Visa Categories

The best visa category to use for an international visitor will vary according to the individual’s citizenship, purpose at UCSB and previous use of non-immigrant visas categories. UCSB departments can view the following charts to help determine which non-immigrant visa category may be appropriate for their international visitor and the purpose of the visit at UCSB:

Chart 1:
    J-1 Exchange Visitor (Research Scholar/Professor or Short-Term Scholar); F-1 Optional Practical Training
Chart 2:
    H-1B Specialty Occupation; TN North American Free Trade; E-3 Australian in Specialty Occupation

In some cases, the international visitor may be a recent graduate of a U.S. college or university (including UCSB) who would be eligible to continue in their student visa status and to be employed at UCSB for further training related to their field of study that is called Practical Training for F-1 visa students and Academic Training for J-1 visa students.

It has come to the attention of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) that international visitors who use the B-1/B-2 visa or the Visa Waiver program to come for an academic program at UCSB are encountering more problems than in the past. Some have been refused entry into the United States. It can be difficult to issue payments to someone in the B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver status. For example, those who are entitled to receive a reimbursement for expenses are required to have a social security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If they do not already possess one of these numbers prior to their entry into the U.S., they are generally unable to apply for one of them while in the B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver status. Finally a number of such visitors change their purpose while at UCSB and wish to stay longer than their B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver status permits. They are required by law to leave the U.S., apply for an appropriate non-immigrant visa and re-enter. The law does not allow any exceptions or ways to work around these inherent limitations of the B-1/B-2 and Visa Waiver statuses.

In contrast, the J-1 exchange visitor visa does not have any of these limitations. Hence, OISS strongly recommends the use of the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa for most academic visits.