Types of Nonimmigrant Work Visas


CSUF wants to hire me, but I need a work visa.  How does the process start?

There are many categories of work visas. The most popular is the employer-sponsored H-1B visa.

H-1B Visa (Professionals in Specialty Occupations)

H-1B status is used at CSUF for degreed professionals in specialty fields, where the university wishes to employ the individual for several years. How we handle H-1B sponsorship is dictated by both Federal regulations and CSUF’s institutional policies and systems. 

Faculty – The CSUF job offered must qualify for H-1B status

  • Must be a Full-Time Tenure Track or Lecturer position.
  • The position must meet the minimum education requirement.
    • Per Federal regulations, the job offered must require a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and must require that the degree be earned in a specific field, or a closely related group of fields (e.g., Electronic Engineering or Computer Science, not Electronic Engineering or business).
  • Must pay the required H-1B wage.
    • The H-1B wage will be analyzed by Risk Management once the completed request is received. The regulations require the department to pay either the “actual wage” paid to similar positions in the department or the “prevailing wage” established by the U.S. Department of Labor Data, whichever is higher.
  • The position must be fully benefits eligible.
    • The position must be eligible for full benefits for faculty and staff.

Staff – The individual must qualify for H-1B status

The individual must possess the minimum education and experience required for the H-1B job and have no background issues that would prevent them from taking up H-1B status. Please contact Risk Management to discuss.


  • H-1B status can be requested for up to three (3) years at a time.
  • An individual may remain in H-1B status for up to six (6) years. To extend beyond the 6th year, permanent residence processing for the individual must have reached an advanced stage that allows the H-1B to be extended.

F-1 OPT Visa (Optional Practical Training)

Foreign students in F-1 status are generally eligible for a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) prior to and upon graduation. Recent graduates who did not already use up their OPT or are ineligible for other reasons, will normally be eligible for a period of 12 months of OPT. Graduates who obtained a degree in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) may be eligible for an additional period of 12 months of OPT for a total of 24 months. Individuals who are eligible for post-completion OPT must apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain an Employment Authorization Card. Once the EAD is received and the start date is reached, the individual can then work.

O-1 Visa (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)

This temporary nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who have achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. The O-1 has an initial period of stay for up to three (3) years with one (1) year extensions thereafter, no maximum cumulative duration limit like the H-1B. Extensions can be submitted to USCIS as early as one (1) year in advance of the extension start date. If an extension is filed before the end date of your current petition, you may continue to work for 240 days while the case is pending.

TN Visa (Trade NAFTA Professional)

This three (3) year temporary visa is used for professionals who are citizens of Canada and Mexico. Extensions of stay may be granted for up to three (3) year increments by re-entering the United States through an authorized port of entry or by filing an application for extension of stay with USCIS in the United States. All individuals in TN status must have the intent to depart the U.S.; therefore, TN status is not a good long-term immigration solution and is not appropriate for tenure-track positions. Faculty working under the TN visa may not convert to the immigrant visa (green card).