Why Choose Klasko Immigration Law Partners?

We have been chosen by our clients and our peers in a nationally recognized legal guide as “perhaps the best in the country in the University and medical research sector.” We believe this reputation is well deserved, as we have made it our business to learn your business and immerse ourselves in the university and medical worlds. We are NAFSA’s first Global Advocate Law Firm Partner, and our attorneys serve on NAFSA committees. In addition, we are active members of NACUA and CUPA-HR. We stay abreast of, and contribute our expertise to, the issues confronting universities, hospitals and research institutions to a greater extent than other immigration law firms. Here are some reasons why our clients have selected us:

What You can Expect from Our Attorneys

To learn more about our attorneys, click here.

Industry Experience

We are known nationally for our extensive representation of universities, hospitals and research institutions and their medical and research personnel in obtaining extraordinary ability and national interest waiver immigrant petitions, O-1 nonimmigrant visas, and waivers of the two-year home country residence requirement. The firm has longstanding client relationships with universities of all sizes, from the Ivy League and major research institutions, to liberal arts colleges, state universities, and community colleges. Our clients include for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals, hospitals systems, and biomedical research institutions. We have:

  • Experience with the international office and the General Counsel’s office
  • Substantial experience in outstanding researcher/professor and O-1 petitions
  • Substantial experience obtaining research-based waivers through interested government agencies
  • Substantial experience with international medical graduates
  • Invited speakers at ECFMG’s Annual Conference
  • Regular speakers at NAFSA regional and national conference
Value Added Services for Universities, Hospitals, and Research Organizations

Included in our legal fees are many added services:

  • Free consultations to students and staff.
  • Annual campus visit, including seminar, training, and individual consultations
  • Unlimited advice and consultation by telephone or email
  • Desk References on I-9s
  • Customized case status reports upon request
  • Client Newsletters
  • Client Seminars
  • Support Materials
  • Web-based case status monitoring system

We work with you to streamline the immigration process; developing organizational systems to facilitate the immigration process and alleviate the burden on legal and human resource departments. We realize that each client has its own needs and preferences. We provide advice on suggested systems, but ultimately we defer to the client’s rules and preferences for handling the immigration function.


We provide practical, clear suggestions for handling immigration matters, but always discuss with the client the alternatives, possible issues and business risks involved. We view our work as a team effort with the client, and seek to ensure that the client agrees with and understands our strategy decisions.


The best source of information on the quality of our service is our clients. Most of our clients chose us after being represented by other firms. They are our best source of references as to how we do things differently–and better. Please ask us for client references.

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Immigration Basics for Universities, Hospitals, Research

Universities, Hospitals, Research

Frequent Questions

Social Security and ITINs

May an employee on a nonimmigrant visa obtain a Social Security Number?

Yes, as long as the employee has entered the U.S. using an employment-authorized visa. If the employee is not in a work authorized status (for example, as a visitor on a pre-relocation trip to the U.S.), the employee may not apply for a Social Security Number. After an employee arrives on an employment-authorized visa and applies for a Social Security Number, it may be six to eight weeks before a number is issued. During that time, the employee may work without a Social Security Number, and the employer can keep track of the employee’s earnings using an identifier other than a Social Security Number.

May the family of an employee on a nonimmigrant visa obtain a Social Security Number?

Generally not, unless the family member is in one of the few classes of nonimmigrant dependents who are able to obtain employment authorization (such as L-2 or E nonimmigrant spouses or J-2 nonimmigrants). For tax compliance purposes (such as opening a bank account), family members may be able to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Internal Revenue Service issues ITINs only to those persons who have a tax reporting obligation (for example, holders of an interest-bearing U.S. bank account).

May a nonimmigrant open a bank account in the U.S.?

There is no legal prohibition against a nonimmigrant opening a bank account in the U.S. However, banks must comply with all federal banking requirements which may require that the individual have a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to open an account.

May an employee on a nonimmigrant visa purchase a house in the U.S.?

Yes; however, there may be difficulty obtaining a mortgage because of the employee’s temporary status in the U.S. There are mortgage companies willing to lend to nonimmigrants; however, the terms are generally not as generous as the terms offered to permanent residents or U.S. Citizens, due to the temporary nature of a nonimmigrant’s status in the U.S. Purchasing a residence in the U.S. will have no effect (positive or negative) on the individual’s ability to adjust to lawful permanent resident status.

What is the status of children born in the U.S.?

Children born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens at birth, and may also have acquired the citizenship of their parents. Being the parent of a U.S. citizen provides few immediate benefits, however, as a U.S. citizen child may not petition on behalf of a parent for immigrant benefits until the U.S. citizen child is 21 years of age.

May nonimmigrants bring domestic employees with them to the U.S.?

Yes; however, several conditions apply. The domestic employee must demonstrate at least one year’s experience as a personal or domestic servant; the nonimmigrant and the employee must sign an employment contract guaranteeing that the employee will be employed only by the nonimmigrant and will receive the prevailing wage and free room and board; and either that the employee was employed by the nonimmigrant abroad as a personal or domestic servant for at least one year prior to the date of the employer’s admission to the United States, or that the nonimmigrant has regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) personal or domestic servants over a period of several years preceding the domestic servant’s visa application. Domestic servants are given visas in the B-1 nonimmigrant category, and should apply for an employment authorization document from the USCIS upon arrival in the United States.

