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Visa Categories

The University of Rochester welcomes a large number of foreign nationals from around the world to study, research, and work. To accommodate the variety of programs and activities pursued throughout the University, the International Services Office is approved to sponsor several different visa categories. A comparison of the most commonly used non-immigrant visa categories is provided below; fees listed are in addition to any applicable visa fees. For more detailed information on each visa type, please follow the navigation links provided.

F-1 Students  |  J-1 Exchange Visitors

Temporary Workers:   H-1B  |  TN  |  O-1 

B-1/B-2 Visa  |  Visa Waiver  |  Permanent Residence


F-1 Students

Purpose: For full-time academic study in a degree-bearing program or recognized visiting student category.
Additional Fees:  I-901 SEVIS Fee
Maximum Period: None specified, provided pursuing academic goals.
Notes: Individuals under F-1 sponsorship must maintain full-time enrollment, while employment activities must be secondary and often related to their academic program.


J-1 Exchange Visitors

Purpose: For full-time academic study or temporary academic appointment for researchers or other scholars. Employment-based categories include postdoctoral appointments, visiting instructor, research associate, etc.
Additional Fees:  I-901 SEVIS Fee
Maximum Period:
     -   Student: None specified, provided pursuing academic goals
     -  Research Scholar or Professor: up to 5 years
     -  Short-Term Scholar: up to 6 months
     -  Student Intern: up to 12 months per academic degree program
Notes: Some individuals may be subject to a 2-year home residency requirement which prohibits applying for H, L, permanent residency, until the residency requirement is satisfied or a waiver is granted. J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work permission.


H-1B Temporary Workers

Purpose: For professionals in a specialty occupation requiring a theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge and a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. 
Additional Fees:
     -  I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker ($460)
     -  Fraud Prevention Fee ($500)
     -  Premium Processing Fee ($1,225)
     -  I-539 for Dependents to change status or extend H-4 ($370)
Maximum Period: Typically granted in 3-year increments for a total of 6 years. The 6-year period can be with one employer, or a series of employers.
Notes: The application is an employer-sponsored petition and must be filed by the University of Rochester.  It CANNOT be filed by an individual. Dual Intent is recognized. Processing time is lengthy and requires extensive documentation. H-4 dependents may not work, but may be eligible to study.


TN Workers from Canada (NAFTA)

Purpose: Similar to H-1B, for Canadian citizens who are professionals in designated worker categories to allow for expedited processing of work authorization.
Additional Fees: 
      - $50 filing fee
     -  $10 port of entry fee
Maximum Period: Granted in increments of up to 3 years, with no limit on the number of extensions.
Notes: Appendix 1603.D.1 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (worker categories). Subject to nonimmigrant intent, assuming that the employment remains temporary. TD dependents may be eligible to study, but not to work. 


O-1 Workers with Extraordinary Ability

Purpose: For professionals with documented extraordinary ability or achievement.
Additional Fees:

     -  I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker ($325)
Maximum Period:
Initial stay granted for up to 3 years. Extensions may be requested, in increments of 1 year.
 Dual Intent is recognized. Dependents (spouses, children under 21) of an O-1 may be eligible for O-3 status; they may not work, but may be eligible for study.


B-1/B-2 Visitors

Purpose: Appropriate for an individual visiting to collaborate on a project, job interview, observership, etc. Incidental study may be permitted.
Additional Fees: None
Maximum Period: 3-6 months per visit
Notes: Called an “honoraria exception”, a B-1 visitor may be paid an honoraria and reimbursed for incidental expenses if the individual’s visit or activity does not last more than 9 days at a single university and they have not accepted honoraria from more than 5 institutions within a 6 month period. Visitors cannot typically change to another nonimmigrant category within the U.S.


Visa Waiver Program

Purpose: Like the B visa, for an individual visiting for tourism, or to collaborate on a project, job interview, observership, etc.  Incidental study may be permitted.
Additional Fees:  ESTA registration fee
Maximum Period: Up to 90 days; no extensions of stay or changing of status
Notes: Visitors must have a machine-readable passport, biometric passport, and citizenship from an eligible country.


Permanent Residency

Purpose: To allow for continued residency within the U.S., based on strict eligibility requirements and subject to substantial processing times. Permissions to travel and/or work may be approved in advance, while the residency petition is still pending. Working with an immigration attorney is recommended.
Additional Fees: Varies
Maximum Period: None, provided certain residency standards are met.
Notes: The three main routes to permanent residency are Employment Based sponsorship, the Diversity Lottery, or Family Based sponsorship. Employment sponsored petitions through the University are subject to strict criteria; eligibility and viability are determined on a case by case basis and it is the University's prerogative whether to proceed with any given case.