Hawaii International Student Community

We’re smarter together – Let’s collaborate!


Hawaii International Student Community is a social network


UH Manoa Student Speaks Out for Refugee Children

In a well-thought-out opinion piece in the UH Manoa newspaper Ka Leo o Hawaii, Claudia Lara takes a stand on the contentious issue of how to respond to…


Created by John Robert Egan Oct 13, 2014 at 12:49pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan Oct 13, 2014.

Tech Hui on H-1B Lottery

HISC Editor John Robert Egan's post on the H-1B Visa Lottery was featured on Tech Hui, Hawaii's high tech online networking community website. Half of all applicants were disappointed as the quota of 85,000 available visas were divided among over 172,000…


Created by John Robert Egan May 13, 2014 at 4:01pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan May 13, 2014.

Experts call for more visas for International Students and Grads

Pro-immigration reform advocates are pointing to a new report showing that more foreign students studying in American colleges and universities are pursuing…


Created by John Robert Egan May 9, 2014 at 12:06pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan May 25, 2014.

Why We Love American Universities

While Hawaii seems to be lagging in attracting International Students, the trend across the U.S. is towards sharply increasing enrollments. Why? April Xiaoyu Xu gives her reasons in…


Created by John Robert Egan Dec 1, 2013 at 10:58am. Last updated by John Robert Egan Dec 1, 2013.

The End of Green Card Limbo?

The New York Times is talking about prospects for International Students to gain some certainty in their post graduation career options through the immigration reform package moving through Congress this summer. The article is here be sure to view the video…


Created by John Robert Egan May 23, 2013 at 10:09am. Last updated by John Robert Egan May 23, 2013.



This community is sponsored by MigrationCounsel as an open forum and information exchange about immigration law issues facing International Students in Hawaii as they make the transition from graduation to careers, from student status to working visa status. We'll post useful information, take your questions, and provide a chance to communicate with other people working through the immigration process. We're smarter together- Let's collaborate!

                               Site Guidelines here: Welcome to our site.pdf

Blog Posts

New Congress may move swiftly to raise H-1B cap

Now that Republicans are in control of the U.S. Congress, it is up to them to make the next moves on Immigration Reform. Computerworld Magazine is suggesting that the GOP may want to move quickly on a business-oriented strategy, and increase the number of H-1B visas available. Can they get this done before April 1, 2015, when the new filing season opens? I won't hold my breath, but it would be welcome news for many graduating students here in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Posted by John Robert Egan on January 7, 2015 at 2:57pm

Enrollment Numbers Up, Visas Not

Posted by John Robert Egan on September 2, 2014 at 4:50pm

International Enrollments Continue to Grow

U.S. Government data show continued growth in the number of international students enrolled in U.S. schools. The largest numbers are coming from Asia, and many are studying in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.  See the report here:  http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1408/140805washingtondc.htm

Posted by John Robert Egan on August 6, 2014 at 10:34am

H-1B Visas - Not enough to go around

The Wall Street Journal explains the scarcity issue generated by the numerical limit on H-1B visas. There are just too few available for the number of qualified job seekers, including graduates from the United States' best universities and colleges.  In another WSJ article a researcher at Tuck University claims the policy of turning away qualified immigrants is costing the United States a new job every 43 seconds.  Time to rethink, I would say.

Posted by John Robert Egan on April 3, 2014 at 11:32am


H-1B Lottery Disappoints Applicant and Employers

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ran …Continue

Started by John Robert Egan May 20, 2014.

A cap-exempt worker transferring to a cap-subject job 1 Reply

Hi all,I think my case is quite unfortunate. I'd like to bring it up here so other international students are aware.I am on first-year H-1B from a cap-exempt university(A) and received a job offer…Continue

Started by Amanda H. Last reply by Amanda H Apr 19, 2013.

H-1B visas went quickly in 2012, did you miss out? 1 Reply

By now everybody who is interested in H-1B visas knows that the USCIS has closed applications for this year, having received enough applications to use up the entire quota by June 11, 2012.  This…Continue

Tags: InternationalStudent, OPT, H-1B, F-1

Started by John Robert Egan. Last reply by Amanda H Apr 16, 2013.

Congress Votes Down Student Visa Bill

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a proposed law that would provide additional visas to international students graduating from U.S. universities with…Continue

Tags: OPT, student, international, Visa, STEM

Started by John Robert Egan Sep 23, 2012.

