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TRAINS, PLANES, AND VISAS Visa Information for International Postdocs
PRESENTER Elizabeth J. Bedient, J. D. International Scholar Advisor Office of International Affairs International Student and Scholar Services University of Colorado Denver P. O. Box 173364, Campus Box 185 Denver, Colorado 80217 303 -315 -2242 phone; 303 -315 -2246 fax Betsy. [email protected] edu
SOME USEFUL TERMS • • Visa and visa status Passport Nonimmigrant visa Immigrant/Permanent Resident visa (aka “green card”) • Citizen
EMPLOYMENT VISA OPTIONS • J-1 (Exchange Visitor--various categories) § H-1 B (Specialty Occupation) § TN (Treaty NAFTA: Canadian, Mexican, Singaporean, & Chilean citizen professionals) § § E-3 (Australian Professionals) B/WT/B (Visitors for Business or Pleasure) O-1 (Workers of Extraordinary Ability) F-1 Optional or Curricular Practical Training/J-1 Academic Training (Students) § Permanent Residence (Employment-based)
J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR
J-1 Categories Certain organizations, including most research universities, are authorized by the U. S. State Department to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors in specific categories, for example: § § § Professors (3 weeks to 5 years) Research Scholars (3 weeks to 5 years) Short-Term Scholars (1 day to 6 months) Specialists (12 months) Trainees/Interns (12 to 18 months) College/university students (for the duration of studies)
Third-Party J-1 Categories § Fulbright scholars and students § Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for Alien Physicians § Trainee/intern “umbrella” programs, such as AIPT, AIESEC, AILF
J Funding Requirements Minimum financial amounts are set by the sponsor based on cost of living. Funding sources can be one or more of the following: § § Personal Sponsoring institution Other (i. e. home institution) Government
Insurance Requirements Every J visa holder must have particular types of insurance in specified amounts from companies with certain ratings. § Health insurance. § Repatriation of remains. § Emergency evacuation insurance. (latter two not included in University employee insurance policy; must be purchased separately)
FEES • Institutions must pay fee to US Department of State to have Exchange Visitor Program. • Once the program in place, no separate fee by sponsor to USDOS for each J visitor. • Private companies with trainee/intern programs usually charge a fee.
TWO-YEAR FOREIGN RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT Certain J visa holders are required to return to home country for 2 -years before seeking H, L, or immigrant visa, or must get waiver: – Funded directly by U. S. government. – Funded by home government. – Has skill that home government wants (“skills list” published by USDOS) – In US for graduate medical education
Overview of H-1 B § Temporary nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations requiring at least baccalaureate degree in specific field. § Employee must have required degree. § Employer must pay prevailing wage. § Limited to six years, increments of 3 years. § Parties involved: State and US Departments of Labor, employee, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
USCIS Required Filing Fees H-1 B (Form I-129) $320 H-1 B Anti-Fraud Fee (Form I-129) * $500 H-1 B Training Fee, for some employers $750/$1, 500 * H-4 dependent extension (Form I-539) Premium Processing (Form I-907) $300 $1, 000 * Not required for extensions or amendments. Filing fees should be paid by employer to prevent reducing salary.
Additional Financial Consideration If employee is terminated prior to end of requested H-1 B status, employer must pay for plane ticket to employee’s home country. Includes termination for cause.
H-1 B Amendments New petition and filing required under certain circumstances: § § § Job duties change significantly. Job title change. Change in pay: Significant increase or decrease. Change from part-time to full-time. Change in job location.
SOME H-1 B EMPLOYERS CAPSUBJECT • H-1 Bs limited to 65, 000/year + 20, 000/year with US master’s degree. • Cap for next fiscal year still available as of today. • Cap-exempt employers include universities, non-profit institutions of research, and some non-profits with affiliations to universities.
