These pages include information for F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents regarding immigration and employment. If you are in a different nonimmigrant visa status (such as H-1B, H-4, TN/TD, etcetera), you can also find helpful information in the "Other Visa Statuses" link. Topics include: immigration forms, bringing dependents, maintaining your status, new immigration regulations, employment options, and ways to maintain your status.
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA)
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is becoming stricter with all non-immigrants and they are becoming less forgiving of minor violations of status. This information is to inform you of the changes in immigration law that will (might) affect international students. If you have further questions after reading this, please come in and talk to one of the international student advisors.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton on September 30, 1996, has many provisions that may affect your plans to study, travel or visit the U.S. in the future.
An overstay is defined as whenever an individual "completes, concludes, terminates, ceases, or otherwise interrupts the activity, employment, course of study, or program participation" and "remains in the U.S. beyond the termination date " of the activity or program plus "any grace period" that may apply (60 days for F's; 30 days for J's).
The consequence of an overstay can be very harsh. One of the consequences is that the visa stamp in the passport is canceled and in order to get a new visa, individuals in F, J, and H status must return to their home country. After April 1, 1997, individuals who have overstayed and remain in the U.S. for a period of more than six months, but less than one year, who then depart the U.S. and seek readmission to the U.S., are not allowed to re-enter the U.S. for three years. Those who have unlawfully remained in the U.S. for more than one year will not be able to re-enter the U.S. for 10 years.