Foreign students may enter the United States to study and teachers to teach
if they qualify.
Students enter in temporary status with a limit on their stay which usually
corresponds to the length of the course.
Generally, students enter following acceptance by the institution, approval
by the State Department Embassy or Consulate abroad and clearance by the INS at
a U.S. port of entry.
A student must prove the availability of adequate funding for the complete
period of study without the necessity to earn money from U.S. employment.
However, students may seek limited employment in certain circumstances during
and after their period of study. This employment may be on-campus. However, if
it is off-campus, it must usually be related to their course of study. Prior
permission must always be obtained from the Designated School Officer (DSO) and
sometimes by the INS. Except in special circumstances, such as for certain Asian
students whose home country currency has been devalued, it cannot be to
supplement the financing of their school and living expenses.
Students generally enter in one of three temporary educational
classifications. These are:
F - Academic Student - the most flexible student status which enables
students with financial support to take full advantage of the U.S. educational
process while providing the possibility of limited access to career-oriented
J- USIA Exchange Visitor - the most complex student classification which
permits students with limited resources to participate in a program which until
1999 has been administered by the United States Information Agency.
Responsibility is moving to the Department of State not later than October 1,
1999. If funding comes from the student's home country or the United States,
there is usually a requirement that the student return home after graduation and
practice the newly-acquired skills for two years. This requirement applies
especially to medical students.
M - Non-academic Student - the least formal student status which permits
students to obtain vocational training, non-academic schooling or schooling in a
language other than English.
Teachers and Professors
Green Cards may be available to teachers and professors who are highly
skilled and in demand but it is usually easier to obtain permission to enter in
a temporary classification.
Unless the applicant is an exceptional or internationally-acclaimed
professor, it is likely that either temporary or permanent entry will require
the prior approval of the Department of Labor before INS and State Department
processing may be started.
A college or university teacher or professor entering temporarily will be
processed in the H-1B classification. However, permanent entry will be under
Employment-Based First Preference (Outstanding Professor or Researcher) or
Second Preference (College or University Teacher) status.