Lewis & Clark College Law School

US Immigration Law Orientation for International Students - Friday, December 3, 1999


1. Visa Status vs Immigration Status -- What is the difference?


a. Most students will have F-1 (Student) or J-1 (Exchange Visitor) visas.

b. Sample:

c. A "visa" is a ticket to "knock on the door" of the U.S.

d. A "visa" does not give you permission to stay in the U.S

Immigration Status

a. Your "immigration status" is stated on your I-94 Arrival/Departure form.

b. Your I-94 form (not your visa) governs how long you may stay in the US.


a. Students think that if they have an F-1 of J-1 visa that is valid until 2005, they can legally remain in the US until that time no matter what they are doing. That is not true.

b. Students often think that if their visa has expired, they must return home immediately to have it renewed. That is not true.



2. Renewing F-1 and J-1 Visas

Visas can only be renewed at a US consulate outside the US

Five things are needed:

  • 1. A valid passport (good for six months into the future).
  • 2. A valid I-20 form (for F-1) or an IAP-66 form (for J-1) signed by the ISO staff.
  • 3. A transcript
  • 4. A letter indicating you are "in status" from the Intl Student Office
  • 5. Financial documents
  • Travel to Canada

    It is true that F-1 students going to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days can return to the US with an expired visa.


    3. F-1 and J-1 status: Restrictions and Benefits

    F-1 Status: Generally used for students in degree programs.

    J-1 Status: Generally used for exchange students, government-sponsored students.

    General Characteristics

  • a. Students must be enrolled as full-time students except in the summer.
  • b. Students must keep a valid passport.
  • c. Students must not work off campus without permission.
  • d. Students must report changes of address within 10 days.
  • e. Students may work on campus with approval of the Int'l Student Office.
  • Differences in F-1 and J-1 status



    60 days (F-1) to leave the US 30 days (J-1) to leave the US
    No restrictions on return to US (F-1) Possible 2-year home residency (J-1)

    No restrictions on source of funding (F-1)

    Significant outside funding required (J-1)

    Insurance recommended (F-1)

    Insurance required (J-1)

    Must keep a valid I-20 (F-1)

    Must keep a valid IAP-66 (J-1)

    Practical Training (PT for F-1)

    Academic Training (AT for J-1)

    PT limit is 12 months (F-1)

    AT limit is 18-36 months (J-1)

    PT must be approved by INS (F-1)

    AT approved by Intl Office (J-1)

    PT approval requires 2-4 months (F-1)

    AT approval requires a day or so (J-1)

    PT does not require job offer (F-1)

    AT requires a job offer for approval (J-1)

    PT can begin anytime in 12 months (F-1)

    AT must begin soon after graduation (J-1)

    Cannot depart US until PT is approved (F-1)

    F-1 Dependents (F-2)

    J-1 Dependents (J-2)

    May accompany or come later (F-2 & J-2)

    May accompany or come later (F-2 & J-2)

    Status derived from F-1 only (F-2)

    Status derived from J-1 only (J-2)

    F-2 cannot work in the US

    J-2 may work with INS permission

    F-2 may attend class if incidental to status

    J-2 may attend class if incidental to status

    Insurance recommended (F-2)

    Insurance required (J-2)

    May travel abroad and return,

    with proper documentation (F-2 & J-2)

    May travel abroad and return,

    with proper documentation (F-2 & J-2)

    LINK: F-1 VISA

    LINK: J-1/2 VISA

    4. Student Work Permits - How to Obtain Them, How to Obey the Rules

    Four Types of Employment / Training

  • a. On-campus employment
  • b. Off-campus employment due to economic hardship
  • c. Curricular Practical Training (internships)
  • d. Practical Training (Academic Training) Before or After Graduation
  • a. On-campus employment: F-1 and J-1 students are eligible.

    Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session, 40 hours per week during vacation periods.

    On-campus includes Bon Appetit, bookstore, etc. but not temporary construction companies or private "work at home" companies.

    For permission, F-1 and J-1 students must go the Intl Student Office, complete five forms and give a copy of the "Employment Eligibility Form" to their on-campus employer.

    b. Off-campus employment due to economic hardship:

    Procedures differ for F-1 and J-1 students, though the eligibility requirements are the same.

    F-1 and J-1 students can apply only if they can prove that they have experienced unforeseen changes in their economic circumstances after their first full year of study.

    Unforeseen changes can include the death of a sponsor, significant changes in change rates, loss of a scholarship, etc.

    F-1 students apply to INS through the Intl Student Office. It takes approximately 3 to 4 months. The cost is $100. F-1 students must submit several forms including letter of explanation, sample budget (before and after change of circumstance), and documentary proof. If granted, permit is an EAD card good for one year.

    J-1 students apply to Intl Student Office. It takes approximately one to two days. The cost is free. Students must prove the change in circumstance. If granted, Intl Student Office will provide a letter for employers.

    c. Curricular Practical Training: F-1 students are eligible.

    Technically, this is not "employment" because no money can be earned.

    The training must be part of/required of a class in which the student is currently enrolled.

    Class must be listed in the catalog and have a faculty member.

    INS notification is required, but INS approval is not.

    The Intl Student Office can authorize curricular practical training.

    Curricular practical training does not affect time available for optional practical training after graduation.

    This category is generally used for "practicum" or "internship" type courses for which the student earns credit.

    d. Practical Training (Academic Training) Before or After Graduation:

    Both F-1 and J-1 students are eligible (F-1/Practical Training; J-1/Academic Training).

    Students may earn a salary.

    Employment must be directly related to the students major field of study and commensurate with degree.

    Approval from INS is required for practical training (F-1).

    EAD card must be issued.

    Process takes three to four months. (See Part 3 above).

    To apply, F-1 students should attend "Practical Training Workshop" sponsored by the Intl Student Office approximately 3 months before graduation.

    Several forms are required, along with fee.

    PT is almost always granted. Students may not leave the US until PT is approved.





    5. Post-Graduation Work Options

    The normal progression for obtaining a work permit or green card in the US is:

  • 1. Curricular practical training (internship) (usually one semester)
  • 2. Optional practical training after graduation (12 month period)
  • 3. While working for a company with practical training, apply for H-1Bstatus.
  • H-1 visas must be applied for by the company, not the individual.

    There is a limit on the number of H-1 visas issued each year.

    The process takes two to three months.

    Some companies will pay for the H-1 process; others ask the employee to pay.

    Changing companies is possible, but must be approved by INS.

    H-1 permits "dual intent" so that you can adjust your status to that of permanent resident (green card holder).


    KN 12/99

    CAPRIOTTI & Associates
    International Law

    Immigration - Nationality - Consular Process
    Minnesota - Oregon - Canada - Europa
    P.O. Box 2792, Portland, OR 97208-2792
    Fax: 1-503-223-3886 - Voice: 1-503-221-1600 (ext. 61 for voicemail, ext. 71 cellular/emergency)
    Outside of Portland: 1-800-716-0055

    Last Edited: 2 DEC 99

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