Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

May 2011

Stanford University Policy Regarding Postdoc Term Limit

Stanfordís policy on the appointment of postdoctoral scholars sets a term limit of four years of research training after the PhD, with the possibility of an extension into a fifth year that may be granted as an exception upon review. Two years ago, as a result of the economic crisis and massive national layoffs, the Provost allowed a temporary policy provision which extended the limit to a sixth year. He granted that temporary provision for a second time last spring 2010, which set a sixth year limit not to go beyond September 30, 2011.

This sixth year temporary provision will expire on September 30 , 2011. Effective October 1, 2011, all postdoctoral appointments may not exceed a total of five years of research training (including time at Stanford and at other institutions).

Current appointments of postdocs who are in a fifth year of training or beyond are not renewable. A postdoc who is to be retained after the end of a fifth year of training must be moved to a research associate or another appropriate academic or research staff status at Stanford.

Please review the records of your postdocs and plan accordingly. In order to assist you in identifying the postdocs who will reach their term limit on or before September 30, 2011, OPA will send you the names of those postdocs and their faculty sponsors in the next two weeks. Please work with the faculty and with the postdocs in order to prepare the appropriate transition plan within or outside of Stanford. The legal status of international scholars on Stanford-sponsored J1 or H1B visas is linked to a current appointment. Foreign postdocs will cease to have legal status in the United States if their appointment at Stanford ends, regardless of the end date of their DS-2019 or the H1B Notice of Action.

The following is a list of resources available to you and your postdocs if you will be planning a switch to another type of position at Stanford, or if you will be counseling postdocs on a forthcoming departure from Stanford.

A Staff Appointment (switch to a Research Associate Position ): Start with your Human Resources Administrator to advise on timeline, including sponsorship of the appropriate visa (immigration regulations and restrictions apply). For all Stanford Schools (except School of Medicine), Kulneet Homidi ( ) at the Office of the Dean of Research reviews the paperwork received from departments. In the School of Medicine, Greta Lazaro ( ) in HRG reviews the paperwork receives[tense] from Departments before it is sent to the Office of the Dean of Research.

An Academic Appointment (switch to a Lecturer, Instructor or Visiting Scholar status): Start with your Faculty Affairs Administrator in the department to advise on timeline, including sponsorship of the appropriate visa. In addition to University policy (and immigration-related restrictions for foreign nationals), each school has its policy regarding academic appointments and you should follow those guidelines.

Career Services are available to postdocs to assist with job searches. Professional staff and career counselors at the Stanford Career Development Center ( and at the School of Medicine Career Center ( provide numerous opportunities and services, ranging from individual consultations, resume and cover letter writing workshops, job search strategies to job listings by employers seeking Stanford talent and career fairs. Please encourage your postdocs to take advantage of those services!

International Scholars: J visas for foreign post-docs are valid ONLY for 5 years as regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Foreign postdocs who are in J1 status must be switched to an H1B employment visa, if you intend to continue some non-post doc appointment. Postdocs, in the J category, who are subject to a 2-year home country return may not be moved into an H1B status without obtaining a waiver. Waivers may take up to 18 months. If you have a postdoc who is not subject to the 2-year rule or who obtained a waiver, and who you will anticipate moving to a staff position, you must start the H1B process by contacting the Foreign Scholars Office at the Bechtel International Center three to four months ahead of the J1 expiration date or the requested start of the H1B status, whichever is earlier. Contact: .

Send your questions to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs online at . Request Category: Student Services. Request Type: Postdoctoral Affairs.

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