Other Visa Categories
The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming to the United States for a short-term visit for business purposes and the B-2 is for short-term visits for pleasure or tourism. Citizens of a limited number of countries are permitted to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa stamp under the Visa Waiver Program. Neither is appropriate for students and scholars coming to Idaho State University.
Those entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program cannot change to another non-immigrant visa status and may remain in the United States for a maximum of three months. There are no exceptions to this regulation. There is no paid employment permitted on the B-1/B-2 visa or Visa Waiver Program, although it may be possible to receive reimbursement for expenses or an honorarium.
Since June 26 2005 individuals visiting the US using the “Visa Waiver Program” have been required to possess machine readable passports. Individuals who do not have passports that meet the current requirements, as of October 2006, may not enter the US using the Visa Waiver Program. These individuals must apply to a US embassy or consulate for a B Visitors Visa.
Students may obtain an F-1 visa stamp by visiting a U.S. embassy or consulate and presenting a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by Idaho State University. F-1 students are expected to attend the educational institution that issued the Form I-20. Any student transferring from another U.S. educational institution to Idaho State on the F-1 visa must consult his/her international student advisor at his/her educational institution for a transfer release before an I-20 can be issued by Idaho State University.
Length of stay in the United States: F-1 students will be granted permission to remain in the United States until the completion date noted on the Form I-20 plus 60 days provided they remain enrolled full-time and meet all other terms and conditions of their F-1 status. It may be possible to apply for I-20 extensions if necessary.
Accompanying family members:The F-2 visa stamp is issued to the spouse and/or children (under age 21) of an F-1 student. It may be obtained by presenting to a U.S. consulate the Forms I-20 issued to each family member and proof of adequate funding for the support of the accompanying family members. Proof of marriage for spouses and birth certificates for children are also required. No paid employment is permitted for F-2 visa holders under any circumstances.
It is critical that students in F visa status "maintain status" by complying with specific federal government regulations. Please review the SEVIS information here.
The H-1B temporary worker visa is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement." The hiring department must provide documentation to prove that the job requires a person with special qualifications and that the foreign scholar meets those qualifications. Further, the department is required to pay a salary to the foreign scholar. The individual’s pay check must come from the hiring entity (Idaho State University or an affiliated hospital). The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the individual qualifies for the H-1B classification. The H-1B visa is employer specific, which means that a USCIS approved petition that was submitted by the IPO authorizes the scholar to work only in the position specified in the petition. Further, a scholar who has an H-1B approval from another employer is not automatically eligible to work at Idaho State. An H-1B worker may work for more than one employer, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.
Six-Year Length Of Stay Allowed
H-1B visa holders are eligible for a total maximum stay of six years. The initial H-1B visa may cover a period up to three years. Since this six-year limit is strictly enforced, it is important to plan accordingly. The six-year limit includes time spent on the H-1B at another institution. It may be possible to begin another six-year period as an H-1B after the individual has spent at least one year outside the United States.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of an H-1B are eligible for H-4 status. H-4 visa holders are not permitted to work. If an H-4 dependent qualifies for specialty occupation in his or her own right, a change of status to H-1B is necessary before employment can begin. H-4 dependents may study in the United States, full- or part-time, for the duration of H-1B’s period of stay.
The O-1 temporary worker visa status is designated for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts or athletics and individuals of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries. The hiring department must provide documentation to prove that the individual’s ability has been demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim. The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether or not the individual qualifies for the O-1 classification.
O-1 visas are valid initially for up to 3 years. There is the possibility of additional extensions in one year increments to continue the same work.
To qualify as an individual of extraordinary ability the department must provide evidence of the applicant's having received a major internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize OR at least three of the following:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field.
- Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized experts in the field.
- Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media.
- Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant's work.
- Evidence of participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the field.
- Evidence in the form of 5 or 6 letters from prominent colleagues who can confirm the applicant's original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance to the field. The case is strengthened by letters from outside of the Idaho State community and outside the U.S.
- Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
- Evidence of commanding a high salary or other compensation for services. This category does not usually apply to academic positions.
The TN program is the immigration component of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which enables Mexican or Canadian citizens to be admitted to the United States to engage in "business activities at a professional level" in certain occupations, for one or more specific employers (provided that each employer applies for a separate TN visa). TN status may be granted for as long as the employment offer specifies, up to one year, and this status may be extended indefinitely in one-year increments. The TN category is similar to the H-1B except that it is also available to a non-academic professional at Idaho State. The following eligibility requirements have to be met:
- The profession has to be on the list of qualifying positions.
- The position requires the individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional.
- The individual possesses the requisite educational background and experience for that position.
The IPO staff can assist the Idaho State community in making the determination whether the TN visa is an appropriate one for the employee, but the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the individual qualifies for the TN classification.
The application procedure for TN status is not the same for Canadians and Mexicans. Mexican nationals seeking TN status must comply with a procedure that is similar to that for H-1B classification. IPO assists the departments with this process. Canadian nationals may obtain both initial status and the extension either through travel or through an application to the USCIS, filed by the IPO. For the additional information regarding TN status, please contact the IPO and review the NAFTA handbook.
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of a TN visa holder are eligible for TD status. Individuals in TD status are not permitted to work. If an individual in TD status is a Canadian citizen, he or she is exempt from the visa requirement.
Permanent Residency is the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. Often people refer to this benefit as having a "green card" as the evidence of having this status was once ownership of a green colored identification card issued by the immigration service.
There are numerous ways to pursue permanent residency. Some of the most commonly utilized routes include sponsorship by an employer, sponsorship by a qualifying family member, self petitioning procedures by which applicants prove national interest or exceptional ability, seeking asylum, and the diversity lottery. The University is able to provide employer sponsorship for faculty and high level researchers. We also recommend the following websites which contain very helpful information about permanent residency if you are interested in obtaining further information.