Millions of international guests enter the United States temporarily each year for work, school, tourism, visiting loved ones and more. A non-immigrant visa permits you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security to visit for a specific purpose. Non-immigrant visas differ from immigrant visas in that they only allow a person to enter temporarily, whereas an immigrant visa (green card) holder can enter and stay permanently.
The process can be confusing, but our firm can help simplify it by determining the visa category that is right for you and assisting with any status or category changes. In appropriate cases, we can also obtain legal status and work authorization for your dependent family members.
The information below will help you determine which temporary working visa category fits your situation.
The H-1B Specialty Occupation visa classification applies to an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation (one which minimally requires a Bachelor’s degree). Under current law, there is an annual limit of 65,000 aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status. This number can be increased to 85,000 since as many as 20,000 additional H-1B slots are available to graduates of U.S. schools with Master’s degrees or higher programs.
The L-1 Intra-Company Transfer visa permits multinational companies to transfer high-level and specialized knowledge employees from their international offices to the United States. The non-immigrant employee would work at the affiliate or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity.
The E-1 Treaty Traders visa allows an individual to enter the United States on a non-immigrant basis for the sole purpose of carrying on substantial trade between his or her country and the United States. The home country of the non-immigrant must have a treaty with the United States.
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows an individual to enter the United States for the sole purpose of investing in a U.S. company. Employees of a treaty trader investor company may also qualify as E visa holders if duties require special qualifications that are essential to the business or require executive or management skills. The non-immigrant must have the same nationality as the alien employer, and the home country of the non-immigrant must have a treaty with the United States.
Highly talented or acclaimed individuals may be eligible for an O visa for entry into the U.S. People who may qualify for this visa are physicians, scientists, business and other accomplished people in the arts and sports.
TN Professional visas are limited to nationals of Canada and Mexico. If you are employed in one of the sixty-three listed professions in NAFTA, you can apply for non-immigrant TN status. Most of the listed professions require either a bachelor’s degree or a licensures degree.
The R-1 Religious Workers visa permits religious workers to come to the U.S. to take on a religious occupation and perform services for their religious organization. The religious organization must already be established in the United States.
The H-2B non-immigrant program permits U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals (from certain countries) to the United States to performs non-agricultural labor or services on a temporary basis. The employment must be of a temporary nature for a limited period of time such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peak load need or intermittent need.
Contact us to learn which category is right for you.