Q: Can an undocumented individual travel by plane within the United States? If so, what are the risks?
A: Neither the airlines nor federal inspectors check airline passengers’ immigration status within the 50 United States.
Of course, the individual needs proper identification to get on a plane. You can find a list at the Transportation Security Administration website at http://bit.ly/1MKZXkb.
If something happened on the plane or airport that caused the authorities to interrogate all passengers as witnesses, Immigration and Customs Enforcement might get notified. Those are rare occurrences. I know many undocumented immigrants who travel by plane within United States without problem.
Q: I have a doctorate and am a scientist doing research here in J-1 Exchange Visitor status. My J-1 status is about to expire. How can I get an employment visa or temporary work permit so I can continue my career here?
Name withheld, Bronx
A: With your expertise, you would think getting work permission would be easy. It’s not. Your best hope may be to apply for O-1 status for individuals with extraordinary ability in their field.
Many J-1 Exchange Visitors must return home for two years before they can get a green card or H-1B temporary professional work visa. Those are the most common work visas for professionals.
You are subject to the two-year home residence requirement if your government or the U.S. government funded your work here or your government has listed your area of expertise on the State Department’s “skills list.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will waive if you can prove that your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child will suffer exceptional hardship if you are forced to comply with the requirement.
If you are subject to the requirement because of home-government funding or the skills list, you can get a waiver if your government has no objection to your remaining in the United States.
J-1 visa holders can get O-1 status without complying with the home residence requirement.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.