Employment Visa & Green Cards and Student Visas
H Visas: Temporary Workers
H-1B: Specialty Occupations, Fashion Models
Professional workers with at least a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent work experience) may be eligible for a non-immigrant visa if their employers can demonstrate that they are to be paid at least the prevailing wage for the position.
H-2B Temporary Worker: Skilled & Unskilled
Employed in a nonagricultural position that are seasonal, intermittent, or a one time occurrence. Potential qualifying positions include travel agents, restaurant workers, resort workers, amusement park workers, and landscape workers.
H-4 Spouse or Child of H-1, H-2
May be obtained by a H visa holder’s spouse and minor children. The H-4 holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the H visa holder remains in legal status. May not accept employment. H-4s may engage in full-time study.
L Visas: Intra-company Transferee
L-1 visas transfers a foreign national from a company abroad to the same company within the United States. The foreign national must have worked abroad for at least one continuous year within the past three years in a related business entity in a manager/executive or specialized knowledge staff capacity.
An executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff for a key function, department, or subdivision of the employer. Initial petition will be approved for three years and can be renewed up to a total of 7 years.
L-1B Specialized Knowledge
Foreign national has knowledge of the company’s products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. The knowledge must relate exclusively to the petitioner’s business. Initial petition will be approved for 3 years and can be renewed once for 2 years for total of 5 years.
L-2 Spouse of L-1
May be obtained by an L-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor children. May remain in the U.S. as long as the L-1 holder remains in legal status. May apply for work permit. May engage in full or part time study.
0 Visas: Workers with Extraordinary Abilities
O-1 Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics
Foreign nationals who have received major prizes, awards, or other recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics and with a job offer from a U.S. company. There is no prevailing wage requirement, may be extended indefinitely and there is no numerical limit to the number of O-1 visas issued.
O-2 Alien’s (support) Accompanying O-1
Designated for essential support personnel of O-1 visa holders in a specific athletic or artistic event, or in the motion picture or television industry. O-2 visas are not available for those who accompany or assist O-1 visa holders in education, science, or business.
O-3 Spouse or Child of O-1 or O-2
May be obtained by an O-1 or O-2 visa holder’s spouse and minor children. An O-3 visa holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the O-1 or O-2 visa holder remains in legal status. An O-3 visa holder may not accept employment; must obtain a work visa. May engage in full or part-time study.
P Visas: Athletes & Entertainers
P-1 Individual or Team Athletes & Entertainment Groups
Internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams entering the U.S. to participate in an event of international standing. Entertainers and entertainment companies recognized internationally as outstanding to tour the U.S. or participate in events. Distinguished circus artists who wish to work in the U.S.
P-2 Artists & Entertainers in Reciprocal Exchange Programs
Artists, entertainers, and entertainment troupes or bands entering the U.S. through a government recognized reciprocal exchange program and their support personnel.
P-3 Artists & Entertainers in Culturally Unique Programs
Artists and entertainers entering the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach a culturally unique program and their support personnel.
P-4 Spouse or Child of P-1, 2, or 3
Spouse and children of P visa holders accompanying the P visa holder to the U.S. The P-4 holder may not accept employment; must obtain a work visa. May engage in full or part time study.
NAFTA Visas: North American Free Trade Agreement
TN Trade Visas for Canadians and Mexicans
A special category has been set up for nationals of Canada and Mexico under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement with a bachelors degree and a job offer from a U.S. company.
TD Spouse or Child Accompanying TN
Spouse and children of TN visa holders who wish to visit or accompany the TN visa holder to the United States.
Employment Based Green Cards
Sponsoring employers needs to file a labor certification with the Department of Labor.
Labor certifications are filed through PERM. The U.S. Department of Labor will approve a labor certification if it can show:
1. That there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available in the geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed.
2. Foreign workers displace no American workers. Evidence for this can include job postings as well as training programs.
Once labor certification is approved, the employer can file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. In some cases, the immigrant petition (Form I-140) may be filed at the same time that Form I-485, Adjustment of Status is filed, known as “concurrent filing.”
Once the applicant is issued an immigrant visa number he/she can pursue a Green Card.
If the applicant is in the U.S., he/she can then apply for an adjustment of status or if the applicant is outside the U.S. the applicant can apply for consular processing.
In other cases, highly skilled workers, those with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors/entrepreneurs are given priority to immigrate through several immigrant categories.
Business Based Green Cards
EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers and Multinational Executives and Managers
Individuals in this category can petition for permanent residency without having to go through the time consuming labor certification process.
EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business
Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process. The labor certification involves a testing of the job market to demonstrate that the potential visa holder is not taking a job away from a U.S. worker. In cases where an individual can show that his entry is in the national interest, the job offer and labor certification requirements can be waived.
EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals
Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process.
EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers
Certain religious workers are eligible for U.S. legal permanent residency and green cards.
EB-5 Investor/Employment Creation Visas
Under the 1990 Immigration Act, Congress set aside up to 10,000 visas per year for alien investors in new commercial enterprises who create employment for ten individuals.
F Visas: Academic Students
F-1: Academic Student
Allows entry for students to pursue full-time academic studies in a college, university, seminar, conservatory, private academic high school, or language-training program. The student may work 20 hours per week on campus, but must demonstrate economic hardship if off campus employment is desired.
F-2: Spouse or Child of F-1
May be obtained by an F-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor child. The F-2 holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the F-1 holder remains in legal status. However, the F-2 holder cannot accept employment and must obtain a work visa is employment is desired. The F-2 may engage in full or part time study.
J Visas: Exchange Visas
J-1: Visas for Exchange Visitors
A nonimmigrant exchange visitor for the purpose of educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the US Department of State and the Exchange Visitor Program and Designation Staff.
J-2: Spouse or Child of a J-1
May be obtained by a J-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor child. The J-2 holder may remain in the U.S. as long as the J-1 holder remains in legal status. A J-2 visa holder may apply for a work permit and may engage in full or part time study.
M Visas: Vocational Student or other Nonacademic Student
M-1 Vocational Student or other Non-academic Student
Nonimmigrant visa allowing foreign students to pursue vocational or non-academic studies, other than language training in the U.S. Limitations of M-1 include inability to transfer schools without USCIS permission, change in course of study, work off-campus without USCIS permission.
M-2 Spouse or Child of M-1
May be obtained from a spouse and minor child of a M-1 holder. M-2 holders may study in elementary,
secondary, or vocational and recreational school; may not seek admission in a University or accept employment.