If you wish to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, 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. That purpose might be work, schooling, a conference, etc. or to visit friends or family.
A non-immigrant visa differs from an immigrant visa in that the non-immigrant visa only allows a person to enter and stay
for a temporary period, whereas an immigrant visa holder can enter and stay permanently.
The length of time someone can stay in the U.S. depends on the visa status
under which they are admitted (for example, specialty occupation). Persons admitted in one status can often change their
status in order to stay longer--or to perform different activities. For instance, a medical school student may want to change
his or her status to an employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa once they graduate and find employment (assuming their new employer
will sponsor them). Several types of non-immigrant visas also allow a person to extend their status and thereby extend their
stay in the U.S.
Our firm can help determine the proper visa category that is right for you and assist
you with changing status from your current category to the new category. In appropriate cases, we can also obtain legal status
and work authorization for your dependent family members.
The following is a brief list of the most commonly used
temporary working visa categories:
H1-B Specialty Occupation
This non-immigrant visa classification
applies to an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation (one which typically requires a Bachelor’s
degree) or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. Under current law, there is an annual limit of 65,000 aliens
who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status. As many as 20,000 additional H-1B slots are available to graduates
of U.S. Master’s degree (or higher) programs.
L-1 Intra-company Transfers
The L-1 visa
permits multinational companies to transfer high-level and essential employees from their international offices to the United
States. The non-immigrant would work at the affiliate or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive,
or specialized knowledge capacity.
E-1 Treaty Traders
The E-1 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.
E-2 Treaty Investor
If you come to the U.S. to run an enterprise in which you have invested, you may obtain
the non-immigrant visa status of E-2 treaty investor. If you are an employee of a treaty trader investor you may also be qualified
as an E visa holder if your duties require special qualifications essential to the business. 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.
O-1 Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
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 and
accomplished business people as well as athletes considered at the top of their field.
These 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.
R-1 Religious Workers
The R-1 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.
Find out about MANY other means of obtaining a non-immigrant
visa to the U.S., by contacting us today to arrange a consultation.