The VCU Global Education Office’s immigration services works with international students, scholars, faculty, researchers and their dependents to help them maintain their various visa statuses. We issue and process the necessary immigration documents and advise immigrants on the regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as the U.S. Department of Labor.
Immigration services currently advises students (F-1), scholars, researchers, visitors (J-1), temporary specialized employees (H-1B and TN) and their dependents.
USCIS processing fee increases
USCIS processing fees for applications and petitions for benefits will change on Nov. 23, 2010. Therefore, all applications and petitions filed on or after Nov. 23, will need to include the new fee. While a few fees will go down (see change of status application fee), most are increasing. For a chart with comprehensive information please check the NAFSA website.
The primary fee changes that will affect the VCU international population are:
|Application to replace I-94 card||
|from $320 to $330|
|H-1B and TN initial or extension petition filing fee||
|from $320 to $325|
|Permanent residency petition for alien employee||
|from $475 to $580|
|Application to adjust to permanent residency||
|from $930 to $985|
|Change of nonimmigrant status application fee||
|from $300 to $290|
|Waiver of the two year home residency requirement||
|from $545 to $585|
|Employment authorization card application||
|from $340 to $380|
|H-1B premium processing||
|from $1,000 to $1,225|
USCIS processing time increases
USCIS processing times have increased for most applications and petitions for benefits. In spite of USCIS website estimates, GEO-IS experience indicates that the following procedures are taking these times:
- Changes of nonimmigrant status: approximately three months
- Applications for employment authorization: approximately four months
- H-1B initial and extension petitions without premium processing: approximately five months
Please keep these time frames in mind when submitting your applications and petitions to our office.
Part-time H-1B employees
All VCU employees on part-time H-1B visas and their employing departments must keep exact, written documentation of the hours the H-1B employee has worked on a weekly basis.
The original records must be kept in the employing department’s personnel file and a copy must be sent to the address below on March 31, June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 31 each year. For more information, please call immigration services at (804) 828-0595.
Virginia Commonwealth University GEO – Immigration Services
817 West Franklin Street
P.O. Box 843043
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3043
Starting Jan. 20, 2010, international citizens planning to visit the U.S. using the Visa Waiver Program will need a valid ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization) approval. ESTA will collect the same information included on the I-94W — the form that travelers complete on the airplane en route to the U.S. ESTA applications are online and may be completed any time before the planned travel, though it is recommended to start as soon as travelers begin their trip planning. ESTA approval is generally valid for two years and for multiple entries to the U.S.
The following resources provide additional information that may prove useful during your stay at VCU.
- City of Richmond
- Internal Revenue Service
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators
- U.S. Social Security Administration
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
- Virginia Department of Taxation