The various types of work visas that foreign nationals at SCSU have are H-1B, J-1, TN, F-1 OPT or CPT.
The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to hire qualifying foreign nationals temporarily in certain types of employment positions, which at SCSU is limited only to tenure-track faculty. SCSU is responsible for petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain permission to hire a foreign employee for a position. An employee cannot obtain H-1B status on his or her own. SCSU contracts with an immigration attorney to assist with the H-1B processing.
The H-1B is employer-specific and job-specific. Thus, a new H-1B petition must be filed and approved before an employee can move from one employer to another, or change from one job to another while working for the same employer. The H-1B duration is a maximum of 6 years (granted in increments of up to 3 years.) The approval process for H-1B visas can take several months, so advance planning is necessary.
SCSU is authorized for the following J-1 categories – Research Scholar, Professor, Short-term Scholar and student. If the new employee has been on a J-1 visa for 6 or more months in the past 12 month period they are not eligible for another J-1 visa until 12 months have lapsed. This does not apply to the short-term scholars category. Many of the visiting scholars are also subject to the 2 year rule to return to their home country for 2 years after being here on a J-1 visa before being eligible to return to U.S. in H-1B status.
When it is determined that a J-1 visa will be used as a work authorization for the new employee, the hiring supervisor should contact the Center for International Studies to request a J-1 visa and for a DS-2019 to be processed and printed for the foreign national and their dependent(s), if applicable. The DS-2019, along with a packet of information, will be given to the contact person to be sent to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor then needs to go to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in their home country to apply for the J-1 visa. The J-1 visa holder is required to have health insurance that meets the U.S. State Department requirements. J-1 visa holders have 30 days after the ending date on their DS-2019 to either leave the country, change visa status or transfer to another J-1 visa program.
The TN visa is an employment visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to be employed in the U.S. in certain occupations listed in the NAFTA treaty. The employee here on a TN visa is admitted for temporary employment for a maximum of one year, with the possibility of indefinite yearly renewals. A detailed job offer letter and the employee’s credentials are presented to get a TN visa. The TN visa for a Mexican citizen is more complicated and the employer must file a petition with the INS.
F-1 OPT & CPT
F-1 Optional Practical Training and Curricular Practical Training allow an F-1 student to apply for employment authorization related to his or her field of study. This is done through the University that they are receiving their degree from. Many new graduates will start their employment using OPT for their work authorization the first year.