Latest Activity

John Robert Egan left a comment for Chung-Che Su
"Aloha Chung-Che, and Welcome to the Hawaii International Student Community.   Please feel free to browse through the resources we have brought together here, and to email me directly if you have any questions.  John Robert…"
Jan 18
Chung-Che Su is now a member of Hawaii International Student Community
Jan 18
Daryl Takeno posted an event

Migration Mondays at 1833 Kalakaua Avenue, First Floor Conference Room

February 2, 2015 from 4pm to 6:30pm
On the first Monday of each month, MigrationCounsel hosts informal Q & A sessions for international students and others to answer their questions about U.S. immigration law, including the process for obtaining H-1B specialty occupation visas, E-2 treaty investor visas, and family-based lawful permanent residence.  Feel free to bring your questions about U.S. immigration law and discuss them with us.  No fee or commitment is required.See More
Jan 16
John Robert Egan posted a blog post

New Congress may move swiftly to raise H-1B cap

Now that Republicans are in control of the U.S. Congress, it is up to them to make the next moves on Immigration Reform. Computerworld Magazine is suggesting that the GOP may want to move quickly on a business-oriented strategy, and increase the number of H-1B visas available. Can they get this done before April 1, 2015, when the new filing season opens? I won't…See More
Jan 7


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Online Resources for International Students

U.S.News & World Report

Which U.S. universities provide the most financial aid for international students? A recent article in the U.S. News and World Report give some figures.

Click HERE for Article

How to get a U.S. Driver's License, for international students. Here's what you should know.

Click HERE for Article

Here's an article from the New York Times with tips for incoming International Students. Be sure to check the comments left by readers, they are even more practical than the author's suggestions.

Click HERE for article.

I found a useful article for new International Students in the U.S. News and World Report. It provides some tips on where to get help in acclimating to the new environment when arriving at a school here in the U.S.

Click HERE for article.

FAQs on H-1Bs

June 2014

The H-1B visa application season closed before I got my application in - NOW WHAT?

Unfortunately, the H-1B visa application system is quite unforgiving of late applications, they are simply returned as rejected.  Unless you have a job in a "quota exempt" category, typically with a university or the Department of Defense, you will likely have to wait until the next application cycle begins, on April 1.

We emphasize advance planning, and provide a variety of ways interested applicants can discover the timelines and milestones involved in the visa process.  Check out our website and our calendar of Migration Mondays information sessions so you will empowered with the right information when your time comes.


APRIL 2011

When should I talk to my employer/potential employer about the fact that I need a visa to take the job?

We are asked this question quite often. In general, I tell job applicants who need a sponsor to be honest, and address the issue as early as possible. If the company is willing to be your sponsor, they will need to know in order to make arrangements.  If they are unwilling, you will either need to persuade them, or move on to another employment opportunity. Either way, the sooner you and your employer know, the better.


What are the "best" majors to study if I want to get an H-1B visa after I graduate?

Of course, you should study the field you are best qualified for, or that you feel will be most satisfying for your career plan. However, it is true that some fields of study are more directly suited to the H-1B visa process than others. The federal regulations specifically recognize the following as being consistent with the requirements: architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts. So, if you are in one of these fields, you are in a good position to begin the H-1B process. If not, you may need to work a bit harder to prove to the USCIS that you are working in a "professional" position. If you are highly motivated to get that H-1B, you might consider changing majors while you still have time.

Is there a grace period for J-1 visa holders after they complete their program?

Yes, the regulations provide a 30-day grace period during which the exchange visitor, spouse and children may remain in the U.S. "for the purposes of travel."

Options for Nursing Graduates
We've had a number of inquiries lately about the visa options available to nursing graduates. Here are some of the topics we have addressed.

Is Nursing considered one of the STEM categories?
No, unfortunately Nursing is not on the Stem (Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics) list, and so Nursing grads are not entitled to the extra time in OPT allowed for STEM grads. For the complete list of STEM qualifying degree areas, we have linked to the source document under our Info Center.

Do Nursing positions qualify for the H-1B visa?
Some do, some don't. The USCIS takes the general view that Registered Nurses (R.N.) do NOT automatically qualify for H-1B status, because many R.N.s are hired based on some combination of an Associates degree, training and experience, and these positions do not have a Bachelors degree as the minimum qualification. However, positions in the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) category will generally qualify. The USCIS Memo that lists the nursing categories that qualify under their guidelines as specialized occupations for H-1B adjudication is reproduced in our Info Center.

Do I need a VisaScreen Certificate to apply for a H-1B visa?
Yes, all international students applying for a H-1B visa to work in nursing need to comply with the VisaScreen process. The process is somewhat streamlined for international students who graduate from U.S. nursing programs, you do not need to show proficiency in English, and do not need to have your degree evaluated. More information is available in the CGFNS Handbook.

Can a J-1 visa holder change to H-1B?
At our February Face 2 Face information session, I was asked if J-1 visa holders are restricted from obtaining an H-1B visa. There are restrictions on some J visas, but there is not a "blanket restriction" on all J visas.

If your J visa is subject to Section 212(e), which requires a two year commitment to residence in your home country, you may not change your status directly from J-1 to H-1B.

Also, if you are in J-1 status doing medical education or training, you may not change directly to H-1B.

However, for J-1's not subject to these specific restrictions, there is no blanket bar. If you meet all of the other eligibility requirements for the H-1B, or any other nonimmigrant visa status for that matter, you may apply through the usual methods.

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