B/Visa Waiver Status
The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming to the United States for a short-term visit for business
purposes and the B-2 is for short-term visits for pleasure or tourism. Citizens of a limited
number of countries are permitted to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a B-
1/B-2 visa stamp under the Visa Waiver Program. Neither is appropriate for students and
scholars coming to Idaho State University.
Those entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program cannot change to another
non-immigrant visa status and may remain in the United States for a maximum of three
months. There are no exceptions to this regulation. There is no paid employment permitted
on the B-1/B-2 visa or Visa Waiver Program, although it may be possible to receive
reimbursement for expenses or an honorarium.
Since June 26 2005 individuals visiting the US using the “Visa Waiver Program” have been
required to possess machine readable passports. Individuals who do not have passports that
meet the current requirements, as of October 2006, may not enter the US using the Visa
Waiver Program. These individuals must apply to a US embassy or consulate for a B Visitors
Read about the Visa Waiver Program here:
Read about passport requirements here:
F Visa Status
About the F-1 visa
Students may obtain an F-1 visa stamp by visiting a U.S. embassy or consulate and
presenting a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by Idaho State University. F-1
students are expected to attend the educational institution that issued the Form I-20. Any
student transferring from another U.S. educational institution to Idaho State on the F-1 visa
must consult his/her international student advisor at his/her educational institution for a
transfer release before an I-20 can be issued by Idaho State University.
Length of stay in the United States F-1 students will be granted permission to remain in the
United States until the completion date noted on the Form I-20 plus 60 days provided they
remain enrolled full-time and meet all other terms and conditions of their F-1 status. It may
be possible to apply for I-20 extensions if necessary.
Accompanying family members The F-2 visa stamp is issued to the spouse and/or children (under
age 21) of an F-1 student. It may be obtained by presenting to a U.S. consulate the Forms I-
20 issued to each family member and proof of adequate funding for the support of the
accompanying family members. Proof of marriage for spouses and birth certificates for
children are also required. No paid employment is permitted for F-2 visa holders under any
How to Maintain Legal Status
It is critical that students in F visa status "maintain status" by complying with specific federal
government regulations. Please review the SEVIS information here.
H-1B Visa Status
The H-1B temporary worker visa is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the
United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined
as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement." The hiring
department must provide documentation to prove that the job requires a person with special
qualifications and that the foreign scholar meets those qualifications. Further, the
department is required to pay a salary to the foreign scholar. The individual’s pay check must
come from the hiring entity (Idaho State University or an affiliated hospital). The United
States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the
individual qualifies for the H-1B classification. The H-1B visa is employer specific, which
means that a USCIS approved petition that was submitted by the IPO authorizes the scholar
to work only in the position specified in the petition. Further, a scholar who has an H-1B
approval from another employer is not automatically eligible to work at Idaho State. An H-
1B worker may work for more than one employer, but each employer must file a separate H-
1B visa petition.
Six-Year Length Of Stay Allowed
H-1B visa holders are eligible for a total maximum stay of six years. The initial H-1B visa
may cover a period up to three years. Since this six-year limit is strictly enforced, it is
important to plan accordingly. The six-year limit includes time spent on the H-1B at another
institution. It may be possible to begin another six-year period as an H-1B after the
individual has spent at least one year outside the United States.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of an H-1B are eligible for H-4 status. H-4 visa
holders are not permitted to work. If an H-4 dependent qualifies for specialty occupation in
his or her own right, a change of status to H-1B is necessary before employment can begin.
H-4 dependents may study in the United States, full- or part-time, for the duration of H-1B’s
period of stay.
O Visa Status
The O-1 temporary worker visa status is designated for individuals of extraordinary ability in
the sciences, education, business, arts or athletics and individuals of extraordinary
achievement in the motion picture and television industries. The hiring department must
provide documentation to prove that the individual’s ability has been demonstrated through
sustained national or international acclaim. The United States Citizenship & Immigration
Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether or not the individual qualifies for the
O-1 visas are valid initially for up to 3 years. There is the possibility of additional extensions
in one year increments to continue the same work.
To qualify as an individual of extraordinary ability the department must provide evidence of
the applicant's having received a major internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel
Prize OR at least three of the following:
1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for
excellence in the field.
2. Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of
their members, as judged by recognized experts in the field.
3. Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or
other major media.
4. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about
the applicant's work.
5. Evidence of participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of
others in the field.
6. Evidence in the form of 5 or 6 letters from prominent colleagues who can confirm
the applicant's original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance to
the field. The case is strengthened by letters from outside of the Idaho State
community and outside the U.S.
7. Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and
establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
8. Evidence of commanding a high salary or other compensation for services. This
category does not usually apply to academic positions.
TN Visa Status
The TN program is the immigration component of The North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), which enables Mexican or Canadian citizens to be admitted to the
United States to engage in "business activities at a professional level" in certain occupations,
for one or more specific employers (provided that each employer applies for a separate TN
visa). TN status may be granted for as long as the employment offer specifies, up to one
year, and this status may be extended indefinitely in one-year increments. The TN category is
similar to the H-1B except that it is also available to a non-academic professional at Idaho
State. The following eligibility requirements have to be met:
1. The profession has to be on the list of qualifying positions.
2. The position requires the individual to have at least a baccalaureate degree or
appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional.
3. The individual possesses the requisite educational background and experience for
The IPO staff can assist the Idaho State community in making the determination whether
the TN visa is an appropriate one for the employee, but the United States Citizenship &
Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the individual qualifies
for the TN classification.
The application procedure for TN status is not the same for Canadians and Mexicans.
Mexican nationals seeking TN status must comply with a procedure that is similar to that for
H-1B classification. IPO assists the departments with this process. Canadian nationals may
obtain both initial status and the extension either through travel or through an application to
the USCIS, filed by the IPO. For the additional information regarding TN status, please
contact the IPO and review the NAFTA handbook:
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of a TN visa holder are eligible for TD status.
Individuals in TD status are not permitted to work. If an individual in TD status is a
Canadian citizen, he or she is exempt from the visa requirement.
Permanent Residency is the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. Often
people refer to this benefit as having a "green card" as the evidence of having this status was
once ownership of a green colored identification card issued by the immigration service.
There are numerous ways to pursue permanent residency. Some of the most commonly
utilized routes include sponsorship by an employer, sponsorship by a qualifying family
member, self petitioning procedures by which applicants prove national interest or
exceptional ability, seeking asylum, and the diversity lottery. The University is able to provide
employer sponsorship for faculty and high level researchers. We also recommend the
following websites which contain very helpful information about permanent residency if you
are interested in obtaining further information.