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Immigration Statuses

This section describes the most frequently used immigration statuses for international visitors to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It does not include F-1 and J-1 students who are still in degree programs.


Visitor for Business. Generally valid six months. Reimbursement for expenses and/or honorarium. Honorarium and associated expenses can be for activity of no more than 9 days. Cannot receive honoraria from more than five institutions in a six-month period. Expenses alone have no such restriction, but contact the Office of Business and Financial Services regarding their payment guidelines and restrictions.


Visitor for Business from certain countries* who can enter without a visa for 90-day period. No extension or change of status possible. Same payment restrictions as B-1.

* Citizens of the following countries are eligible for waivers of B-1/B-2 visas: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

F-1 Practical Training

For recent graduates who have been in F-1 student status. May be employed for training which supplements degree work. Must be arranged by sponsoring university. Total validity of one year. Must obtain Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Dependents (F-2s) may not work. ISSS advises and maintains files on practical trainees from other universities as well as university students.

J-1 Academic Training

For recent graduates who have been in J-1 student status. May be employed for training which supplements degree work. Must be arranged by sponsoring university. Validity 18 months with an 18-month extension possible in some cases. ISSS advises and maintains files on practical trainees from other universities as well as university students.

J-1 Professor, Research Scholar or Short Term Scholar

Exchange visitor status allowing individuals to stay up to five years for research and/or teaching (six-month limit for short-term scholars). Employment is not required, but visitor's activities are restricted to his/her academic field. Change of sponsoring departments must be approved by ISSS. Brief off-campus work possible when related to field. Change to another visa status is possible only if visitor is not subject to two-year home residence requirement**or has obtained a waiver thereof. Can transfer to another institution's J-l program within the five-year period to continue same objective. Not appropriate for those in tenure-track positions. Numerous restrictions on use of repeat visits in Professor or Research Scholar categories. Usually easy to obtain, but some restrictions apply. Only one document required, the form DS-2019.

** Any exchange visitor who receives direct or indirect government funding or whose country and field of study appear on the Exchange Visitor Skills List is subject to this requirement. A copy of this list is on file in the ISSS office.


Spouse or minor child dependent of J-1 May obtain renewable, unrestricted work permission (Employment Authorization Document) from Immigration Service which is valid for a maximum period of one year at a time or the same time period as the J-1's status, whichever is less.

H-1B Temporary Worker

For teacher, researcher or administrator having at least a Bachelors degree. Very job specific. Must be on paid appointment and may be paid by sponsor only if employment terminates early. No payment from other employer allowed unless that employer has also obtained H-1 status for him/her, but may be reimbursed expenses for lectures elsewhere. Requires approved Labor Condition Application from Department of Labor. State Employment Service determines acceptable minimum salary. Valid for up to six years. May only be used for full-time employment at the university. H-1 amendment required if position changes. Appropriate for tenure-track positions. Dual intent applies: no problem to hold H status and apply for permanent residence at the same time. Time-consuming (4-6 months) to obtain unless premium (expedited) processing requested for a fee. Annual limit does not to educational institutions. H-1 dependents (H-4s) may not work. May be obtained for three years initially, with a three-year extension or any lesser increment.

O-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability

For foreign nationals of "extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, as demonstrated by "sustained national or international acclaim." Requires advisory opinion from union, management group or other outside source plus large amount of documentation to verify alien's professional acclaim. May be obtained for three years initially followed by annual extensions. No stated time limit. Dependents (O-3s) may not work.

P Performing Athletes and Entertainers

Includes three subcategories of persons coming to perform in athletic or entertainment events. Includes athletes performing as individuals, or groups and entertainers performing as a group recognized at an international level. The P-2 class includes athletes and entertainers entering to perform under reciprocal exchange programs. The P-3 class includes those entering to perform in a culturally unique program. The P-1 and P-3 classes require consultation with U.S. unions to determine eligibility. Spouses and minor children of P-1, P-2 and P-3s are admissible as P-4s.

TN Temporary Professional Workers

North American Free Trade Agreement provision for Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the U.S. in a profession designated on the TN Schedule. Activity must be temporary in nature, but is renewable indefinitely in three-year increments. Bachelors degree is required. May be obtained by Canadians at U.S. border with letter, diploma and fee. Procedures are simpler for Canadians than for Mexicans.

Permanent Resident

Green card holder (immigrant). No employment limitations except for those positions restricted to U.S. citizens. Normally valid for ten years. Renewable indefinitely. May be obtained based on certain family relationships, extraordinary ability, national interest or permanent employment. Complex process may take several years to complete. The university will process green card applications for permanent full-time staff members such as tenure-track faculty and long-term researchers upon request of employing department. Employment-based permanent residents may apply for citizenship (naturalization) after 5 years.