International Scholars


Your Obligations as a Sponsored J-1, H-1B, TN, E-3 or O-1

Immigration status is a federally-derived benefit involving the discretionary authority of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and the Department of Labor. Issuance of documents and their corresponding privileges are contingent upon attestations made by IPSO personnel based on information provided by both applicants and their Augusta University hosts. Sponsored employees and visitors are only authorized for employment and/or activities as they have been represented to the U.S. government. Failure to limit your activities to those as represented can result in your employment termination and/or loss of immigration status. Such actions could also have a negative impact on future petitions to the U.S. government. If IPSO is made aware of such violations, your program will be terminated immediately. If you are considering any change to your employment or sponsored visitor activities, please contact IPSO prior to taking any action. 

Use of Outside Legal Counsel

IPSO personnel are charged with representing the interests of Augusta University. In general, Augusta University is prohibited from authorizing outside legal counsel to represent its interests in immigration matters. IPSO will petition for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas in cases that are supported by deans or department chairs and deemed otherwise appropriate. The dean or department chair and IPSO must approve and sign any petition or labor certification for which Augusta University is the sponsor. If you wish to consult an attorney for the sections of those forms and procedures that are not part of the Augusta University 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 for references from Augusta University or other academic institutions before signing a contract for services.

Immigration Services Limitations

IPSO  was established to represent Augusta University colleges and departments in 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. These include:

  • J-1 Waivers
    J-1 Exchange Visitors are responsible for seeking their own J-1 waivers, and may refer to the U.S. Department of State website for more information.
     Augusta University personnel employed in J-1 status should inform their colleges or departments before taking any steps in the J-1 waiver process.
  • Any Family-based Matters, including
    • I-539 Applications to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status for Family Members
      Because this is a personal matter, we only file I-539 applications when associated with an H-1B, O-1, E-3 or TN visa petition that we will be submitting.
    • I-485 Adjustment of Status Advice
      The final stage of the permanent residency application process is to complete and file Form I-485, application for adjustment of status. It is the process by which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determines your personal eligibility for permanent residency. Because it is a complex process involving many supporting documents, and any error or omission can result in serious delays or consequences, we strongly recommend that you hire a private attorney specializing in immigration law to prepare this application for you. This process does not involve Augusta University as your employer, and IPSO cannot prepare this application for you. If your Augusta University-sponsored I-140 application is approved, it is your responsibility to complete the Adjustment of Status phase on your own. All fees associated with the Adjustment of Status step of the permanent residency process are the responsibility of the applicant.