Other Nonimmigrant Categories for Employees TN (Treaty NAFTA: Canadians, Mexicans, Singaporean, & Chilean citizen professionals, not physicians practicing medicine) E-3 (Australian professionals, including physicians) O-1 (Workers of Extraordinary Ability including physicians practicing medicine)) F-1 Optional or Curricular Practical Training/ J 1 Academic Training (international students who studied in U. S. )
TN: Treaty NAFTA • Available to citizens of Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Chile in certain professions listed in the treaty. • TN coming directly from home country pays $50 treaty fee at border or US consulate; no other fees required. • TN must be employee of U. S. entity. • Renewable indefinitely, can be issued up to 3 years at a time)
E-3: Australian Professionals • Available to Australian professionals coming to work in profession, similar to H-1 B specialty occupation. • Must pay prevailing wage and file LCA (Labor Condition Application). • For initial application, only state and USDOL involved, before applying for visa. • No other government fees, unless extension needed in the US.
O-1: Temporary Workers of Extraordinary Ability • For those employees who have risen to top of their field (5 – 10 %). • Requires I-129 petition to USCIS • Requires peer group opinion plus two out of 7 categories of evidence. • Often used when H-1 B not or no longer available. • No limit on length of time in O-1 status. • Filing fee $320 for I-129.
B 1/WB Visitors for Business Appropriate for visitor with primary residence abroad, who will be engaged in certain activities for a short period (3 -6 months): § Consulting with business associates § Observing professional activities § Participating in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars § Undertaking independent research § Engaging in medical clerkships (externships)
B 1/WB: Limitations B-1/WB visitors NOT permitted to be employed by U. S. employer, but can be reimbursed for expenses in most cases. B-1/WB visitors ARE allowed to receive academic honoraria, in addition to expenses if: § Activity no more than 9 days at 1 institution, and § Visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than 5 institutions in the previous 6 -month period.
CHOOSING AMONG NONIMMIGRANT CATEGORIES • What will the application cost and who must pay? • How quickly can the paperwork be handled? • Is the activity appropriate for the visa category? • How long will the nonimmigrant category last? • Is the employee limited in any respect by the category chosen?
PATHWAYS TO PERMANENT RESIDENCE § Employment-based: 5 preference categories § Three relevant to most educational institutions or scientific companies § 1 st preference: outstanding professors or researchers, extraordinary ability intracompany transferees § 2 nd preference: professionals with MS or higher or someone with exceptional ability § 3 rd preference: professionals with BS, skilled workers (2 years experience), other workers
Employment-Based Immigration • Most employer-specific. • Self-petitions include: – EB 1 extraordinary ability. – EB 2 professional with national interest waiver. – EB 5 Immigrant investor ($1 mill+10 jobs)
LABOR CERTIFICATION • Application to US Department of Labor to prove that no other qualified worker available (or no more qualified worker for college teaching faculty) • Required for third preference category as prerequisite; also for second preference unless waiver in the national interest approved.
IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY • Approximately 1, 000 immigrants permitted per year. • Allocated per country and per category. • Employment-based immigrants limited to 140, 000/year. • Some categories backlogged with long waiting list, for example: – India and China EB 2 nd preference, all countries EB 3 rd preference, all family-based preferences. See Visa Bulletin www. travel. state. gov
ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL OFFICE AT UC DENVER § Discuss & assist employing unit and potential employee to determine which nonimmigrant category is appropriate both for department and employee. §Discuss & assist employing unit and employee where permanent residence through employment at University is sought.
ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL OFFICE AT UC DENVER (Cont) • Complete the necessary immigration forms on behalf of the institution. • Advise employees about employee forms as necessary. • Send out reminders for immigration paperwork and other communications regarding immigration topics.
ROLE OF IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY • Similar to role of International Office outside the University. • University applications/petitions limited to approved outside immigration attorneys. • Outside immigration attorneys currently used for regular labor certification, difficult OPR petitions, complex J waivers. • Assistance to University employees for individual’s own petitions/applications.