Immigration Services

Letter from your Principal Investigator

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Immigration Services - Letter from your Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator Letter

A letter from your PI for the US Consulate or Embassy may be helpful. While no clear guidance has been provided by the US Department of State, having a letter from your PI describing your research in lay terms may be helpful. Note that, even if you provide this information, the US Consulate or Embassy may still request further information and/or proceed with administrative processing through the US Department of State in Washington, DC.

  • The letter should be on Salk letterhead and be signed and dated by your PI/Supervisor.
  • The duties/research described in the letter should be appropriate for your visa type and Salk position, as well consistent with your current nonimmigrant status and length of authorized stay.
  • The letter should only contain the information specified below.
  • Before a letter is prepared for you (the Scholar), check the information provided by the US Consulate or Embassy you plan to visit in case additional information is requested.
    • Note: Following the interview, you may be asked to provide a copy of your PI’s detailed CV, including a list of his/her published work.

The letter should include:

  • Scholar’s name
  • Scholar’s Salk title
  • A brief, but detailed and not too technical description of the research/work the Scholar will be conducting, whether it is basic or applied research, the goal of the research, and any practical applications of it
    • This should be written for a lay audience
  • A very brief explanation of how the Scholar’s qualifications (e.g., degree level, degree field, and any relevant prior experience) match the requirements of the position
    • Keep it simple. For example for a postdoc: “Dr. Scholar has a PhD in biology from Great University. She has been a Research Associate (postdoctoral researcher) in my lab since July 20XX following completion of her PhD.”
  • The source(s) of funding supporting the Scholar’s research
  • Explain what the Scholar will have access to in the laboratory (e.g., equipment, technologies, resources, etc.).
  • Explain whether or not the Scholar will participate in or have access to any government projects
    • If so, explain what the projects are and what non-US citizens have access to
  • If the research has no military or defense-related purpose, state so.
  • Explain if the Scholar is expected to return to Salk to continue his/her research and that a timely return (or arrival) is important to the research project
  • Contact information of your PI in case of additional information needed

Please feel free to contact the Manager of Immigration Services for any questions.