Temporary Work Visas
If you want to enter the U.S. for work that will last for a fixed period of time, you will need a temporary work visas. Most temporary work visas require your prospective employer to first file a petition with USCIS. Your employer’s petition must be approved first before you may you apply for your work visa. (Exceptions to this rule are the E and TN visas.) Below are some of the most common temporary work visas that the attorneys at Lazaro Salazar Law can help you obtain.
This visa is for individuals who will be working temporarily in a job that requires specialized knowledge and the completion of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) that is directly related to your prospective employment. The U.S. government places a limit on the number of H1-B visas it issues, so it is important to work with an attorney to make sure that your petition is filed in a timely manner. The attorneys at Lazaro Salazar Law are experienced in working with employers to ensure that they meet their obligations, including the payment of “the prevailing wage,” the maintenance of a public access file, and their certification that qualified U.S. workers are unavailable for the position you seek to fill.
H-2A / H-2B
H-2 visas are for temporary or seasonal work. If your prospective work is agricultural, you will apply for an H-2A visa. If your work is non-agricultural, you will apply for an H-2B visa. Both types of H-2 visas are limited to citizens or nationals of only certain designated countries. As of January 18, 2014, the U.S. has designated 63 countries around the world whose citizens or nationals may apply for an H-2 visa, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru and the Philippines..
E-1 and E-2 visas allow citizens of a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. has signed a trade agreement) who come to the U.S. solely to conduct international trade activities (e.g., the exchange of goods or services, international banking, tourism) (for a E-1 visa) or investment of a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business (for a E-2 visa). In addition, certain employees and family members of such a person may also be eligible for an E visa and apply for work authorization.
Besides being a citizen of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty related to commerce and navigation, to be eligible as an E-1 “treaty trader,” you must additionally:
Besides being a citizen of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty related to commerce and navigation, to be eligible as an E-2 “treaty investor,” you must additionally:
L visas are for employees of a company who will work either in a managerial or executive role (L-1A) or in positions utilizing specialized knowledge (L-1B) at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of their current employer. Within the three years prior to filing your petition, you must have been continuously employed by the same employer abroad for at least one year. Unlike H-1B visas, L visas are not capped or subject to a quota. Petitioners may also apply for certain family members as dependents, and dependent spouses may apply for work authorization.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), qualified citizens from Canada and Mexico intending to engage temporarily in professional business activities may apply for a TN visa. Professionals eligible for a TN visa include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. Besides being a citizen of either Canada or Mexico in a qualifying profession, you must be able to show that:
Permanent Work Visas / Permanent Residency Through Employment
In order to qualify for most categories of employment-based (“EB”) permanent residency, your employer (also known as your “sponsor”) must first complete the PERM (“Program Electronic Review Management”) / labor certification application, which is a process designed to protect the interest of U.S. workers. For a few categories, you may self-petition (without a sponsoring employer) based on the work you will do in the U.S. (e.g., if you qualify as “extraordinary” in your field or if your work is in the “national interest” of the U.S.).
The five categories of EB permanent residency are:
This category is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability, who are outstanding professors and researchers, or who are certain multinational executives and managers.
This category is for foreign nationals who are members of certain professions holding advanced degrees and foreign nationals who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit the national interests or welfare of the U.S.
This category is for foreign nationals with at least two years of experience as skilled workers, professionals with a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent), and others who have less than two years of experience, but who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S.
This category applies to special immigrant categories such as those in a religious vocation or occupation. Before applying for EB-4 admission into the U.S., you must show that:
This category is for foreign nationals who wish to invest capital in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. that will create full-time employment for U.S. workers. The amount of the required capital investment depends on the area in which you intend to invest: if you invest in what is called a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), you must invest at least $500,000; otherwise, you must invest at least $1 million. Many towns and rural areas in the California’s Central Valley are considered TEAs. In addition to investing capital, you must also be involved in the management of the new commercial enterprise.
If you are a prospective investor, you are the one who applies to USCIS for EB-5 permanent residence. However, many investors work with Regional Centers which are involved with the promotion of economic growth and improved productivity in the regions they serve as well as job creation and increased domestic capital investment. Under ideal circumstances, these Regional Center can help facilitate your investment in a qualified commercial enterprise in the U.S. Regional Centers may not be designated as such without first applying to the USCIS. However, once they are approved, the federal government does not regulate their activity. The attorneys at Lazaro Salazar Law can help protect your interactions with Regional Centers and exercise due diligence so that your investment qualifies for an approval of EB-5 status.
The U.S. allocates approximately 10,000 EB-5 visas, but so far, this investor program has not yet reached capacity since its inception.
PERM / Labor Certification
The PERM / labor certification process is complicated and can be lengthy. It requires the cooperation of the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL must certify the following:
That your employer has actively recruited for the position you seek to fill;
That no U.S. workers are able, qualified, or willing to take the position; and
That allowing your admission as an immigrant will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of similarly situated U.S. workers.