Types of Immigration Documents
An immigration document enables a foreign national to apply for a particular visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for entry into the United States. The following is a list of visa eligibility documents associated with the most common visa types used by people working and studying at The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute. (Please note information below is subject to change. For more information visit the U.S. Department of State.)
- F-1: Full-time student in academic program. Immigration document is I-20.
- J-1: Full-time student, professor, researcher or short-term scholar. Immigration document is DS-2019.
- H-1B: Worker in a specialty occupation. Immigration document is I-797 Approval Notice.
- TN: For Canadians and Mexican nationals. Immigration document is Letter of Employment or I-797 Approval Notice.
- O-1: Alien of Extraordinary Ability. Immigration document is I-797 Approval Notice.
- B-1: Visitor for Business. Immigration document is an invitation letter describing activities.
- WB: VWP Visitor for Business. Immigration document is an invitation letter describing activities.
An “EAD” is an employment authorization document, which is issued by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to various classes of non-immigrants and pending immigrants to allow for work in the United States. Statuses which allow for employment authorization include F-1 graduated students, J-2 dependents, pending immigrants, refugees, asylees and those in temporary protected status (TPS). The following are visa types that never qualify for employment authorization: visitors using B-1, B-2, WB or WT status; or dependents using F-2 or TD status. A J-2 dependent may apply for an EAD and work once it is granted.
A foreign national who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose and plans to return to their country of residence applies for a non-immigrant visa, such as those listed under Types of Immigration Documents. The foreign national must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the non-immigrant classification sought.
All foreign national employees, visitors and their dependents must have a valid passport at all times while residing in the United States. At the time of entry into the United States, the foreign national’s passport must be valid at least six months into the future. Passports can be renewed at the scholar’s home country embassy or consulate. Click here to view a list of foreign consulates.
SEVIS is an acronym for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is a federal government database that allows schools, research institutes, USCIS, U.S. embassies and consulates, and U.S. ports of entry to exchange information regarding individuals in J-1 and J-2 visa status. The ISO at The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute must input data into SEVIS to track and monitor the arrival, activity in the United States, and departure of individuals in J visa status.
Visa stamps are issued at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The visa stamp is affixed to a page in the passport and is a travel document only. It allows foreign nationals to apply for entry at a U.S. port of entry, (i.e. an airport, seaport, or land border crossing). Once entry is permitted, the scholar enters the United States in the non-immigrant status that matches the visa classification.
It is important to note that a visa stamp does not permit entry into the United States. A visa stamp simply indicates that your application has been reviewed by a U.S. consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and that the officer has determined that you are eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.
A visa stamp allows you to travel to the United States as far as the Port of Entry (airport or land border crossing) and ask the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officer to allow you to enter the country. Only the USCBP officer has the authority to permit you to enter the United States. He/she decides how long you can stay for any particular visit.
For more information about visa stamps, please see the Department of State website.