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Work Visas

H Visa

H-1B Visa

This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.

Workers in a specialty occupation and the following sub-classifications:

H-1B1 – Free Trade Agreement workers in a specialty occupation from Chile and Singapore.
H-1B2 – Specialty occupations related to Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects or Co-production projects.
H-1B3 – Fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

An H1B visa entitles the holder to live and work in the US temporarily. An H1B visa is usually granted for an initial period of 3 years and extensions may be granted. Foreign workers with an H1B visa are permitted dual intent, meaning the applicant can maintain H1B visa status while applying for a Green Card to remain in the US permanently.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (H4 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the US. Accompanying spouses and children are entitled to study in the United States but are not entitled to undertake any employment without obtaining an appropriate work visa.

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H-2A

An H2A visa is a temporary work visa for foreign agricultural workers with a job offer for seasonal agricultural work in the US. The H2A visa program is open to nationals of countries that the United States Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate and is revised annually.

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H-2B

An H2B visa is a temporary work visa for foreign workers with a job offer for seasonal, non-agricultural work in the US. The H2B visa program is open to nationals of countries designated by the United States Secretary of Homeland Security and is capped at 66, 000 visas per year (from October 1 – September 30).

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H-3 

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category allows foreign nationals coming temporarily to the United States as either a:

  • Trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the foreign national’s home country.
  • Special Education Exchange Visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

  
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J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR VISA

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

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L-1A INTRACOMPANY TRANSFEREE EXECUTIVE OR MANAGER

The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

  
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L-1B INTRACOMPANY TRANSFEREE SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE

The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures

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O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

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R-1 TEMPORARY NONIMMIGRANT RELIGIOUS WORKER

An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by:

  • A non-profit religious organization in the United States;
  • A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
  • A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.

This visa program is intended for religious workers whose lives are dedicated to religious practices and functions, as distinguished from secular members of the religion.

To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bonafide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition.

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