HomeBy Natasha J. Baker. As colleges and universities continue to sprout satellite campuses overseas, partner with foreign institutions and offer programs and trips abroad, institutions and their faculty who perform services abroad need to be aware and cautious of the very real immigration pitfalls of these arrangements. It is important to note that immigration issues may apply to faculty members regardless of the duration of the program or the physical presence of the institution within the particular jurisdiction.
A comparison of some of the various jurisdictions demonstrates how very different the immigration laws can be. We surveyed higher education lawyers from the Employment Law Alliance's Higher Education Council with expertise in immigration to get a flavor of the various types of requirements around the world – including those seeking to teach short-term in the United States.
The European Union
Heading across the pond, Sasha Stepanova of the Czech Republic firm of Kocian Solc Balastik notes that E.U./EEA citizens have the right to freely move between and work in other EU/EEA countries, whereas any non E.U./EEA citizens (e.g., U.S. citizens) must in the vast majority of cases apply for both a work permit and a residency visa.
The good news for short-term visiting faculty is that there are certain limited exceptions – for example academics or researchers who will be visiting an institution for a period of shorter than three months will in some countries be exempted from the need for a work permit. An additional exception from work permits in some countries is available when teachers are teaching in foreign languages within the framework of an international educational program.
Stepanova also cautions that institutions should not confuse work permit requirements with visa requirements. For some non E.U./EEA citizens, there is a visa entry requirement for simply entering into certain E.U./EEA countries. This will still apply even if there is no need for a work permit.  For example, the Schengen visa allows for six months stay in the E.U./EEA zone. If you are a U.S. citizen and wish to stay more than three months in the Schengen Zone, you will require a Schengen visa.
According to Stepanova, the most important issue for any non-E.U./EEA academic preparing to come to Europe is to ensure sufficient time for the visa and work permit application processes. As a rule, the applications are generally required to be made from your home country (i.e. not after your arrival in the destination) and commonly take 2-4 months to process.  Entering and staying on the territory in breach of these conditions and working without a permit where one is required may result in substantial fines or deportation. Despite what may seem to be onerous provisions, there is regular traffic of academic exchange in European universities, the key is to prepare in advance and ensure sufficient time for your application and availability of all documentation, which may often need to be apostilled (not just photocopied). More...