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General Information

The U.S. immigration system classifies persons inside the U.S. as citizens or aliens. Aliens are divided into two categories, immigrants and nonimmigrants. Immigrants are permanent residents/green card holders. Nonimmigrants are persons with temporary authorization to be legally present in the United States. The authorization is linked to the individual's purpose for being in the U.S. and is correctly referred to as a "nonimmigrant status".

The term visa is often used somewhat incorrectly. A visa is a stamp placed in an alien's passport by a U.S. Consul abroad that allows application for entry to the U.S. The visa must match the nonimmigrant status. A visa stamp may be expired after entry to the U.S., however the underlying nonimmigrant status must remain valid at all times. Nonimmigrant status is reflected on the I-94 card (departure record). Nonimmigrant status can be changed inside the U.S. upon approval from U.S. Immigration. A new I-94 card will be issued as part of the approval notice. The visa stamp in the alien's passport will not change until they visit a U.S. Consul abroad and apply for an entry visa to return to the U.S.

Nonimmigrant Status: The two most common nonimmigrant statuses used at NDSU for faculty and scholars are H-1B "Specialty Worker" and J-1 "Exchange Visitor." Our visa reference chart contains a list of factors to consider when proposing to hire or host an international professor or researcher.

Immigrant Status (Green Card):  A green card allows an international person to stay indefinitely in the U.S. After five years as an immigrant (green card holder) based on employment, an immigrant may apply for U.S. citizenship. Permanent immigrant/green card status based on employment at NDSU is obtained by working closely with the Assistant Director of Faculty Immigration upon authorization by the hiring department. There is a unique route to an employment based green card designed specifically for university teachers. This is the preferred method used by NDSU for obtaining a green card on behalf of teaching faculty whenever the situation permits use of this option. However there are time limits related to the filing of this type of employment based immigrant petition and the position must have been advertised ON PAPER in a national journal. At NDSU the process for obtaining this type of green card must be initiated within 15 months of the date of the offer letter. Other options used by NDSU when sponsoring employment based permanent immigrant status are determined on an individual case basis.


Contact Information

Deborah Maertens
Assistant Director of Faculty Immigration
Phone: (701) 231-7895
Fax: (701) 231-1014

Office of International Programs
Memorial Union 116
Dept 2040 - P.O. Box 6050,  Fargo, ND 58108   U.S.A.
Phone: +1.701.231.7895 Fax: +1.701.231.1014

Useful links

Visa reference chart -  H-1B, J-1, F-1 student on OPT, and TN visas.

VSVR Checklist

VSVR Request Form


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Office of International Student and Study Abroad Services
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7895 - Fax: +1 (701) 231-1014
Campus address: Memorial Union 116
Physical/delivery address: 1401 Administration Ave / Memorial Union 116, Fargo, ND  58102
Page manager: International Student and Study Abroad Services

Last Updated: Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:19:32 AM