Postdoc FAQ

1. What will I need to do on arrival?
A. You will have an appointment with Theresa Scarabino in the Postdoc office. She files all of the paperwork necessary to initiate your position and salary payment.
B. You will be scheduled for a physical exam at Employee Health, bloodwork and a toxicology test. These are standard requirements for all personnel, scheduled by Ms. Scarabino.
C. You are required to attend an Orientation called “New Beginnings” for all Mount Sinai personnel on your first day, scheduled by Ms. Scarabino.
D. Within the first month you will be required to attend a Postdoc Orientation scheduled by Ms. Scarabino.
E. All foreign nationals must make an appointment with International Personnel, scheduled by Ms. Scarabino.
F. It is necessary for you to open a checking account or have a checking account in order to receive salary payments.
G. Enroll in your health benefits plan. You can enroll 1 week after beginning work or receiving your 1st paycheck.

2.  Why must I meet with the Postdoc Office only on a Monday or Tuesday, if I can begin only on a Monday?
The Postdoc Office schedules meetings with new postdocs only on Mondays and Tuesdays so that the paperwork can be processed in time for a Monday start in the following week.  Paperwork, toxicology tests, etc. take days to complete, and if begun later in the week, will not be processed in time for a Monday start.  Everyone joining Mount Sinai must do so beginning on a Monday, when the Orientation program, “New Beginnings” is given.

3.  What are my Benefits?
Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible for benefits, including plans for medical, dental and vision coverage as well as plans for life insurance and disability coverage for yourself, and if needed, for spouse, legal partners and dependent children.  Since coverage needs vary depending on lifestyle and family situation, Mount Sinai’s BeneFlex Program permits Postdoctoral Fellows to tailor their benefits to best suit their needs. Costs vary based upon specific circumstances and choices, but include medical, dental, prescription and vision plans. Full policy descriptions are available on the intranet (on campus): http://intranet1.mountsinai.org/HumanResources/.  Benefits begin the first of the following month in which you are appointed. If coverage is desired for the intervening time period, it can be purchased by outside providers. Please see website for available plans.

4.  What is my Stipend?
Mount Sinai requires all principal investigators to adhere to, as a minimum, the current NIH Postdoctoral Stipends. In the event that a Postdoctoral Fellow receives support from abroad (e.g. stipend from another country), that stipend will be supplemented, if necessary, to reach the minimum levels delineated by NIH (http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm). The mentor and funding sources will determine any stipend above the minimum.

5.  How do I apply for housing?
All Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible to obtain Mount Sinai housing, which offers subsidized, unfurnished apartments in Manhattan or Parkchester (typically larger in size than those in Manhattan). Applications for housing along with maps to various buildings having Mount Sinai apartments can be found on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Website. If a Postdoctoral Fellow rejects the initial offer of housing, but later decides to enter Mount Sinai housing, they will no longer have preference and will be placed on a waiting list. The Real Estate Division is located on the 1st floor of 1249 Park Avenue. Please contact the housing manager for more information: housing@mountsinai.org.

6.  What kind of a VISA should I get?
Absent exigent circumstances, all Postdoctoral Fellows will be offered a J-1 Research Scholar visa. The J-1 Research Scholar visa is the most appropriate visa for Postdoctoral training since primary purpose is to conduct research. Family members (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) will be offered a derivative J-2 visa.

Postdoctoral Fellows in initial J-1 visa status may enter 30 days prior to their start date and will have 30 days grace period upon completion of their training program before they depart the United States. Postdoctoral Fellows are required to report to International Personnel within 30 days of entry to the United States prior to the beginning of their program.

Dependent upon the Postdoctoral Fellow’s country of origin, a two-year home residency requirement may apply subjecting the Postdoctoral Fellow to a mandatory two-year home country physical presence pursuant to §212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department of State maintains a Skills list indicating which skills and countries are subject. See http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_4514.html for additional information.

If a Postdoctoral Fellow obtains a J-1 waiver prior to the completion of their program, International Personnel will continue to extend the J-1 visa until the end of the J-1 program.

Postdoctoral Fellows are not eligible for Mount Sinai sponsored employment based green cards as they are still considered to be in training and Postdoctoral Fellows are cautioned on applying for self-petitions for the same reason. If a Postdoctoral Fellow is promoted to a faculty position, they are no longer eligible for a J-1 visa and the International Personnel must be notified immediately to facilitate the filing of an H-1B visa. A change of status cannot be filed until the Faculty Appointment is finalized.

Postdoctoral Fellows must update International Personnel of any change in contact information including phone numbers, address, or immigration status. The immigration service requires most non-US Citizens to file a change of address form within ten (10) days of moving within the United States. To report a change of address, a Form AR-11 must be submitted to USCIS. This form may be submitted electronically at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa.Terms.

The J-1 Research Scholar visa is specific to Mount Sinai and Postdoctoral Fellows may not engage in research activity elsewhere without making arrangements with International Personnel. Any Postdoctoral Fellow who works outside of Mount Sinai without the express permission of International Personnel is subject to J-1 visa revocation. If a Postdoctoral Fellow is changing departments or participating in research activity overseas for an extended amount of time, International Personnel must be notified.

If a Postdoctoral Fellow is transferring to another program at another institution, notify International Personnel as soon as possible to help initiate J-1 visa transfer.

If appearing at a United States consulate for visa issuance, Postdoctoral Fellows must contact International Personnel for a consular package at least one month prior to international travel. Postdoctoral Fellows must obtain travel validation on their Form DS-2019 prior to departing the United States and provide International Personnel a copy of their new visa and Form I-94 Arrival/Departure card upon re-entry to the United States. In the event the US consulate delays a Postdoctoral Fellow’s visa issuance, the Postdoctoral Fellow must notify International Personnel immediately. International Personnel will work closely with the Department of State and other relevant government agencies to resolve visa issuance delays. Postdoctoral Fellow must also notify their PI of the potential visa issuance delays prior to departing the United States and make proper arrangements so as not to disturb research activity. If the Postdoctoral Fellow has exhausted any available PTO time during visa issuance delay in their home country, the Postdoctoral Fellow will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence unless research arrangements can be made overseas.

7. As a foreign national, will I need to pay taxes?
Postdoctoral Fellows will be subject to tax treaty analysis as determined by Windstar Tax Navigator software. International Personnel must abide by federal regulations and cannot make exceptions to the application of tax treaties.

8.  What childcare options are offered?
Imagine Early Learning Center (also called the Louis Green and Evelyn Green Davis Child Care Center) provides a safe and interactive environment for learning and play for infant, toddler and pre-K children of Postdoctoral Fellows at Mount Sinai. If you are interested in placing your children here, contact the director as soon as possible as the Center is in high demand. (212) 410-2077. www.imagineelc.com.

Mount Sinai also has a Child Care Information and Referral Service run by the Employee Assistance Program at (212) 241-8937.

Dependent care assistance: A Dependent Care Reimbursement Account also permits you to deduct pre-tax dollars from your paycheck to pay for childcare or care for a disabled spouse or parent. For more information, contact Mount Sinai Benefits Center, (866) 414-8455.