Information for UAF Departments

Issue Common to All Immigration Categories Sponsored by UAF Departments

  • Immigration 101 Training Manual
  • Individuals in each immigration category are sponsored by UAF
  • Each category must be resident in Fairbanks
  • Dependents must remain with the primary visa holder
  • All must maintain a valid (unexpired) passport, I-94 Departure Record and sponsoring document
    • The visa itself is not a governing document once the individual has entered the U.S. It can expire and not impact the legal status of the individual as long as the other documents have not expired.
    • Under current immigration regulations, Canadians are not required to obtain a visa in order to enter the U.S. in any immigration status.

Department of State Exchange Visitor (J-1 Visa Category)

  • J-1 Visa Category
  • Sponsoring document is a Form DS-2019
  • Has 13 categories of which we are authorized four: student, professor, short term scholar and research scholar – there are different rules for each category
  • J-1 student may not be self-supporting: must have some type of sponsoring funds that allow the individual to participate in the exchange
  • J-1 professor/short term scholar/ research scholar may be self supporting but there must be some reason for the University to be sponsoring them to be here
  • Dependent is a J-2 who is eligible to study full time/enter a degree program, and work with USCIS employment authorization. At no time may the funds of the J-2 be used to support the J-1 (separate checking/saving accounts; cannot buy food or pay utilities, etc.)

Specialty Occupation Employee (H-1B Visa Category)

  • H-1B Visa Category
  • Sponsoring document is a Form I-797 “Notice of Action” approving the H-1B
  • Position must qualify first – on a national level the field requires a degree to begin the profession
  • Then the skills of the applicant may be considered to determine if the applicant is eligible for the position and related status
  • Position must be full time due to US Department of Labor requirements.  There is no exception to this.  (All faculty positions - 30 workload units/academic year; 15/semester)
  • Employer’s visa…the employee is the beneficiary of the employer’s application – a non-resident may not apply for an H-1B on his/her own behalf
  • Dependent is an H-4 who is eligible to enter a degree program and study full or part time. There is NO employment authorization available.

Trade NAFTA (TN Visa Category)

  • TN Visa Category
  • Available for Canadian and Mexican citizens ONLY
  • Mexicans follow an application process similar to an H-1B and must have the TN visa to enter the U.S.
  • Canadians must have a signed and accepted letter of offer, proof of citizenship, proof of education (transcripts/ diplomas) at the Port of Entry to apply for admission to the U.S. in this category.
  • Dependent is a TD who is eligible to enter a degree program and study full or part time. There is NO employment authorization available.

Student (F-1 Visa Category)

  • F-1 Visa Category
  • Must be unconditionally admitted – controlling document is a Form I-20
  • Must enroll full-time every semester unless approved in advance by a UAF immigration Designated School Official (International Student Advisor, IPI Director or Associate Director).
  • Eligible for on-campus employment only
    • Employment exceptions are Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training which must be authorized in advance of the employment beginning
    • OPT is 12 months of employment authorization, anywhere in the U.S. for any employer in the student’s field of study and is available after each degree level
    • CPT must be an integral part of the student’s curriculum, for example a required internship or practicum
    • OPT is available after each degree level
  • Dependent is an F-2 who is not eligible to enter a degree program/study or work. Part-time study that is avocational or recreational in nature is permitted
  • Sample UAF departmental employment and recommendation letters for students

Sample Department Letters for Academic Advisors

Permanent Residency

Business and/or Visitor (B-1 or B-2 Visa Category)

  • B-1 or 2 Visa Category
  • Individuals may be invited to, rather than officially sponsored by, UAF, as such there is no UAF-issued immigration document. The above common issues do not apply to people in this status.
  • Controlling document indicating status is the I-94 received on entry to the U.S. Immigration authorization to take courses is very limited.
  • No employment authorization is available


Recruitment through Extentions  Immigration presentation discussing hiring foreign nationals from start to finish, including employment extensions.

J vs H status comparisons

Processing fees The list includes internal processing fees and USCIS filing fees by immigration status as of May, 2017.

Visa/status comparisons  Comparison of employment-based immigration statuses.

Helpful U.S. Department of State websites:

U.S. Department of State listing of U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.

For approximate Visa Wait times to obtain an appointment at a U.S. consulate or embassy: select a city.


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