Are you interested in studying in the United States? Since 1993, the immigration attorneys at NPZ Law Group, have helped individuals apply for an academic visa and begin their studies. We have a firm understanding of the variety of temporary visas available to students and green card options available to academics with strong qualifications. We can discuss all of the options with you, including the F visa, J visa, H-1B visa and EB-1 and EB-2 green cards.
Academic Visa Lawyers New Jersey
Our law firm has a reputation for legal excellence and an unsurpassed level of client service. We have a solid understanding of the paths available to students and other academics interested in studying, teaching, researching or performing other academic tasks in the U.S.
While some people come in on a B visa and change their status to an F or J while they are here, the process can be difficult. At NPZ Law Group, we recommend that students get the documents they need directly from their international study officer and apply for an F or J visa.
F Visa – International Student
A bona fide student who would like to study abroad at an established college, university, seminary, conservatory, high school, elementary school or other academic institution in the U.S. can apply for an F visa. Interested students must fill out form I-20 and be accepted to a school in the United States. If they do not decide upon a school, they may apply for a B-2 visa for “prospective students” and change their status to F-1 while in the United States.
J Visa – Exchange Visitor Program
A J nonimmigrant is a bona fide student, teacher/professor, research assistant or specialist who comes to the United States temporarily to participate in an exchange program to teach, study, observe, conduct research or do similar tasks. J visa holders are subject to a two-year foreign residency requirement, which they may be able to waive, depending on their circumstances.
H-1B Visa for Academics
Usually used for specialty occupation workers, the H1-B visa is also available to international students. Furthermore, while only 65,000 H-1B work visas are issued each year, international student visas do not count toward that cap.
Green Card Options for Academics
Highly skilled academics such as researchers, scientists, engineers and doctors may qualify for a pre-certified green card classification, including the following:
- EB-1(a) – Extraordinary Ability:If you are at the top of your academic, artistic, scientific, business or athletic field, and you intend to continue working in that field, you may apply for an EB-1(a) visa/green card.
- EB-1(b) – Outstanding Professors or Researchers:When someone has at least three years of training or teaching experience and has been internationally recognized for their work, they can apply for an EB-1(b) visa/green card.
- EB-2(b) – National Interest Waivers:If you can establish that permanent residence is in the national interest — it improves the U.S. economy, educational or training programs, healthcare, environment, etc. — you may waive your labor certification and sponsorship requirements.
A Maintaining Status Guide from SEVP
While studying in the United States, it is important that international students maintain their F or M student status. A student’s status relates to their purpose or intent for coming to the United States. Use this special edition message to find resources and reminders on what students and designated school officials (DSOs) should do to ensure students maintain their status and avoid becoming an overstay.
Duration of Status
When a student arrives at a U.S. port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will provide them with an admission stamp that will list the date by which they must depart the United States. Duration of Status (D/S) or the “Admit Until” date on the Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” is the student’s authorized length of stay, so long as they maintain their student status. Visit theWhat is My Duration of Statusblog for more information on duration of status.
While studying in the United States, international students must maintain their F or M status by fulfilling the purpose of their nonimmigrant visa and following the regulations associated with that purpose. Visit theMaintaining Status pageon Study in the States to learn about actions students must take to properly maintain their status.
F-1 students have 60 days and M-1 students have 30 days after the program or practical training end date on theirForm I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,”to leave the United States. Failure to depart within this grace period could adversely impact the student’s ability to re-enter the United States under a different nonimmigrant or immigrant classification. Read theGrace Periodblog on Study in the States for more information about students’ options during their grace period.
F-1 students are eligible to take anannual vacationafter completing one academic year at an SEVP-certified school, and are then eligible for annual vacation once every subsequent year. Students who plan to leave the United States for vacation should have the proper documentation before leaving the country and work with their DSO to ensure that their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record is in “Active” status. For more information on annual vacation, read the latestWhat is Annual Vacationblog on Study in the States.
Stay in Contact
Students should first contact their DSO if they have any questions regarding the legal requirements of their stay in the United States. DSOs can assist in answering students’ questions or aid them in finding someone who can help.