and loan assistance to faculty members who are applying for H-1B visa status. All applications and processing for this type of visa are currently handled by Curran, Berger, & Kludt Immigration Law in Northampton.

Smith College is designated by the Department of State and USIA as a sponsor of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program to sponsor professors, research scholars, short-term scholars or students.

For more information about hosting or traveling as a scholar, visit J-1 Visa Exchange Program.

For recent graduates of F-1 visa programs who are working in a capacity related to their academic course of study.

The F-1 visa is the most common student visa used by international students at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Students who study and complete their degree on an F-1 visa are often eligible to apply for a limited-term work authorization, known as Optional Practical Training (OPT). Visiting scholars or faculty who have recently completed their PhD or another eligible degree program on an F-1 visa may already have the legal right to work in the U.S. in a position that directly correlates to their course of study. Students on OPT will have up to one year of work authorization, although students in certain STEM fields may be eligible for an extension of up to 24 additional months. 

In order to work at Smith utilizing OPT, a candidate must be able to show their I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) for their prior degree program, with a recommendation for OPT. In addition, they must have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to confirm OPT approval.

For those with world-wide reputation of schoarly work and research; eligible to receive payment.

This particular type of visa is reserved for individuals who have a world-wide reputation of scholarly work and research. The O-1 visas are employer specific which means that in most cases they are employed by the institution which issues the O-1 visa much like the H-1b. They cannot be paid honoraria nor can they be reimbursed for expenses by another institution or employer. In some cases O-1 visas are issued to persons in the arts who are sponsored by an agent or agency through which they can act as independent contractors. They may engage in performances and other incidental work that relates to the main purpose of the O-1 visa, and therefore be eligible to receive payment.

For scholars from Canada and Mexico.

The TN program is part of the NAFTA agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico and it allows citizens of those countries to be admitted to the United States to engage in paid employment at a professional level in certain fields. TN visa may be extended indefinitely in one-year increments.

The application procedure for TN status for Mexicans is similar to H-1b processing and classification and may take much longer.

The procedures for Canadian citizens for initial TN visa application as well as extensions are done at the border/airport at the time of entry to the United States. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of TN visa holders are eligible for TD status, however they are not permitted to engage in any employment.

For short-term business or pleasure, with no paid employment.

The B-1 visa category is for visitors coming to the United States for short-term visits for business, and the B-2 is for short-term visits for pleasure. The visa is often issued as B-1/B-2 to most applicants and is usually for up to 90 days. There is no paid employment under this category, although it may be possible to reimburse the visitor for travel expenses or pay an honorarium. This particular visa is appropriate for foreign faculty who are visiting Smith College for several days but less than a total of nine days. They may engage in a symposium, attend a conference or give several lectures.

More information can be found about allowable activities on a B-1 visa in this document: Business Travel to the US.

Of particular note are guidelines regarding Lecturer/Speakers and Researchers.


No salary or income from a U.S. based company/entity, other than expenses incidental to the visit. If honorarium will be received, activities can last no longer than nine days at any single institution or organization; payment must be offered by an institution or organization described in INA 212(q); honorarium is for services conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and visa applicant will not have accepted such payment or expenses from more than five institutions or organizations over the last six months.


Independent research, no salary/income from a U.S. based source, or benefit to U.S. institution.

The Visa Waiver Program allow citizens of 27 countries to travel to the US without a visa, for business or tourist purposes. Please refer to the B-1/B-2 tab above for more details on allowable activities on the business/tourist visas.

As of January 20, 2010, faculty traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver program, must now apply for online authorization. Please go to to complete the required forms. You will not be able to board a flight to the United States unless you have completed an application and have been authorized to travel.

Directions to Smith

Smith College is located in Northampton, a lively town of 30,000 in the Connecticut River valley of western Massachusetts.

For directions and information about travel to Smith and visiting Northampton, see the Visiting Smith website.

By Car

From the South: Northampton is on Route I-91 in Massachusetts. From I-91 North take Exit 18 and turn left onto Route 5. Follow Route 5 into the center of town. At the intersection of Route 5 and Route 9, turn left onto Route 9 (Main Street). Go straight through four sets of traffic lights, turning left into Smith’s main entrance (College Lane) shortly after the seventh set. The Office of Admission is on your right, overlooking Paradise Pond. Parking is available next to the office or along Route 9.

From the North: From I-91 South, take Exit 20, and follow onto Route 5 South into the center of town. At the intersection of Route 5 and Route 9 (Main Street), turn right onto Route 9. Then follow the same directions as above from Route 9 to campus.

From the East or West via the Massachusetts Turnpike: Northampton is on Route I-91 North (Mass Pike exit 4). Once on I-91, follow the directions above for visitors from the south.

Mapping Smith?

If you're using an online map application for directions to the Office of Admission, the address is 7 College Lane, Northampton, Massachusetts 01063.

By Bus

Peter Pan, Greyhound and Vermont Transit serve the area. Most routes go to the main bus terminal in Springfield, where you can catch another bus to Northampton. Buses run almost hourly between Springfield and Northampton. Smith is a 10-minute walk or a short taxi ride from the bus station. Call 413-586-1030 for bus schedules.

By Train

Amtrak's Vermonter stops in Northampton. Smith is a short taxi ride from the train platform. For more information, visit Amtrak's website or call 800-872-7245.

By Air

The closest airport is Bradley International. It is served by most major airlines and is located about 35 miles south of Northampton near Hartford, Connecticut. Flying into Bradley rather than to Boston's Logan Airport gives you a shorter drive to Northampton and spares you city traffic congestion.

Taxi and Transportation Services

Transportation to Smith from the Boston or Hartford airports is available from a number of services. Advance reservations may be required.

This listing of area taxi and transportation services does not imply an endorsement by Smith College of any of these businesses.

Contact International Students and Scholars

125 Wright Hall

Smith College

Northampton, MA USA

Phone: 413-585-7598 Email:

Open office hours: Schedule a meeting with Dean Caitlin or with Claire Seely when it’s convenient for you!