were established in 2002 by the Office of the Vice President for
Research to support departments, institutes, faculty, staff,
centers in the strategic
recruitment and retention of alien personnel.
Our goal is to provide GHSU with an efficient and effective mechanism for departments
to recruit and retain alien personnel by facilitating the employer-based
nonimmigrant and immigrant petition process through the federal Department of
Labor and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Out functions are to process department requests for employer-based
petitions for alien personnel pursuant to Administrative Policy 1.4.21,
for specific nonimmigrant and immigrant visa types, file petitions for
new and continuing GHSU personnel, educate the GHSU community about the
requirements for proper work authorization for alien personnel and
facilitate English language
enhancement opportunities for alien personnel.
Services IPSO Does Not Provide
The International and Postdoctoral Services Office (IPSO)
was established to represent GHSU departments in employer-sponsored
immigration matters. As such, our budget includes funds allocated
by the State of Georgia. Therefore, we are prohibited from
providing any services that are essentially personal in nature to GHSU
personnel. We have attempted to define these below but we also
reserve the right to decline to provide advice we deem to be outside the
expertise of the personnel of the IPSO.
In some cases, IPSO
has made arrangements with a private practice attorney in Atlanta, Mr.
Myron Kramer, to provide you with a consular processing informational
meeting after you have secured your appointment with the consulate.
This is a fee-based service we can arrange for you, if you so desire.
The cost is $75-$150. We will schedule the appointment at your
convenience. This meeting is designed to help you prepare for the
questions you are likely to be asked by the consular office as well as
to provide you with the forms you will need to complete and present at
the appointment. If you wish to retain Mr. Kramer's services for this
opportunity, please let us know.
Any Family-based Matters
I-539 Application to Extend/Change
Because this is a personal matter, we only file I-539
applications when associated with an H, O or TN visa petition that
we will be submitting.
Most GHSU personnel pursue this waiver on their own with only the
advice of colleagues from their home country. We cannot assist you
with this process because we do not provide this service out of our
office, unless you are a foreign medical graduate who has completed
residency in the U.S. and has been serving on the faculty at GHSU for
at least 2 years.
All others seeking J-1 waivers, please refer to the following
website for further information:
http://travel.state.gov/jvw.html. Once you have secured the
Department of State approval or recommendation, we can petition for
an H-1B visa for you, pending your supervisors/mentors support. You
do not need to wait for the final I-612 approval notice from USCIS
to apply for the H visa.
I-485 Adjustment of Status Advice
Most GHSU personnel pursue this step of the permanent residency
process on their own with the advice of colleagues or with the help
of a private practice attorney. Once your GHSU-sponsored I-140
application is approved, it is your responsibility to complete the
Adjustment of Status phase on your own. We will be happy to share a
package of general information at your request.
Tax AdviceDue to the complex nature of these issues, we
respectfully decline the opportunity to advise you on these
matters. Please see our Helpful Links for a website that you may
find useful in seeking your own information.
Use of Outside Legal Counsel
In general, GHSU is prohibited from authorizing outside
legal counsel to represent its interests in immigration matters.
IPSO will petition for non-immigrant and immigrant visas in cases that
are supported by department chairs and deemed otherwise appropriate.
The department chair and IPSO must approve and sign any petition or
labor certification for which GHSU is the employer. If you wish to
consult an attorney for the sections of those forms and procedures that
have to do only with you and are not part of the GHSU application or
petition, please let us know. In our office, we maintain a list of
immigration lawyers who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers
Association (AILA). Be a careful consumer! We recommend that you
consult the AILA list before choosing an attorney for personal matters.
Further, we suggest that you ask any attorney you choose for references
from GHSU or other academic institutions before signing a contract for
Rights & Privileges of Non-Citizens
(a few to make note
Travel: You are permitted to
travel in the U.S. to different cities and states without prior
approval from any government agency. You are permitted to use
public transportation, to have a driver's license, and to rent a
car, within federal and state law and within the business practices
of transportation lines and car rental agencies. But remember that
when you travel, even in the U.S., you must carry your alien
identification and registration documents with you and present them
to appropriate law enforcement officers upon request. Citizens are
not required to carry citizen identification documents. See
our travel page for more information.
Residence and Address: You are
permitted to rent an apartment or buy a house according to your
choice, but regardless of where you live, as a non-U.S. citizen, you
are under a legal obligation to notify the USCIS about a change of
your U.S. address within 10 days of any such change. Failure to
comply with this requirement may result in misdemeanor charges,
fines, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or even deportation. After
changing your address in the United States, you should complete Form
AR-11 and mail it to the USCIS at the address indicated on the
form. The form can be found at:
Citizens are not required to report their address changes to
federal authorities in this way, though most report to the post
office to be sure their mail gets forwarded. GHSU is under no
obligation to notify the USCIS of such changes of address; rather,
the obligation lies with you as the non-citizen.
Crimes, Civil Actions and Law
If you are arrested, you have the
right to have an attorney, but the government is not required to pay
for your attorney. You must cover that expense yourself. You are
entitled to the protection of the law and you are subject to the
rules of the law. You may sue people in court or they may sue you.
Even though you may use the court system or be tried in it, you are
not permitted to serve on a jury.
Politics: You may campaign for
people running for public office, contribute to their campaigns, or
attend rallies or demonstrations for political causes. However, you
are not permitted to vote, or to run for most public offices, or to
hold certain jobs restricted to citizens.