Join   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Frequently Asked Questions
Share |

<< Prev | Table of Contents | Next >>



Question

J-1

H1-B


1 What is the purpose of this visa?


Provides foreign nationals with exchange opportunities in research as well as access to cultural and general educational programs.


Is a professional work visa and specific to the employer that petitions for you.


2 Who is eligible?


Reserved for researchers, faculty and scholars, specialists and speakers, and students in exchange programs. All are in the United States on fixed terms. Researchers must be brought in for a specific purpose as defined by the sponsoring institution.


Reserved for specialty occupations (scholars and scientists) that require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor. Requires a doctorate or equivalent for postdocs.


3 What are the differences between these visa types?


Institutionally preferred status for postdocs. Two-year home residency requirement is imposed if home country, international organization, or U.S. government funds the research or your home country is registered in the Home Country Skills List and your area of specialization is on that list.


Often approved for J-1 postdocs who have exhausted the five-year limit. The H-1B status is typically reserved for employment purposes and not for academic exchange.

 

 


4 What is the maximum length of time for a visit?


Up to five years.

 


Up to six years. In certain circumstances the visa status may be further extended.


5 What are the requirements for obtaining the visa stamp?


The issuance of a Form DS-2019 confirms academic and financial screening by the sponsoring institution.

 


Employer must demonstrate the following:

-employer-employee relationship;

-position applied for is professional;

-visitor holds minimum of bachelor's degree and, for postdocs, a doctorate or its equivalent and/or special skills;

-salary paid is at prevailing wage or higher;

-benefits are commensurate with other similar positions;

-initial intent to hire is temporary; and

-will pay for return transportation to home country if employer terminates job.


6 Is there a cap on how many visas are issued?


No.

 


Yes. The quota for the H-1B visa is 65,000 annually. Furthermore, there is an additional 20,000 if you possess a U.S. master's or doctoral degree. The federal year runs from October 1 through September 30.


7 Are certain employers exempt from an H-1B visa cap?

Not applicable.


Employees of institutions of higher education and affiliated or related nonprofit entities are exempt from the H-1B annual quota. In addition, employees of nonprofit research organizations are also exempt from the quota.

SPECIAL NOTE: 20,000 additional H-1B visas will be available annually for those who have earned at least a master's degree from a U.S. academic institution.


8 Can you extend a visit?

 


Yes, but the total stay cannot exceed five years for a J-1 research scholar.

J-1 visa stamps are usually issued for the length of the Form DS-2019, except in cases where foreign policy between two countries has defined a particular length of visa issuance.


Yes, but the total stay cannot exceed six years, except in rare instances.

 


9 I entered the United States as a J-1 exchange student and would like to continue as a postdoc. Will my time on the J-1 visa as an exchange student affect my time on a J-1 visa as a postdoc?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


10 Although my Form DS-2019 (certificate of eligibility) has been extended for another 12 months, the J-1 visa stamp in my passport has expired. Am I required to obtain a new visa stamp in my passport to be in compliance with USCIS regulations?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


11 What must I do to re-enter the United States if my J-1 visa stamp has expired but my Form DS-2019 is still valid?


Available to NPA members

 


Available to NPA members


12 Where can I find out about the standard visa procedures at each U.S. consulate or embassy?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


13 Is it possible to renew my visa stamp in my passport without leaving the United States?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


14 Should the visa stamp in my passport always remain current?


Available to NPA members

Available to NPA members

15 Can the two-year home residency requirement be waived?


Waiver of the two-year home residency requirement depends on how one became subject to the requirement; home country and/or funding agency can influence decision-making.


Not applicable

 

 


16 Are there any travel restrictions associated with these types of immigration status?


Check with your sponsoring institution and/or an immigration attorney.


Check with your institution/employer and/or an immigration attorney.


17 What is the cost to secure this immigration status?


The Department of Homeland Security charges $180 SEVIS fee. Many institutions charge a handling fee (approximately $200-$500) for J-1 services fee.

 


The USCIS charges a filing fee of $325 for the processing of the initial I-129 petition plus $500 for a police fee. H1B extensions for same employer are exempt from $500 of this fee. Additionally, many institutions charge a handling fee to submit the necessary paperwork to USCIS rather than commissioning an attorney to process and submit the documents to USCIS.

18 Who pays for the processing of the petition or immigration document for this status?


The postdoc or the institution.


The employer/institution.


19 Who files the request for the immigration status?


The institution issues the DS-2019 form.


The employer/institution files the H-1B petition.


20 How long does it take to process a visa application to enter the United States?

 


Plan ahead!

The institution can take from two weeks to several months to issue the Form DS-2019. The U.S. embassy/consulate-which actually issues the visa-can take from a few days to many months to complete the process.


Plan ahead!

The employer/institution can take from days to weeks to process internal DOL and USCIS paperwork for the petition; USCIS can take up to another 3-4 months to review the petition. The U.S. embassy/consulate can take from days to months to issue the visa stamp.


21 Can the procedure be expedited?

 


No.

 

 

 


Yes. The petition can be expedited by adding $1,225 to the initial $825 filing fee. This $1,225 is called the "premium processing fee," and can take USCIS up to 15 business days to adjudicate the petition. However, the issuance of the visa stamp at the consulate cannot be expedited..


