Immigration Basics

VISA TYPES AND IMMIGRATION BASICS -

            This guide is intended to provide a quick summary of  details about different visa types present on the UAH campus. Please refer to an advisor in the International Student and Scholar Office  (ISSO) visahelp@uah.edu 824-2748 or  6078 so we can evaluate fully the situation and provide necessary and accurate  information.

F-1 student:

  • Primary  purpose is to be a fulltime degree seeking student
  • Full-time  degree/academic objective (academic admission is first step in the process for  F-1 student)
  • F-1  must show personal/sponsor finances which can include assistantship or  scholarship offer
  • I-20  is the immigration document issued by UAH to enter U.S.
  • Must  document non-immigrant intent to U.S. Consulate to obtain F visa (intent to  reside permanently abroad)
  • Mandatory  insurance for all F-1 students (must purchase the UAH policy)
  • Must  pay $50 International Student Fee (ISF) each semester they are a student at UAH
  • Can  work part-time (20hrs or less) on campus during the academic year (fall  and spring) & MAY be eligible to  work full-time (over 20 hrs) on campus during the vacation semester,  max. 32 hrs. as required by UAH
  • On  campus work requires an international student advisor’s signature on campus  employment forms while still a UAH student; after completion of studies the  student will need OPT permission to work
  • May  be eligible to apply for special work authorization from immigration to work  off campus (OPT and CPT)

J-1 Student:

  • Primary  purpose is to participate in a U.S.  government, home government, or exchange organization funded exchange program  (academic admission or exchange agreement basis for issuance is  indicated on the DS-2019)
  • Academic  degree or non-degree objective
  • Majority  of funding must come from non-personal source (program sponsor or exchange  organization)
  • DS-2019  is the immigration document issued by UAH or their program sponsor to enter the  U.S.
  • Must  document non-immigrant intent to U.S. Consular officer to obtain J visa
  • Student  may be subject to 212(e); 2 year home residency requirement either as a result  of the source of their funding (US or home government funding) or as a result  of the Department of State Skills list
  • US  Department of State requires insurance for all J Exchange Visitors (UAH policy  or one required by sponsor)
  • If  UAH is their sponsor they are eligible to work on campus with the same  considerations as an F-1 student

F2 Student Dependent:  (Spouse or child of F-1 student)

  • Admitted  to the U.S.  to be the dependent of an F-1 student
  • The  status of the F-2 is dependent on the primary F-1 student’s status
  • Cannot study or work while in F-2 status
  • Children  of F-1 can only remain in dependent status while under 21 years old and can  study in K-12 education
  • Can  apply for a change of status to F-1 or obtain a new I-20 an travel to get an  F-1 visa

J-2 Student  Dependent:

  • Can  be admitted to be a student (full-time or as a part-time student with a degree  or non-degree objective)
  • Cannot  work in the U.S. unless they have applied for and been given work authorization from  immigration
  • Status  is dependent on the primary J1 record
  • Dependents  required by US Department of State to have insurance throughout the entire  exchange period
  • Children  of J1 can only remain in dependent status while under 21 years old and can  study

B1/B2:

  • Tourist,  business, or pleasure visa
  • Cannot  enroll in classes at UAH while in the US;
  • Cannot  work while in the U.S.,  They may be eligible to be reimbursed expenses or paid for  occasional lectures if coordinated with ISSO and other campus offices prior to  arrival)
  • Have  a limit to the period of stay in the U.S. the expiration date is  indicated on the I-94 card
  • J-1 Scholar:
  • Primary purpose is to be a  researcher/scholar, professor or specialist (category indicated on the DS-2019)
  • Immigration  document issued by UAH is a DS-2019 (notation is different than for a J1  student)
  • Primary  objective can be a combination of research, lab, teaching, and taking classes  (non-degree)
  • Scholar/researcher  may be subject to 212(e); 2 year home residency requirement either as a result  of the source of their funding (US or home government funding) or due to the  Department of State Skills list
  • J-1  scholars with 2 year home residency cannot change/re-enter the U.S.  in any immigrant visa category (H1B, Permanent Resident, etc…) unless they are  given a waiver of 2 year requirement from the Department of State
  • US  Department of State requires scholar be insured with established minimum  standards while in the U.S.
  • Scholar  category is NOT a substitute for a full-time permanent position in the  University. Full-time permanent employees (tenure track) must be issued an H1B  to work at UAH
  • J-2 Scholar  Dependent:
  • The  status of the J2 is dependent on the primary J1 scholar’s status
  • Can  be admitted to study (full-time or as a part-time student with a degree or  non-degree objective)
  • Can  work in the U.S.  once they have applied for and are given work authorization from immigration
  • Dependents  required by US Department of State to have insurance throughout exchange period
  • Children  of J-1 can only remain in dependent status while under 21 years old

H1B Employee:

  • Employment  sponsored visa category to allow for more permanent employment of faculty,  researchers, & staff
  • Position  must be considered a “specialty occupation” and employee must have minimum of  Bachelors degree
  • Employee  can only work under the conditions included in the immigration petition for the  company listed on the H1B approval document (I-797)
  • Can  be admitted to study part-time while in H1B status as long as there is  continued employment with sponsor
  • Maximum  6 years for an employee on an H1B visa- issued in maximum 3 year periods
  • Period  of the H1B status is based on the contract/funding that is in place at the time  the petition is filed

H4 Dependent:

  • The  status of the H4 is dependent on the primary H1B employee’s status
  • Can  study (full-time with a degree objective or as a part-time student with a  degree or non-degree objective)
  • Cannot  accept any form of work while in the U.S.
  • Children  of H1B can only remain in dependent status while under 21 years old
  • Have a limit of the period of stay in the U.S.  indicated on the I-94 card