Non-Immigrant Visa Classifications
Non-immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to remain in the U.S. for a temporary period of time. There are more than 40 non-immigrant U.S. visas; each visa type is used to enter the U.S. for a different purpose. Some visas authorize a period of temporary employment in the U.S., others permit foreign students to study, provide opportunities for international, educational exchange and allow foreign diplomats to serve their country's interests. The majority of foreign nationals enter the U.S. as tourists or for short-term business needs, rather than to "immigrate".
At UNH the most commonly seen non-immigrant visas are the F-1 Student Visa, the J-1 Exchange Visitor, the H-1B Temporary Worker, the TN for citizens of Canada or Mexico and the B-1 or B-2 for short-term visitors.
The F-1 visa is for full-time study in an academic program.
The F-1 permits students to be employed on campus or off campus under certain conditions. On-campus employment for F-1 students is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. During school breaks and vacation periods, F-1 students are permitted to work on-campus for up to 40 hours per week.
In order to participate in Practical Training programs (which can be used for postdoctoral appointments of one year or less) F-1 students must obtain employment authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). F-1 students may also be eligible for Curricular Practical Training with prior approval from the OISS.
J-1 Exchange Visitors may be students, visiting professors, visiting researchers, specialists or short-term visiting scholars.
J-1 students are permitted to hold on-campus jobs for no more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session and up to 40 hours per week during breaks and vacation periods. All students in J-1 visa status must obtain prior approval from the OISS before accepting on-campus employment. J-1 students in undergraduate or master's degree programs may be eligible to participate in academic training programs of up to 18 months. Students on J-1 visas do not need to apply to the USCIS for work authorization, but must obtain written authorization from the OISS prior to accepting employment. Academic Training must be directly related to the field of study and must be recommended by the student's academic advisor.
J-1 students who have completed a Ph.D. may be entitled to 36 months of Academic Training following completion of their degree requirements. Academic training for Ph.D. students is granted in 18 month increments and does not require USCIS employment authorization. However, the employment must be directly related to the field of study, be recommended by the student's academic advisor and written approval must be obtained in advance from the OISS.
Visiting professors or researchers in J-1 visa status may be employed at UNH in temporary positions for a maximum of three years. J-1 visa holders are not permitted to be tenured or hold tenure-track positions.
The H-1B visa is used to employ foreign nationals who qualify as individuals engaged in "specialty occupations" or "professions" as defined by immigration regulations. Although the position being filled may be of a permanent nature, federal regulations state that H-1B workers must be in the position on a temporary basis.
The H-1B temporary worker may only be employed by the organization which filed the petition. H-1B approval is granted for a specific position and the employer must meet prevailing wage guidelines as established either by a union contract or determined by the State Department of Labor. Employment authorization is granted by the USCIS for a maximum of six years, usually in 3-year increments. Employment may not begin until approval has been obtained.
The TN (Trade NAFTA) Visa: The North American Free Trade Agreement established a TN visa classification which is restricted to citizens of Canada and Mexico.
It is limited to certain professions stipulated under NAFTA. TN status is granted in one year intervals and must be renewed on an annual basis. There is no limit to the number of years an individual may hold TN status, but the employment must be temporary in nature. TN visa classification is not to be used for tenured or tenure-track faculty or for permanent staff positions. Like the H-1B, the TN visa is employer and position specific.
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