I have a postdoc fellowship in Europe that will end in several months and I am considering applying for a remote postdoc (my field is theoretical/computational and does not require any in-person work by default). I don't really know what are the formalities related to this kind of contracts.

I was thinking about such postdoc in the US. I only have a Russian passport but I had worked in the US before and I have an SSN and an active US bank account. Currently I don't have a valid US visa (and it would be probably difficult to get a new one for me). Is there a chance I might get a contract like that, at least theoretically? Or it does not even make sense to think about it?

UPD: the answer by @user2768 below suggests it is possible but depends on the willingness of the US institution to work with a company-proxy in my country of residence. Does anyone know how strong is this willingness in the actual COVID times? I.e. are there at least some examples of institutions that do something like that?

  • 1
    Stanford seems to allow it, at least currently.
    – Anyon
    Sep 8, 2020 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


You are a Russian, with a US social security number and a US bank account, but no current right to work in the US. (These details don't seem to help.) You are considering applying for a position in the US, with work being conducted remotely. You cannot be employed as a US employee, given that you have no right to work in the US.

You can be employed as a remote employee or contracted as a remote company. For the former, the employer would likely need to engage an intermediary to handle payments (unless they have operations in your country of residence). For the latter, you'd need to incorporate a company in your country of residence.

TL;DR: Yes, it is theoretically and practically possible, if the employer is willing to employ/contract you remotely. (I can't comment on the likelihood of an employer's willingness.)

  • Former option is the one I would consider, I guess. So basically it is "theoretically possible but unlikely that a regular US institution would want to bother with it, unless I had something really exceptional to offer".
    – demitau
    Sep 8, 2020 at 14:12
  • I thought that perhaps now in COVID times US institutions would routinely contact a remote company to hire foreign postdocs. But apparently you suggest that it is not really the case, at least not yet
    – demitau
    Sep 8, 2020 at 14:16
  • @demitau As I write, "it is theoretically and practically possible, if the employer is willing to employ/contract you remotely." I can't comment on whether particular institutes "would want to bother with it," I'm not "apparently...suggest[ing]" anything on that topic.
    – user2768
    Sep 8, 2020 at 14:20
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    @demitau - many US funding agencies do not allow funding foreign work, remote or otherwise. For example, most NSF grants only fund the US side of a collaboration - no US$ go overseas. (Yes, there are NSF grants to support US persons overseas, but I don't know of any to support non-US persons overseas.)
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 8, 2020 at 15:35
  • 1
    @JonCuster It's a bit different for NIH; there are still some restrictions, but NIH funds some foreign research. I don't know much about that process, though, and I believe it always has to be justified during the granting process, I don't think you could add someone after the fact. Covid times are a bit odd, though.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 8, 2020 at 17:37

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