IMMIGRATION OPTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Presented to D’Youville College by LAW OFFICE OF ROSANNA BERARDI, P.C.
ROSANNA BERARDI, ESQ. • Formers INS Inspector at Peace Bridge, Lewiston Bridge & Rainbow Bridge • Former INS Trial Attorney in New York City • Former Immigration Attorney at SUNY Buffalo • Former Senior Associate at large corporate firm • Managing Partner of The Law Office of Rosanna Berardi, P.C.
A Case Study: NANCY SMITH, DYC STUDENT • Nancy is a Canadian citizen • She is attending DYC to obtain a BA degree in Nursing • She is registered for 12 credit hours & commutes from Canada • Goal: to permanently work in the U.S.
NANCY’S F-1 STATUS • Nancy enters the U.S. as an F-1 student • She must take 12 credit hours per semester • She must have her I-20 signed on a yearly basis • She must complete her studies by “date of completion”
CAN NANCY WORK IN F-1 STATUS? • YES AND NO! • RULE: No employment during 1st academic year except for “on-campus” employment which can begin immediately
ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT RULES • Can work on school premises or at off-campus location which is “educationally affiliated” with school • 20 hours per week during school session • 40 hours per week during semester/summer session • Does NOT require CIS authorization
CAN NANCY WORK OFF-CAMPUS???OPT RULES • OPT is permission to work in a job related to your area of study; • You must be in valid F-1 status and complete TWO full-time academic semesters • OPT application must be approved by CIS • OPT can be used for part-time employment or full-time employment during semester breaks
OPT DEADLINES • OPT application must be received by CIS before “course of completion date” stated on Part 5 of your Form I-20 • You should apply at least 90 days prior to your employment start date
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (“CPT”) • CPT is employment related to an internship, co-op or field placement that is “integral” to your field of study • CPT does NOT require CIS approval; rather, approval must come from DYC
Hurray! Nancy graduates from DYC with a BA degree.Can she work in the U.S.??? • MAYBE • Nancy has three options: 1) OPT 2) TN status per NAFTA treaty 3) H-1B status
TN NONIMMIGRANT STATUS (NAFTA TREATY) • NAFTA treaty provides for certain professionals to work in U.S. • Occupation must be listed on treaty • Nancy must submit: 1) proof of Canadian citizenship 2) offer of employment from U.S. employer 3) proof of nursing license in Canada and state of intended employment 4) Visa Screen Certificate
VISA SCREEN CERTIFICATE FOR HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS • Congress requires health-care professionals to present a visa-screen certificate when seeking admission to U.S. • Applies to Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, Medical Technologists, Physician Assistants • Can take up to SIX MONTHS to obtain; apply early!
H-1B NONIMMIGRANT STATUS • Category for individuals who hold a BA degree and work in a position that requires a BA degree • Congress limits the number of H-1Bs each year
H-1B requirements • Nancy will need to show: 1) offer of employment that indicates a BA degree is typically required 2) proof of her BA degree 3)employer will have to fill out a series of forms 4) proof that H-1B number is available
NANCY WOULD LIKE A “GREEN CARD” • Green card status=ability to live & work in U.S. permanently • Three ways to obtain a green card: 1) through family sponsorship 2) through employment sponsorship 3) through the Diversity Lottery (not available to Canadian citizens)
GREEN CARDS THROUGH FAMILY • Nancy can obtain a green card if she has an “immediate relative” (U.S. citizen spouse, parent and/or child) sponsor her • Depending on her sponsor, there can be a substantial wait for a green card as the gov’t limits the numbers each year
Green Cards Through Employment • More realistically, Nancy can be sponsored for green card status via a U.S. employer • Several ways for employment sponsorship, some of which require a testing of the U.S. job market over an extended period of time and proof of unavailable U.S. workers
GREEN CARDS THROUGH EMPLOYMENT (CON’TD) • Other methods of obtaining green cards through employment exist for Nurses, Individuals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researchers or Professors and Investors • These categories do not require a testing of the job market.
CONCLUSION • Don’t delay…your career is too important to wait until the last minute. U.S. immigration law requires careful planning. • Be mindful of important deadlines. • Keep in regular contact with your international student office. • Call our office anytime for a consultation.
LAW OFFICE OF ROSANNA BERARDI, P.C. • We are experts at border-crossing issues. • We have daily contact with local border officials. • Our cases are rapidly processed at the Peace Bridge. • “Cross the Border with Confidence” with Rosanna Berardi.