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VISA Reference Chart

Nonimmigrant Visa Status

Appropriate Uses




H-1B Specialty Occupation



The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation.

Specialty occupations such as: 
tenure-track faculty, permanent research positions, permanent lecturers, and other specialized occupations

Hiring Department works with Office of International Programs to petition the Depts. of Labor (DoL) and Homeland Security (DHS) for work authorization. 
Immigration document is issued by DHS. If international person is outside U.S., an entry visa must be obtained at a U.S. Consulate abroad.

Six-year time limit.

Process of obtaining DoL and DHS approval can take three to four months. $1,225 “Premium Processing” option guarantees a 15-day response from DHS on an H-1B petition. 
Filing fee of $325 + additional $500 “fraud fee” for new employees. 
Salary must meet prevailing wage for this region

H-4 dependents can NOT work in U.S.

-DoL Form ETA9035E & DHS Form I-129 prepared by OIP; signed by hiring official.
-Actual Wage Determination Worksheet
-Sample Letter to DHS
-Filing Fee Voucher
-Fraud Prevention Voucher
-Memo attached to vouchers

-Candidate Data Form
-Required H-1B Documentation


J-1 Exchange

The purpose of the exchange visitor status is to  increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.


Different categories exist within J visa status. Each category has its own regulations.

Used for positions of a temporary nature, e.g. grant-funded research positions, visiting professors, hosting visiting scientists, and short-term scholars.

Department works with Office of International Programs (OIP). OIP issues immigration documents (Form DS 2019) after required information has been provided. 

Process takes about six weeks minimum, depending on country. 

Entry visa often required as person is usually outside U.S.

Five-year time limit.

Some international persons subject to Rule 212(e), the “two year home country physical presence requirement” after completion of program.
24 month bar to repeat participation as a J Research Scholar.


J-2 dependents CAN work with authorization.

-Faculty Host Form

-VSVR Checklist

-VSVR Request Form

-J-1 Scholar Information

-J-2 Work Authorization

-J-1 Extension Form


F-1 International Student with Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International students in F-1 nonimmigrant status are eligible for optional practical training (OPT) to work for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study.

Typically used by international post doctorate/post graduate students for initial employment after degree program.

Upon completion of study the student applies for one year of work authorization with the assistance of an international student advisor at their degree-granting institution.


Permission is issued by DHS in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (known as an EAD card).

University employment on OPT is limited to one year. 

Time is needed to change to H-1B status before OPT work permission expires Therefore, the end date on the EAD card is crucial.


F-2 dependents can NOT work.

Provide OIP evidence of EAD card. Contact OIP 6 months in advance of EAD expiration.

-Candidate Data Form


The TN is a non-immigrant status used by Canadian or Mexican citizens to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Used for Canadian and Mexican citizens in specific professional positions. 

Teaching and research positions qualify. Other positions may not qualify.

After the position has been determined to be eligible for TN, Canadian citizens apply for TN status at the port of entry to the U.S. 
Mexican citizens must apply for visa at U.S. Consul.

Three-year time limit with unlimited extensions.

TN available to Canadian and Mexican citizens only. 
Does not apply to Canadian landed immigrants. 

TD dependents can NOT work in the U.S. Non-Canadian TD dependents must apply for entry visas at a U.S. Consul.

-TN Information Sheet
-TN Employment Letter


-TN Information Sheet


For more information, please contact:

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

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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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