A basic understanding of U.S. immigration concepts and terms is critical for:
- University departments hosting international students, faculty and visiting researchers
- international students
- international faculty, researchers and visiting scholars
The U.S. has over 20 different nonimmigrant statuses, each with specific rules, restrictions, durations, and eligibility requirements. Not every classification can legally work or study in the U.S. These pages are intended to provide brief overviews of key immigration-related concepts.
Things to know about Nonimmigrant Classifications
- Who doesn't need a visa to enter the U.S.?
- Who can Study in the U.S.?
- Who can get honoraria payments?
- what about CUA faculty/researchers in non-immigrant statuses?
- Classifications eligible for employment at CUA (assuming CUA sponsored their status)
Things to know about applying for a nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S.
- Visa Application Process
- Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico
- Understanding the difference between a visa and legal U.S. immigration status
Things to know about Entering the United States
- How early can one arrive?
- What to Expect at the port of Entry
- What can I bring to the U.S.?
- Customs forms and completing the Form I-94
- Authorized Period of Stay, D/S
- Applying for a Change of Nonimmigrant Status
Things to know about maintaining legal nonimmigrant status in the U.S.
- Filing appropriate Tax Forms, even if no U.S. income is earned
- Reporting Address Changes within 10 days
- Grace Periods for F and J status
- Unauthorized Presence
- Laws governing where you live
- The affects of an arrest
- Things to know about bringing dependents, domestic partners, and extended family to the U.S.
- Who can study
- J-2 work permission
Things to know about traveling outside the U.S.
- Maintain valid passport
- Travel to Canada and Mexico
- Travel Signatures (F and J status holders)
- Applying for a visa to enter another country
- Recording your departure from the U.S. (handing in your Form I-94)
Things to know about permanent residency in the United States
- Three primary ways to obtain permanent residency
- Basic sponsorship process for permanent residency applications based on employment at CUA
- Step One: Establish Eligiblity - Decide which classification is most appropriate and assemble documentation to show individual qualifies for permanent residency classification sought. If necessary complete Department of Labor's Application for Alien Labor Certification process.
- Step Two: Seek Classification - Petition USCIS for the specific classification. (Must be approved before application for immigrant status can be processed.)
- Step Three: Apply to be an Immigrant - individual applies to become an immigrant either through Application for Adjustment of Status (if inside the US) or for immigrant visa interview at U.S. consulate outside the U.S.
- The shifting role of ISSS during the permanent residency sponsorship process.
Things to know after obtaining permanent residency
Things to know about paying foreign nationals legally in the United States
- Basis for Legal Work Authorization in the U.S.
- Employment vs. Volunteering
- Form I-9 - Employment Eligibility Verification
- Employer Sanctions
- Understanding the documents
- Constructive Knowledge
- Unauthorized Employment
Things to know about National Security Concerns
- Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- NSEERS: Special Registration
- Petition Information Management System (PIMS)
- Technology Alert List
- Do Not Fly List
- Removing Flags on your record