Using any non-immigrant visa category will enable you to enter and stay in the United States for a specified amount of time. The dates on the visa in your passport do not always indicate how long you may remain in the United States. Your length of stay is determined either by an immigration officer on the entry stamp when you enter the United States or the dates indicated on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. While you are in the United States, it will be your responsibility to know when your visa documents (Form I-20 or DS-2019) will expire and to work with the OISS to apply for any extensions in a timely manner. Regulations regarding employment, permitted length of stay, and spouse's eligibility to work vary according to the visa category. It is therefore important to understand the regulations pertaining to each visa type. International students at Pepperdine should use the appropriate visa related to their current activities at Pepperdine (a student visa or other non-immigrant visa that allows part time or full time study).
A student who has entered the U.S. in B1/B2, ESTA, or Visa Waiver status (visitor or tourist visa) will not be allowed to study at Pepperdine.
Students under the age of 21 years who are studying as dependents on a parent's primary visa, will be required to apply for an F-1 visa and be in F-1 status by the time they turn 21 years old.
Once the proper visa expires it will be necessary to apply for a new visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate when traveling outside the United States.
Common Types of Visas:
B-1/B-2 and Waiver Visas (Visitor)
B-1/B-2 and Waiver/ESTA Visas (not permitted for study at Pepperdine)
The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States generally for short term business. The B-2 visa is generally for pleasure or medical treatment. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than six months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars.
Visa Waiver Program
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 under the Visa Waiver Program. Visitors entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status and visitors entering for pleasure are admitted in WT status.
E-1 and E-2 Visas
The following information is from the the U.S. Department of State website:
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. For a list of participating countries, select Treaty Countries.
You must be coming to the United States to:
- engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or
- develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.
Please consult the sponsor of your E visa for more information about the regulations pertaining to study, travel, employment, taxes, and other responsibilities required for maintaining E visa status.
For more information about the E Visas, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/treaty-trader-investor-visa-e.html
The H-1B temporary worker visa is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to work 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 someone with special qualifications and that the international scholar meets those qualifications. Furthermore, the department is required to pay a salary to the individual.
The individual's paycheck must come from the hiring entity. H-1B visa status is employment based. Individuals receiving fellowship income are not eligible for H-1B visa status since fellowship is not considered remuneration for services provided to the hiring entity.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the individual qualifies for the H-1B visa classification. The H-1B visa is employer specific, which means that a USCIS approved petition that was submitted by the hiring entity authorizes the individual to work only in the position specified in the petition at the entity. An individual who has an H-1B visa approval from one employer is not automatically eligible to work for another employer. An H-1B worker may work for more than one employer at the same time, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.
Please consult the sponsor of your H-1B visa for more information about the regulations pertaining to study, travel, employment, taxes, and other responsibilities required for maintaining H-1B status.
For more information about H-1B Visas, visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/temporary-worker-visas.html.
J-1 Student Visa
The J-1 Visa is for students in specific educational exchange programs such as the Fulbright, LASPAU, DAAD, AmidEast, etc. Can also be used for degree programs.
Pepperdine does not currently sponsor J-1 visa programs, however, J-1 students are allowed to enroll in classes at Pepperdine if properly sponsored.
The purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences.
Please consult the sponsor of your J-1 visa for more information about the regulations pertaining to study, travel, employment, taxes, and other responsibilities required for maintaining J-1 status.
For more information about J visas, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange.html
Intracompany Transferee Executive, Manager or Specialized Knowledge
The L-1 A and L-1B nonimmigrant classifications enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager or specialist from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee
To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary's stay in the United States as an L-1. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For all L-1 employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of (L1-B) or seven (L-1A) years.
Family of L-1 Workers
A spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age may accompany an L-1 worker to the U.S. Family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.
Spouses of L-1 workers may attend school and may apply for work authorization. Minor children may attend K-12 and post-secondary studies in L-2 status, but must change to F-1 status before the age of 21.
Please consult the sponsor of your L-1/L-2 visa for more information about the regulations pertaining to study, travel, employment, taxes, and other responsibilities required for maintaining L-1/L-2 status.
For more information about L-1 visas, please visit these two websites:
Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card)
Although Permanent Resident Visa holders have foreign passports, Pepperdine considers them "domestic" for admissions and immigration purposes. Permanent Residents qualify to apply for U.S. federal financial aid. The following information is from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website:
Your Rights as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to:
- Live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable under immigration law
- Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing. (Please note that some jobs will be limited to U.S. citizens for security reasons)
- Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions
Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident, you are:
- Required to obey all laws of the United States the states, and localities
- Required to file your income tax returns and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities
- Expected to support the democratic form of government and not to change the government through illegal means
- Required, if you are a male age 18 through 25, to register with the Selective Service
For more information about maintaining lawful permanent residence, please visit https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence
For more information about international travel as a permanent resident, please visit https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/international-travel-permanent-resident
TN or TD Visa
The following information is taken from the U.S. Department of State website:
The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are not able to apply for TN visas to work as NAFTA professionals. Select TN NAFTA Professionals on the USCIS website to learn more about TN nonimmigrant status.
Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals under the following conditions:
- Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
- Profession is on the NAFTA list;
- Position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
- Applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for an employer (see Required Documentation). Self employment is not permitted;
- Applicant has the qualifications, meeting the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.
With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement.
Note: Requirements for Canadians and Mexicans are different
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of a TN visa holder are eligible for TD status. Individuals in TD status are not permitted to work, but they may engage in part-time or full-time study. If an individual in TD status is a Canadian citizen, he or she is exempt from the consular visa requirement.
Please consult the sponsor of your TN/TD visa for more information about the regulations pertaining to study, travel, employment, taxes, and other responsibilities required for maintaining TN/TD status.
For more information regarding TN or TD visas please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/visas-canadian-mexican-nafta-professional-workers.htm