Almost 70% of our postdoctoral appointees are international.

If you are a new postdoctoral appointee at WashU, please also visit the Getting Started page.

Welcome to Washington University in St. Louis! As we recognize that relocating to a foreign country can be overwhelming, isolating, and confusing, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is committed to helping you meet these challenges and making the most of your time here.

Maintaining your immigration status

Whether you are on an F-1 OPT, J-1, H-1B, O-1, TN, or any other non-immigrant status, you need to learn what restrictions apply to you and comply with the immigration regulations. The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) provides a variety of resources for international scholars like yourself, including social, cultural, and academic support; information on governmental regulations (e.g., income taxes); and facilitates cross-cultural understanding within our university and the St. Louis area.

Our postdoctoral appointees’ immigration documents are first handled at the department level and then by OISS. If you need to apply for or renew a visa, please speak to your department administrator first. If you are planning to leave the country for a conference or for vacation, check with your department administrator and OISS to see what paperwork or requirements are necessary to ensure you can safely return to the U.S.

The dedicated OISS advisor for postdoctoral appointees is Julia Gigli.

Health insurance

Regardless of your immigration status, you are eligible for postdoc health benefits. Plans include includes health, dental and vision plans; life and AD&D insurance; long term disability; among others.

Attention J-1 Scholars!

If you are a postdoctoral appointee on a J-1 visa, you need to comply with the health insurance requirements mandated by the federal government:

Finding a primary care physician

As a WashU postdoctoral appointee, you have access to WUCare. WUCare is WashU’s world-class primary care exclusive for WashU employees and their families.

For specialties and locations, explore WUSTL Physicians.

English language skills at WashU

Visit the English Language Programs (ELP) website to learn about the courses offered and how to choose an appropriate level for you. ELP courses are offered through University College and include writing, speaking, academic and professional skills, American culture, etc.

As a WashU postdoctoral appointee, you can use your Postdoc Tuition Assistance to take up to four undergraduate credits at University College per semester, including ELP courses. To see current listings, visit University College’s Registration page. If you have questions about when a course will be offered, please contact the ELP Program Manager, Katie Blackburn Brown.

If you are interested in enrolling in a course, follow the instructions on how postdoctoral appointees can register.

Your Immigration Education Starts Here!

As a postdoctoral appointee on a temporary (non-immigrant) visa, not only must you understand the restrictions of your immigration status, but also you must start planning early for your career after the postdoctoral stage. Since the career decisions you make must be coupled with your immigration potential, your immigration education must be integrated into your career exploration. This is essential in your decision-making process, whether you would like to seek permanent residence in the U.S., return to your country of origin, or continue your career on a third country.

If you are planning to pursue permanent residence in the U.S. taking the self-sponsored path (under the EB-1 or EB-2 category), you need to assemble an immigration portfolio. An immigration portfolio includes evidence of your credentials, work experience, international recognition, and the importance of your work. You can learn how to use your professional development activities to create an immigration portfolio by prioritizing activities that satisfy the immigration criteria for advanced-degree holders while increasing competitiveness for diverse careers.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs offers workshops and guidance on how to plan your career in the U.S. while being on a temporary visa.* Contact us or visit our events page regularly for the upcoming offerings.

* This is not legal advice nor does it intend to be a substitute for legal advice.

Free Immigration Consultations

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs may offer you the opportunity to discuss your career options with an immigration attorney. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Immigrants in St. Louis

Even though the St. Louis area has a much lower percentage of immigrants compared with the national average (about 5.5% vs. 14.6%), it has been recognized as a city that stands out for their immigrant-welcoming initiatives. According to a 2022 report by the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, out of America’s 100 largest metro areas, St. Louis is 6th in the rank of cities where immigrants are thriving best.


Find the resources and support you need.

Get involved!

As an foreign-born advanced-degree holder, you can support the international communities in St. Louis and in the U.S.

* Our WashU OPA Director, Dr. Paola Cepeda, is serving as the NPA International Officer and Chair of the NPA International Taskforce until September 2023!