22 Who pays for the premium processing fee?


Not applicable.


The employer/institution or employee.


23 Can I be employed?


Yes. 

Yes.


24 Is it possible to change employers while in this visa status? If so, what do I have to?


Available to NPA members

 


Available to NPA members

25 Do I need USCIS authorization prior to working with the new, proposed employer?

Available to NPA members

Available to NPA members

26 Regarding employment, what does the term “employer-specific” mean?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


27 Is there a limit to the number of times one can use this status?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members

28 What are the consequences of letting your immigration status lapse?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


29 Can you work while you are waiting for a change in visa category?


Available to NPA members

Available to NPA members
30 What kind of status do I need for family members?

J-2 for legal spouse and unmarried children under 21.


H-4 for legal spouse and unmarried children under 21.

31 Are family members eligible to work on/off campus?

Family members on J-2 visas may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form I-765 from USCIS for all types of employment. However, their earnings cannot substitute for the support of the J-1 visa holder. Cost for the EAD is paid by the postdoc.

No.

 

 

 

 


32 Am I required to report to SEVIS?

 


The J-1 program sponsor is responsible for reporting you directly into the SEVIS system. Check with your international office immediately upon arrival in the United States so that you may report your residential address.

No.

 

 

 


33 If I change my residential address, am I required to report this information? If so, to whom should I report this?

 


Yes. Report your residential address to the J-1 program sponsor or the institution's international office within 10 days of your move.

Scholars subject to “Special Registration” must complete an AR-11 form within 10 days. This form may be completed at http://uscis.gov. The form also provides the mailing address. Please note that you must submit a separate form for each family member, including children.


You are responsible for notifying USCIS of any residential address changes within 10 days. The form used to notify USCIS of an address change is the AR-11. This form may be completed at http://uscis.gov. The form also provides the mailing address. Please note that you must submit a separate form for each family member, including children.

 

 


34 Can family members travel without the postdoc?

 


Yes. Family may only enter after the J-1 (postdoc) has entered the United States. Spouse and minor children may subsequently be admitted into the United States in J-2 classifications. Each family member has a SEVIS DS-2019 form issued in his/her own name by the postdoc's sponsoring organization.

When traveling it is recommended that all family members carry copies of birth and marriage certificates (with translation, if not in English) to more easily demonstrate spouse and children relationships.


Yes. Family may only enter after the H1-B (postdoc) has entered the United States. Family members will need H-4 visas and verification that the H-1B principal is already in the United States working for the approved employer.

When traveling it is recommended that all family members carry copies of birth and marriage certificates (with translation, if not in English) to more easily demonstrate spouse and children relationships.


35 Where do you apply for dependent visas?


U.S. embassy/consulate (unless Canadian citizen).


U.S. embassy/consulate (unless Canadian citizen).


36 If I apply for a visa while in Canada or Mexico, can I re-enter using another visa status?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


37 I would like to travel to Canada or Mexico. My passport has an expired visa stamp but my other USCIS documents have been revalidated and will be current when traveling. Can I re-enter the United States without getting a new visa stamp in my passport?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


38 How long can I stay in Canada or Mexico with an expired visa stamp but revalidated USCIS documents?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


39 What other documentation should I take to Canada or Mexico so that there will be no problem when I re-enter the United States?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


40 What do I need to travel to Canada?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


41 What is the cost of dependent visas?


Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


42 If a postdoc changes immigration status, how does it affect family members?

Available to NPA members


Available to NPA members


43 Are visa holders subject to federal taxes?


Depends on tax treaty between home country and U.S. governments. Most J-1 visa holders are considered residents of the United States for tax purposes if they meet the substantial presence test.


Depends on tax treaty between home country and U.S. governments. Most H-1B visa holders are required to pay federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes.


44 What do I need in order to travel to Mexico?


Available to NPA members

Available to NPA members






FOR CANADIAN AND MEXICAN CITIZENS


Question

Answer


45 What is a TN visa?


The TN (Trade NAFTA, Trade North American Free Trade Agreement) status is issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens who will be employed in a profession that is listed on the United States, Canada or Mexico Free Trade Agreements. While Mexican citizens must first apply at a U.S. embassy/consulate for a TN visa stamp, Canadian citizens are visa exempt and need only present themselves at the United States port of entry. This status is granted in up to three-year increments.

Spouses and children of TN visa holders are granted TD visa status. The TD status prohibits employment.


46 If qualified for both TN and J-1 visas, which is the preferred visa for a postdoc?


Institutions make the decision about whether or not the TN is appropriate for employment.

A postdoc who wishes to avoid the two-year home residency requirement must determine if accepting the J-1 visa will subject him/her to this requirement.

If a postdoc wishes not to be subject to the two-year home residency requirement as required on the J-1 visa, it is advised that the postdoc enter the United States with a TN visa instead.

Consult with your institution's international office prior to entering the United States.


47 Is the process for obtaining a TN visa different for Canadian and Mexican citizens?


While Mexican citizens must first apply at a U.S. consulate for a TN visa stamp, Canadian citizens are visa exempt and need only present themselves at the U.S. port of entry for adjudication of the TN application.


Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal