Getting A Visa

What are the different types of Visas?

Non-immigrant Visa Categories:

What is required to qualify as a Specialty Occupation?

Qualifying as a Specialty occupation requires that you meet one of the following requirements:

1) a bachelor’s degree or higher must be normally required for the position; 2) the degree requirement is common to the industry in similar positions or the position is so complex that it can only be done by someone with a degree; 3) the employer usually requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; 4) the specific duties must be so specialized that the knowledge required to perform the job is usually associated with possessing at least a bachelor’s degree.

H-1B-must be coming here temporarily to work in a specialty occupation. Requires at least a baccalaureate degree minimum for entree that is related to the specialty occupation. It is possible for H-1B holders to change jobs and keep their H-1B status.

L-1-must be coming here temporarily and are inter-company transferees who must have 1 year of continuous employment for a firm, corporation, affiliate or subsidiary in the past 3 years. Their line of employment must fall into 1 of the 3 categories covered by L-1 visas. They must have managerial capacity, executive capacity or specialized knowledge. Managerial capacity requires that they primarily manage professionals or managerial employees. Executive capacity does not require that the employee primarily supervise but only requires that they be in charge of making big decisions in the company and supervise at a minimum level. Specialized knowledge requires that the employee have either a special knowledge of the company product or an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company.

O- are available to those with with extraordinary abilities or with achievements in the arts, entertainment, business, science, education and athletics. To qualify under arts and entertainment a high level of achievement is required and it must be evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. Qualifying under business, science, education, and athletics requires that the individual be one of a small percentage who has arisen to the very top of his field. This visa is more broadly defined and does not apply only to specialty occupations.

K-for applicants who intend to enter the United States and marry within 90 days of arrival. They must have met in person within the past two years. The marriage must be legally possible in the state in which the marriage will take place at the time the petition is filed.

E-employer sponsored employment are divided into five preferences.

E1-Priority Workers(First Preference)- need to have an immigrant petition for alien worker, Form I-140 must be filed with the USCIS. Labor certification is not required for Priority Workers.

The First preference consists of three sub-groups
1. Persons with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This sub group is very hard to fit into because it requires extensive documentation.
2. Outstanding professors and researchers must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research and must be recognized internationally. They must have a job offer from a prospective employer who is offering them a tenure or tenure track teaching at a university or other institution of higher education.
3. Multinational managers or executives must have been employed by a firm corporation, affiliate or subsidiary for at least one year in the three years preceding the alien’s application for admission into the United States. They must seek to enter the United States to continue to work for the same employer in a managerial or executive capacity.

E2-Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability(Second Preference)- Must have a labor certification, a job offer and the employer must file an Immigrant petition for alien worker, Form I-140. An applicant may apply for a national interest waiver which exempts employees from having to have a job offer and labor certification if the exemption would be in the national interest. This allows an applicant to self petition by filing the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, along with documents and any other evidence the applicant may have to prove that the waiver is in the national interest.

The Second preference consists of two sub-groups
1. Professionals holding an advanced degree which is any degree higher than a baccalaureate degree, or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of experience in their profession.
2. Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Meeting the exceptional ability threshold requires that the applicant have a degree of expertise significantly above what is normally seen in their field.

E3-Skilled workers, Professionals, and Unskilled workers(Third Preference)- Must have a labor certification, and an Immigrant petition for alien worker, Form I-140, filed by their employer.

The Third preference consists of three sub-groups
1. Skilled workers are those applicants whose jobs do not require a baccalaureate degree but require at least 2 years of training or work experience.
2. Professionals are those applicants whose professions require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or its foreign equivalent.
3. Unskilled workers are those applicants whose jobs are not temporary or seasonal and that require less than 2 years of training or experience.

E4-Certain special immigrants(Fourth Preference)- Must be petitioned by Amerasian, Widow, or special immigrant, Form I-360. Certain employees and former employees of the U.S. government abroad are exempt from the petition requirement. No labor certification is required for special immigrants. This preference covers many special immigrants including certain religious workers.

E5-Immigrant Investors(Fifth Preference)- is a conditional visa available to foreign investors who are willing to invest $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise and create ten jobs. After two years ICE checks to make sure that the investor is still in business and that his investment is still at risk before removing the condition from the visa.

F-1-is available to foreign nationals who intend to enter the United States to enroll in a full course of academic study at a college, university seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution that is approved by the Department of Homeland Security. The F-1 Visa is only limited by maintaining status. Maintaining status requires remaining in good standing and continuing to be enrolled in a degree program.

M-1-is available to foreign nationals who intend to enter the United States to enroll in a full time course of study that is vocational or non-academic training such as cooking or flight school at an institution of the United States that has been approved by both the Attorney General and Secretary of Education. M-1 students are limited to three years but six months of practical training may also be granted.

J-1-are for applicants approved to participate in exchange visitor programs. This visa requires that the individual have no intention of abandoning their foreign country permanently and is often used for education. This status does not allow the noncitizen to adjust status without first returning to their home country for two years.

TN-a foreign national may apply directly at the border for admission if Canadian and visa exempt, or at their U.S. consular post if they are Mexican. No immigrant petition for alien worker is required if the foreign national is entering the United States to work in one of the list of over 20 occupational classifications. These classifications range from accountant to lawyer and include medical professionals, scientists, social workers and teachers.

H-1B1-U.S. Singapore-Chile & E-3-U.S. Australia- applicants may apply directly at the U.S. consulate. There is no need to file a petition for alien worker. A qualified foreign national must proceed to the U.S. consular post with proof of citizenship, a qualifying job offer from a U.S. employer, a labor certification, and proof of qualifications for the job. The job offer must be a specialty occupation, and the applicant must have at least a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in experience in a field related to the position