Cleveland Non-Immigrant Work Visa Lawyer
Non-immigrant, or temporary, work visas provide short-term status for foreign national employees to work in the United States. These visas require foreign nationals to maintain the intent to depart the U.S. usually within a very specific period of time. Some of these non-immigrant visas allow for “dual intent,” thus permitting the foreign national’s employer to file a PERM or labor certification for them and petition USCIS for an employment based green card while they are here working. The critical determination is which temporary visa is best for both the foreign national and the company.
B-1 Business Visitors
A B-1 business visitor visa allows an individual to come temporarily to the United States. The regulations are very specific in the types of commercial activity permitted and the amount of time is generally up to six months.
E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas
E-1/E-2 visas are issued to foreign nationals whose native country has a treaty in place with the U.S. specifically conferring this type of visa eligibility. E-1 traders can obtain visas to come to the U.S. to continue international trade with the U.S. and the treaty country. E-2 investors may come to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of a business entity which the foreign national has invested substantial capital. E-1/E-2 visas are time specific and the foreign national must maintain intent to depart timely.
J-1 visa holders are a part of an exchange program. They can be students, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, business trainees and some professors and research scholars. One major issue with J-1 visas is that some of them require the foreign national to spend at least two years in either their home country or their last country of residence before changing status to another non-immigrant visa like H-1B, an L or before applying for permanent resident status. That two year requirement can be waived through a “no objection letter,” a waiver for exceptional hardship or a waiver for possible persecution.
H-1B Visas: Specialty Occupations
An H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows an employer to hire a foreign national in a specialty occupation. This visa is generally available to individuals employed in specialized occupations. Certain educational and licensure requirements must be met. This is also a “dual intent” visa allowing a foreign national to pursue lawful permanent resident status while working on their H-1B. A person with an H-1B usually gets three years time with one three year extension. Certain extensions are available beyond the six year time limit.
Please visit our H-1B page for additional information.
L visas are available to executives, managers and employees with “specialized knowledge.” L visa holders can also enter for the purpose of opening a “new office” in the U.S. The L visa is available for persons who have worked abroad for their company for one continuous year (within the preceding three years) prior to being transferred to the U.S. The L visa is a dual intent visa and executives and managers who hold L-1 visas may be eligible for permanent resident status without the need for a labor certification or PERM.
O Visas for “Extraordinary” Aliens
An O visa holder is a person who “has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.” O-1A visas are for the former and O-1B visas are for the latter. These types of temporary work visas are excellent avenues of entry to the U.S. for high-end chefs, business people without high level degrees, entertainers and professional athletes. This is critical to those foreign nationals seeking to avoid the H or L visa track.
TN Visas for Mexican and Canadian Citizens
TN visas are available for Mexican and Canadian citizens engaged in certain professional activities. TN’s are similar in style to the H-1B but there is no annual cap on the number of these visas issued. However, unlike the H-1B, TN holders must maintain intent to depart. TN holders are usually admitted to the U.S. for three years. The procedures for obtaining a TN visa is much different since they are only for our neighbor countries as those citizens may apply at the port of entry along the border or at a pre-clearance airport.