BOX 2-1
Immigration and Nationality Act Definitions of Student and Exchange-Scholar Visa Classes and the 214b Provisiona

F-1: An alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study consistent with section 214(l) at an established college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program in the United States, particularly designated by him and approved by the Attorney General after consultation with the Secretary of Education, which institution or place of study shall have agreed to report to the Attorney General the termination of attendance of each nonimmigrant student, and if any such institution of learning or place of study fails to make reports promptly the approval shall be withdrawn. [INA § 101(a) (15)(F)(i)]


J-1: An alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student, scholar, trainee, teacher, professor, research assistant, specialist, or leader in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, or other person of similar description, who is coming temporarily to the United States as a participant in a program designated by the Director of the United States Information Agency, for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training and who, if he is coming to the United States to participate in a program under which he will receive graduate medical education or training, also meets the requirements of section 212(j), and the alien spouse and minor children of any such alien if accompanying him or following to join him. [INA §101(a)(15)(J)(i)]


H-1b: An alien subject to section 212(j)(2), who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform services … in a specialty occupation described in section 214(i)(1) …. [INA § 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b)]

Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and other entities to meet security requirements.

Over the years, a veritable alphabet soup of visa classes has been created, but there are no classes specific to graduate students or postdoctoral scholars. Which visa is used often depends on where students are in their course of graduate study, how long they have been in the United States, and, for postdoctoral scholars, in which sector they are performing research—a national laboratory, a university, or an industrial setting. Most international graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who visit the United States do so using temporary nonimmigrant visas that cover educa-



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