Passports, Visas and the I-94 Card

What is a visa?

A visa is a permit to apply to enter the United States. Visas are different from “status,” which is the length of time an individual may stay in the U.S. after admission. There are two types of visas, nonimmigrant and immigrant. The nonimmigrant visa is issued to individuals who intend to come into the U.S. for a temporary period of stay for a specific purpose. The immigrant visa is issued to individuals who intend to live and work permanently in the U.S. Such individuals obtain “green cards” after arrival and are called permanent residents.

Who needs a visa?

Most individuals coming into the U.S. for a temporary period of stay must obtain a visa. There is an exception for individuals who are nationals of countries which are included in the Visa Waiver Program. Such nonimmigrants are not required to obtain a visa to apply to enter the U.S. as a visitor for business or pleasure (B-1 and/or B-2 visa categories), if they are staying for no more than 90 days. In addition, citizens of Canada do not generally require a nonimmigrant visa unless they are coming to the U.S. as a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor.

Is there a specific period of time for which a passport must be valid?

The length of the visa may be limited to the expiration date of the passport. In addition, U.S. immigration law requires that a foreign national’s passport be valid during all periods of time spent in the U.S., including the time during an extension of stay, so a person’s status may be limited to the validity of their passport.

How does an individual obtain a visa for entry into the U.S.?

If an individual is planning to travel to the U.S., he or she (and family members) should apply for their nonimmigrant visa(s) at the nearest U.S. embassy or consular post. Prior to applying for the visa, the applicant must obtain the necessary supporting documentation, which may include notice of the approval of a nonimmigrant visa petition by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Does a visa guarantee entry into the U.S.?

No. A visa is issued to an individual by a consular officer outside of the U.S. Having a valid visa does not necessarily guarantee a smooth entry into the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority to grant or deny admission to the U.S. In addition, CBP will determine how long an individual may remain in the U.S. This information is recorded on the I-94 card at the port of entry.

What is an I-94 Card?

The I-94 Card is also known as the Arrival/Departure Document. It serves as the registration form for individuals admitted to the U.S. as nonimmigrants. This document is created by CBP when the individual is inspected upon arrival in the U.S. The CBP inspector will endorse the I-94 with the date, place of arrival, status (i.e., F, J, H, L, etc.), and length of authorized stay. The individual keeps the I-94 Card as the official record of admission and permission to remain in the U.S. If an individual decides to remain in the U.S. beyond the date on the I-94 card, he or she must file a petition for an extension of stay with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When departing the U.S., an individual must surrender his or her I-94 Card except if travelling only to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands other than Cuba for a period not to exceed 30 days, in which case the individual may be able to use the I-94 Card to reenter the U.S.

Does an individual need a new visa every time he or she travels outside of the U.S.?

Not necessarily. An individual should examine the visa in his or her passport to determine the immigration status (H-1, L-1, J-1, etc.), number of entries permitted, and the expiration date. If the individual is reentering in the same immigration status and the initial visa has not expired and is valid for more than one entry, a new visa is not required. If he or she has changed status in the U.S. prior to departing or plans to reenter in a different status, a new visa is required.

How may an individual in a valid nonimmigrant status obtain or extend the validity of the visa in his or her passport?

Generally, individuals wishing to apply for nonimmigrant visas must make a personal appearance before a U.S. consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. Most applicants apply in their country of nationality; however, some applicants may apply in Canada or Mexico, or in other countries outside their own.

What determines the length of validity of a visa?

A visa is a permit to travel to the U.S. and apply to enter the U.S. The Consular Officer may grant a visa for as little as one month or as long as ten years, depending on the classification of the visa and the treatment given by the individual’s country of nationality to U.S. visa applicants in similar classifications. The U.S. government’s “reciprocity schedule” for each country lists maximum validity of each type of visa for nationals of each country. The validity of the visa does not affect how long an individual may remain in the U.S. on any entry. Therefore, the date on the I-94 Card may be different from the date on the visa.

What determines the length of validity of my stay in the U.S.?

The duration of a nonimmigrant’s lawful stay is recorded on the I-94 Card created by CBP when the individual is inspected upon arrival in the U.S. It may be shorter or longer than the validity of the nonimmigrant’s visa. Nonimmigrants should note the date written on this card, as it governs the time they are “lawfully present” in the U.S.

If a visa has expired and an immigration status extension is in process, may an individual leave the country?

Yes. An individual may leave the U.S.; but, in most cases, he or she must remain out of the country until the extension is approved. Once the approval notice is received, the individual must apply for a new visa at the appropriate U.S. consular post.

What happens if a valid visa is in an expired passport?

The individual should keep the expired passport with the valid visa together with the new passport issued by his or her country of nationality. It is not required — although it may be convenient — to have the visa issued in the new passport.

May an individual travel to the U.S. on a business trip while awaiting a USCIS approval notice for a visa that allows employment in the U.S.?

An individual whose overseas position requires a trip to the U.S. may travel to the U.S. on a business visa (B-1) or under the visa waiver program, but he or she must not assume any of the responsibilities of the U.S. position while in that category. In addition, he or she must remain on the payroll of the foreign company.