Over the last few years, the process for obtaining an H-1B "specialty occupation" visa has become more challenging and less certain. The Trump administration has engaged in several policies that have reduced or eliminated eligibility for H-1Bs. Now, two judges have invalidated those policies.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows qualified people to live and work in the U.S. for a period of three years. The visa can usually be renewed for an additional three years, too, for a total of six years. Moreover, holders of H-1B visas can be accompanied by a spouse and minor children.
The Trump administration's travel ban against passport holders from seven countries is causing problems for some travelers to the U.S. Most recently, it prevented invited speakers from attending this year's Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.
You may have heard recently about a Palestinian student who was denied entry to the U.S. when he came to join his freshman class at Harvard. It wasn't for something he had done. Customs officials scanned his phone and objected to certain social media postings the student's friends had made. The man's dreams of a Harvard education were dashed because his friends made objectionable comments.
The optional practical training (OPT) program allows international students to remain in the U.S. for practical training that is directly related to their area of study. It is available to F-1 and M-1 visa holders for up to 12 months, with some extensions available. F-1 visa holders in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, for example, can apply for a 24-month extension.
When a foreign graduate of a U.S. college or university applies for a job, it is often through the H-1B visa program. For the most part, these visas allow high-skilled workers to work in the U.S. for a three-year period in specialty occupations where U.S. workers are scarce. (H-1Bs are also available for certain other reasons.)
The University of Farmington seemed like any American university. Its website said it offered both online and traditional instruction with a focus on working students. It claimed to be nationally accredited. Happy students were shown studying and sharing coffee. There was nothing suspicious about it from afar.
If you’re visiting the United States on an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa, merely being accused of a crime could have serious consequences. Some programs expel people who are charged with crimes. If you are expelled, your program is required to report it to SEVIS within 21 days. Since you are required to be enrolled full-time in school or sponsored by a program, expulsion could result in revocation of your visa even if you are ultimately cleared of the crime.
The J-1 exchange visitor visa allows a wide variety of people to visit the U.S. on a temporary, non-immigrant basis, including:
For those wishing to study full-time at a U.S. academic program, there are two visas available: F and M. Both are nonimmigrant visas, and one of the requirements is that you maintain a residence in your home country that you have no intention of giving up. You must also be generally eligible for a U.S. visa.