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Office of International Programs

Typical Non-Immigrant Visa Classifications

Immigration Documents
Passport: Your passport, issued by your country of citizenship, should be valid at least six months into the future. To renew your passport, contact your home government.

Visa Type Description Study Restrictions On Employment
F-1 Student Full-time study; Part-time only for acceptable cause and if authorized. On-campus 20 hours/week while school’s in session, FT during breaks, including summer. Off-campus very limited and must be approved by CIS (EAD card) before one can start work.
F-2 Dependents of F-1 visa holders May study part-time. Full-time must apply for an F-1 visa. Not permitted to work in the US under any circumstances.
J-1 Exchange Visitor (Student) Full-time study; part-time study only if authorized by in advance. May work on-campus 20 hours/week with prior written authorization from the Responsible Officer of their Exchange Visitor Program. May also work off-campus under limited circumstances with prior written authorization. Employment does not require additional permission from CIS or an EAD card. Eligible for 18 months of academic training following the completion of their program. (36 months for Post-Doctoral Training).
J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar, Professor or Researcher) May study if incidental to the primary purpose of stay while maintaining. May not do formal degree granting academic program. May be employed only by the Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor or appropriate designee. Under limited circumstances, may receive compensation from other institutions with prior written authorization from the Responsible Officer. No EAD card is required.
J-2 Dependents of J-1 visa holders May engage in part-time or full-time study. Eligible to apply to CIS for work authorization. Must have EAD issued by CIS. May work for any employer. Must re-apply for employment authorization to continue working after expiration date on the EAD card.
H-1B Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation May study if incidental to the primary purpose of the stay while maintaining valid status. Employment permitted only with the petitioning organization through whom the visa classification was obtained. Prohibited from receiving payments from other organizations.
H-4 Dependents of H visa Holders May engage in full or part-time study. Not permitted to be employed or receive compensation from an US source.
B-1 Visitor for Business An individual in the US for a short period of time to engage in such business activities. May not study. Foreign visitors present in the US on a B-1 visa are not permitted to be employed in the US. An academic institution to pay honoraria and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity lasting not longer than 9 days at any single institution.
B-2 Visitor for Tourism An individual in the US for travel, tourism and recreational purposes. May not enroll in a course of study. Foreign visitors present in the US on a B-2 visa are not permitted to be employed in the US. Same as above applies.

Other possible visa types:

VWB Visa Waiver for Business and VWT Tourism Less than 90 days. Only available to citizens of countries designated by the US State Department. Laws regarding study and employment for holders of VWB (Visa Waiver for Business) or VWT (Visa Waiver for Tourism) are identical to their B-1 or B-2 counterparts listed above. Not permitted to extend the length of stay or change visa status from within the US.
TN Trade NAFTA for citizens of Canada and Mexico Performs professional services for a sponsoring employer in a specific position for a fixed period of time. Like H1-B, may engage in study if incidental to the primary purpose of the stay in the US while maintaining a valid TN visa status.
TD (dependent of TN) May engage in full or part-time study. Not permitted to work in the US under any circumstances.