Helping Our Clients with Temporary and Permanent Work Visa Solutions
One method of living and working in the United States is through obtaining a work visa. There are numerous types of work visas, each with their own eligibility requirements and benefits, including the duration of validity. They are generally categorized into nonimmigrant visas, which expire, and immigrant visas, which do not.
At John Nicelli & Associates, we can assist you in obtaining many types of work visas. Our Manhattan work visa lawyer has more than 30 years of legal experience and has assisted many clients find employment in the United States through work visas. We can evaluate your goals, determine what categories of work visas you may be eligible for, and guide you through each step of the application process.
H1-B Visa for Specialized Workers
While H1-B is a nonimmigrant visa, it is unique in that it permits beneficiaries to apply for lawful permanent residency thanks to its “dual intent” status. This visa requires the sponsorship by a qualifying U.S. employer and permist the beneficiary to work in a specialized, U.S.-based position they have been hired for. Applicants will have to demonstrate sufficient specialized knowledge that qualifies them for the position, typically established through a Bachelor's degree or an even greater level of education, in order to be eligible.
L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa
L-1 visas can be extremely useful if you are employed by an international company with branches or affiliates in the United States. Managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge can be permitted under this nonimmigrant visa to “transfer” to the United States branch of the company. They can also work to establish a new U.S. branch or affiliate.
L-1A visas are specifically for managers and executives, while L-1B visas are for employees with specialized knowledge or skills. Like with H1-B visas, obtaining an L-1 visa requires the cooperation and sponsorship of your employer.
You must also have worked for the company you are transferring within for at least one continuous year at some point in the 3 years preceding your planned entry into the United States. This rule is intended to reduce international companies hiring foreign national employees in a foreign branch only to immediately transfer them into the U.S. L-1 visas initially last 3 years but can renewed for up to 7 years in total, so long as you continue to work for your sponsoring employer.
O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Ability
This flexible but often-difficult-to-obtain nonimmigrant visa is granted to foreign nationals who demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievements in a specialized field. You will need a job offer from a qualifying U.S. employer and then prove the extent of your abilities to the satisfaction of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Like H1-B visas, O-1 visas are “dual intent,” meaning you can apply for a green card upon receiving one.
To prove your extraordinary ability, you will have to meet at least 3 of the following conditions:
- You have received a nationally recognized prize, award, or recognition of excellence in your field
- You have participated as a judge of the work of others in your field as part of a recognized competition
- You and your contributions to your field have been the subject of articles in major trade publications
- You have made a major contribution to your field that others in your profession regard as significant
- You have written professional articles requiring your expertise in a recognized trade publication
- You have previously been employed as a key member of a distinguished organization within your field
- You have memberships in organizations that require significant achievements of their members
- You have currently or in the past received substantial compensation consistent with the extraordinary ability of your work
O-1 visas initially last 3 years and tend to be granted more quickly than other nonimmigrant work visas. They can in many situations be extended indefinitely in 1-year increments, which can be useful if you face delays pursuing a green card. However, you may only work for your sponsoring employer with an O-1 visa. Should you lose your job or seek a new one, you will need to go through the process again.
Proving you meet the criteria for an O-1 visa can be challenging and tends to require an exhaustive level of documentation and even written testimony from your peers. Our Manhattan work visa attorney can evaluate your situation to determine if you may qualify and assist in the application process.
E-1 Treaty Traders
Many countries have trade agreements with the United States. Under an E-1 nonimmigrant treaty trader visa, foreign entrepreneurs can leverage these agreements to travel and do business with the United States. It can also be a more streamlined process in some situations, as you often do not have to deal with USCIS at all. Instead, you can apply for an E-1 visa through your country's U.S. consulate or embassy.
There are a few important caveats: In addition to being a citizen of a qualifying treaty country, the company whose business you are engaged in must be at least 50% owned by those of the same nationality. More than half of the company business's must also be between the United States and the treaty country. The business itself must involve trade, or the exchange of goods and services. Finally, E-1 treaty traders can only be issued to executives, managers, or those with specialized skills. Rank and file workers will not likely qualify.
E-2 Treaty Investors
E-2 visas are similar in nature to E-1 visas but are intended specifically for investors who seek to pump significant amount of capital into the United States economy. They carry many of the same eligibility requirements involving home treaty countries and nationality ownership stakes in the business.
The main distinguishing factor of E-2 visas is the beneficiary must invest a significant amount of money in the United States-based enterprise. As of 2020, the minimum is set at $900,000. While the investor does not need to own the business, they do have to take an active role in its operations, either as an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge. The U.S business must also be an active entity that incurs some level of commercial risk. Idle or static investments, for example, are not allowed.
EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa
EB-1 visas are similar in some respects to O-1 visas, as both require applicants possess “extraordinary” abilities or accomplishments. The key difference is EB-1 visas are permanent and grant you a green card. This immigrant visa is issued to foreign nationals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability within their field, meeting at least 3 of the conditions that also apply to O-1 visas (listed above).
It is extremely challenging to qualify for an EB-1 visa, and it gets first preference in employment-based immigration. Unlike many work visas, you do not need an offer of employment from a United States enterprise.
EB-1 Multinational Executives
Green cards are also available in the first employment-based immigration preference category for multinational executives. The eligibility requirements are fundamentally similar to those of the L-1 nonimmigrant visa.
EB-2 Advanced Degree
Green cards can be issued in this second preference category for those with advanced degrees. You must have a job offer from a United States employer for a position that requires a Master's degree or higher (or the foreign equivalent). Your prospective employer will need to sponsor you and establish that the employment opportunity requires the advanced degree. Alternatively, you can pursue an EB-2 visa if you have a bachelor's degree and at least 5 years of progressive career experience relevant to the advanced role you have been offered.
Our Team Can Help You With Permanent and Temporary Work Visas
Whether you are looking to gain a United States green card through employment or only need a temporary work visa to pursue a specific opportunity, our team at John Nicelli & Associates can help. Our Manhattan work visa lawyer can assess your situation, review your future goals for living and working in the United States, and advise you on what work visa solutions may make the most sense. We can strategize on how to pursue your work visa and do everything in our capacity to get you the results we need. We understand how important working in the U.S. can be, and we strive to give each of our clients the respect and individualized attention it deserves.