Information for UAF Departments

Issues Common to All Immigration Categories Sponsored by UAF Departments

  • Immigration 101 Training Manual
  • Individuals in each immigration category may be sponsored by UAF
  • Each category must be resident in Fairbanks, some exceptions may apply but MUST be authorized in advance
  • 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 and is only needed to enter the U.S.  Once the individual has entered the U.S., the visa 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 Status)

  • J-1 status details
  • Sponsoring document is the Form DS-2019
  • Has 13 categories of which UAF is authorized four: student, professor, short term scholar and research scholar – there are different rules for each category
  • J-1 students may not be self-supporting: must have some type of sponsoring funds that allow the individual to participate in the program unless they are participating in a recognized exchange governed by a written agreement
  • J-1 professor/short term scholar/research scholar may be self supporting but there must be UAF collaboration facilitating the visitor's stated purpose for the work and research
  • 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 Status)

  • H-1B status details
  • 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 sponsorship:  The employee is the beneficiary of the employer’s application – a non-resident may not apply for the 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 Status)

  • TN status details
  • 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 Status)

  • F-1 status details
  • 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 Status)

  • B-1 or 2 status details
  • 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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