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Foreign Nationals

International scientific exchange is an important concept in oceanography.  These exchanges provide opportunities for interactions between the world's scientists, allow access to data around the globe, and give visibility to literature and theories developed within diverse cultures. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution fully embraces the philosophy of international scientific exchange, with currently close to 220 foreign nationals at the Institution representing 35 different countries.  To amplify our commitment to the international exchange of ideas, WHOI is a designated sponsor of the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program.

Due to the abundance of foreign nationals within the Institution, WHOI maintains a team of dedicated Foreign National Advisors in Human Resources. One of the team’s primary goals is to ensure departments, employees, guests and students follow the appropriate steps to secure valid authorization to work or conduct research in the United States.  Some of the other important roles the Foreign National Advisor plays is to ensure that WHOI stays in compliance with the Exchange Visitor Program and U.S. immigration laws, to be an advocate for the Foreign National during the visa process, and to advise partners within the Institution on visa related matters.  When WHOI hires or invites a foreign national to collaborate on a research project, a Foreign National Advisor will be assigned to help facilitate the process.

We recognize that most visa-related matters are very specific to an individual’s country of citizenship, and the type and duration of work or research the person is conducting within the United States.  While a lot about the visa process is out of WHOI’s control, we do our best to minimize disruption to the scientific research.

WHOI's International Community

According to the Department of State, the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is “to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries.”  WHOI’s International Committee is a great resource to compliment the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, and to aid in a foreign national’s assimilation into U.S. culture.

The International Committee was formed to provide support and assistance to our international visitors and to help acclimate them to their Institution, our culture and the local area.  The Committee provides an array of services such as hosting social and education events, introducing to the new area, explaining U.S. government regulations, and answering generally any question one might have about U.S. culture or anything related to one’s stay in the country.   

While you are here, you will learn not only from your colleagues, but also from your interactions with other American people and institutions. We hope you take advantage of the opportunity to learn about a society and culture which may be new to you, and to teach others about the society and culture you represent.

Mass Immunization Requirements for International Visitors

To ensure a safe and healthy environment and community, compliance with Massachusetts Immunization Law is a requirement for all incoming international visitors.

While we strive to provide you with the most up-to-date information on immunization requirements, ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure you have the required immunizations.

For more information on immunization requirements, please refer to: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/vaccine-information-for-the-public