Department essentials

Social Security card

International scholars must wait two full weeks from the date of entry into the U.S. before applying for a Social Security card. The hosting/hiring department does not need a Social Security number to begin employing an international scholar. For details about the application process, see the Social Security card information.

Driver’s license

In order for a scholar to obtain a driver’s license in Missouri, they must take both the written and driving tests. A representative of the scholar’s department will need to produce a letter showing proof of employment (J-1 sample letter, H-1B sample letter). It is not necessary for the scholar to receive any financial compensation from MU to be considered “employed” as far as the Division of Motor Vehicles is concerned. For details about testing, required documentation and the Columbia driver’s license offices, see the driver’s license information.

Tax information

International scholars and their departments can get assistance with nonimmigrant tax issues from the Nonresident Alien Taxation Office. Information and assistance with the I-9 form is available from Human Resource Services.

Courtesy appointments for J-1 scholars

Any department paying wages to a J-1 scholar as an employee should use the standard PeopleSoft Personnel Action Form (UM270) along with all other standard hiring forms.

If a department is not paying wages but the J-1 scholar must be recognized as a “courtesy appointment” with all the privileges inherent with possessing a university ID, they must use the PeopleSoft PAF for Courtesy Appointments and Volunteers. The Social Security number is not a required field for this form, but the field should be filled in if the hire already has an official SSN. No temporary SSN will be provided. If the individual is not being paid, no other forms need to be processed with this PAF.

MU ID number and card
Once the courtesy appointment PAF has been processed, the J-1 scholar is assigned an eight-digit employee identification number (EmplID) and a one-digit employee record number. The scholar must take a copy of the courtesy appointment PAF (with either an EmplID/employee record number or an official SSN) to the MU ID Office, which will create the MU ID card. The ID Office will not be able to crate an ID until at least one set of these numbers is on the PAF.

Building access privileges
The process of obtaining a key or ID card access for a J-1 scholar employed by MU follows the standard procedure for all new hires. Courtesy appointments may receive keys only from the MU employee who has requested them. The MU employee must make the request to the building coordinator, who will then procure the keys from Campus Facilities. The MU employee will then lend the key to the J-1 scholar to use during their stay. The MU employee to whom the key was issued will be responsible for the key’s use and must return the key to the building coordinator upon the scholar’s departure.

Library access privileges
After a courtesy appointment PAF has been submitted, an employee ID number has been issued and the J-1 scholar has obtained an MU ID card, they must take the card and a letter from the department to the library. The letter must spell out information about the J-1 scholar’s program and confirmation that the department is willing to take full financial responsibility for any materials the scholar uses while at MU. It also should list any limitations to the privileges being granted to avoid possible misunderstanding.

To simplify this process, International Student and Scholar Services provides a sample letter approved by the library. Please use this sample when creating the department letter.

H-1B hiring department responsibilities

Departments hiring H-1B scholars must do the following:

  • Report any changes in employment for the H-1B to International Student and Scholar Services. This includes changes in title, salary, work location, FTE, department, position description or employment termination. An approved H-1B status is specific to the employee and terms of employment. If the department plans to change the terms of employment from what is indicated in the H-1B petition and Labor Condition Application, a new or amended petition for H-1B status may be necessary.
  • Encourage new H-1B scholars to attend New Employee Orientation through Human Resource Services.
  • Pay for return travel if the H-1B scholar is dismissed for any reason.
  • Request a status extension for the H-1B scholar if needed. Departments must contact ISSS at least six months prior to the H-1B scholar’s current status expiration to begin the extension request.