Understanding Visas
Non-immigrant visas establish work eligibility at City of Hope.
 
A variety of visa types are sponsored each year by City of Hope to meet the needs of our diverse work force. Technically, a visa is:
 
A travel document issued by a United States (U.S.) consulate abroad that lets a foreign national travel to the U.S. to apply for admission at a U.S. point of entry. It permits this foreign national to board a plane, ship or train that will carry him or her to a U.S. point of entry to make the application to enter the U.S.
 
If a foreign national arrives at a U.S. port of entry without a visa, which could (and should) have been obtained prior to traveling, he/she may be returned at the carrier’s expense to the home country or to the port of departure.
 
All foreign nationals are expected to present valid visas for inspection by the Department of Homeland Security  that:
 
  • Are valid for purposes of travel to the U.S.
  • Comply with the classifications under which they seek admission to the U.S.
 
Exceptions
In some cases foreign nationals do not need to present visas for entry into the U.S.:
 
 
There are additional exemption categories not discussed here, and any questions may be directed to the City of Hope’s Immigration Specialist.
 
The difference between Visa and Status
It is important to understand the relationship between a visa’s period of validity and a foreign national’s status in the U.S.:
 
  • The visa serves as a travel document to let the foreign national to whom it was issued travel to the U.S. and apply for admission into the U.S.
  • The foreign national must apply for admission to the U.S. during the validity period of the visa.
  • The visa alone does not confer any immigration status or employment authorization, and the validity of the visa does not relate whatsoever to the period of time the foreign national is authorized to remain in the U.S.
  • The expiration of the visa following the foreign national’s entry into the United States does not necessarily affect the alien’s authorized stay in the U.S.
  • The period of authorized stay is indicated on the Form I-94 issued to the foreign national.
 
The period of stay is unrelated to the period during which a consular officer has authorized an alien to apply for admission to the U.S. under the classification indicated on the visa. The I-94 is issued at a U.S. port of entry after an interview by an immigration officer who will determine whether the alien is eligible for admission in that particular non-immigrant category.
 
The Form I-94 indicates the classification under which the foreign national is admitted and the period of authorized stay in the U.S. under that classification. Although the period of authorized stay is usually expressed with a beginning and ending date, for some non-immigrant classifications the authorized period of stay may be expressed as “D/S,” meaning, "duration of status."
 
Leaving the United States
If you plan to leave the United States for a temporary trip abroad, contact the Immigration Specialist to begin researching the visa requirements as early as possible. Certain visas require specific procedures that must be handled prior to your leaving the country. Failure to comply with these procedures may result in your not being permitted to reenter the United States.
 
For more information, visit the U.S. State Department.
 
If you are sponsored by City of Hope (e.g., J-1 status), make sure you obtain a signature from an authorized City of Hope representative (such as the Immigration Specialist) asserting that you are employed in good standing with City of Hope.