TEMPORARY WORK VISAS
E-1: Treaty Trader
The E-1 nonimmigrant work visas allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
E-2: Treaty Investor
The E-2 nonimmigrant work visas allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
E-3: Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia
The E-3 nonimmigrant work visas applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
H-1B: Specialty Occupation
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit “cap” of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.
This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
H-1C: Registered Nurse
The H-1C nonimmigrant work visas is for foreign nurses coming to the United States temporarily to perform services as a registered nurse in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Worker
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.
H-2B: Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.
The H-3 nonimmigrant work visas allows foreign nationals coming temporarily to the United States as either a:
Trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the foreign national’s home country.
Special Education Exchange Visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
I: Representative of Foreign Media
You may be eligible for the I, Representatives of Foreign Media, nonimmigrant visa, if you: Represent a foreign information media outlet (press, radio, film, or other foreign information media); Are coming to the United States to engage solely in this profession; and Have a home office in a foreign country.
Occupations under this category include reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join an I nonimmigrant.
L-1: Intracompany Transferee
The L-1A nonimmigrant work visas enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
O-1: Individuals with an extraordinary ability
The O-1 nonimmigrant work visas is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
P-1: Internationally Recognized Artist/Athlete
The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
Q-1: Cultural Exchange
You may be eligible for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa if you are seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The Q nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.
PERMANENT (GREEN CARD) WORK VISAS
EB-1: Priority Worker
You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:
You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.
Outstanding professors and researchers:
You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
Multinational manager or executive:
You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.
EB-2: Advanced-degree holders and Aliens of Exceptional Ability
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:
Advanced Degree: The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).
Exceptional Ability: You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
National Interest Waiver: Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.
EB-3: Professional, Skilled, and Other Workers
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.
“Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
“Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions.
The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Skilled Workers: You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States and Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers): You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
EB-4: Special Immigrants
You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:
- Religious Workers
- Iraqi/Afghan Translators
- Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
- International Organization Employees
- Armed Forces Members
- Panama Canal Zone Employees
- Retired NATO-6 employees
- Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees
EB-5: Employment Creation/Investors
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise. Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business. Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
The EB-5 investor (and his or her derivative family members) is granted conditional permanent residence for a two-year period upon the approval of the I-485 application or upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa.