What is an H1B Visa?
H1B visas are temporary permits for travel and stay in the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation.
The H1B visa allows U.S. employers to recruit foreign professionals in specialty occupations to U.S. companies. The key to the H1B visa is specialty occupation.
Unlike other temporary nonimmigrant visas, the U.S. company applies for the H-1B visa on behalf of the alien, and the alien is simply the beneficiary of the application. Citizens of foreign countries may have a U.S. company apply on their behalf for an H1B visa if the job opening is a specialty occupation and the alien is qualified for the specialty occupation.
How long can I stay on an H1B Visa?
An alien can remain in the U.S. on an H1B visa for an initial period of three (3) years on an H1B visa. However, an alien can request a first extension of stay for a period of up to two (2) years, and a second extension of stay for a period of one (1) year. There is generally a maximum stay of six (6) consecutive years. The alien can also recapture time spent abroad, wherein time spent abroad does not count against the six (6) year maximum stay. The alien must opt in to recapture (put the USCIS on notice).
What is the H1B cap?
There is a limit on the number of H1B visas that the U.S. government will issue every year. The cap is generally set at 65,000 visas. The cap period begins on April 1 of each year, and is usually full within several days. Therefore, it is imperative that the petitioner-company apply for the H1B visa as early as possible.
Why apply for an H1B Visa?
Companies looking to bring in specialized knowledge from abroad and outside of their company often use the H-1B visa. Likewise, aliens can comfortably accept specialized positions in the U.S. because the H-1B visa requires the employer to pay for the worker’s return to the native country if the worker resigns or is terminated.
What are the requirements to apply for an H1B Visa?
An H1B has at least three (3) major requirements: (1) the job opening must be a specialty occupation; (2) the alien must be qualified for the specialty occupation; and (3) the employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) Form ETA 9035 with the Department of Labor.
(1) Specialty occupations include: occupations that typically require highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor, such as Biotech, Accounting, Architecture, Arts, Banking, Business, Computing, Education, Engineering, Finance, Health care, IT, Law, Marketing, Mathematics, Medicine, Physical Scientific Research, Recruiting, Sales, Social Science, Telecommunication, and Theology.
(2) Alien qualification for specialty occupation requires that the alien generally possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent (this usually entails a three (3) year foreign degree and three (3) years of relevant post-graduate experience).
What is a Labor Condition Application (LCA)?
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) is a 4-page sworn document, also known as the Form ETA 9035, that the employer must file with the U.S. Department of Labor. By signing and filing the Labor Condition Application, the employer swears that the H1B visa employee is paid the prevailing wage for the work performed, and that the employment of an alien for the job opening will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The LCA also requires the employer to swear to pay for the worker’s return home if the employer terminates the employment or if the worker resigns.
What is dual intent?
Dual intent means that the temporary visa holder can apply for a green card to become a permanent resident of the U.S. while on an H1B visa. This is one of the benefits of the H1B visa as opposed to other temporary nonimmigrant visas. The H1B visa allows for dual intent. If the H1B employer is willing, the employer can also sponsor a foreign employee in H1B status for a green card application.
Any alien applying for an H1B visa should consult an immigration attorney before filing an application.
Miami International Attorneys, P.L.
What are L Visas?
L1 visas are temporary permits for travel and stay in the U.S. The L1 visa is also known as the company transfer visa.
The L1 visa allows foreign businesses to transfer their employees to subsidiaries, branches, sister companies, or parent companies located in the U.S. This includes non-profit companies, charities, and religious organizations. Citizens of foreign countries may apply for an L1 visa if they have continuously worked for the company in their native country for at least one year out of the last three years. There are two different types of L1 visas: L1A visas and L1B visas.
What is an L1A Visa?
The L1A visa is also known as the Intracompany Transferee Executive/Manager visa. The L1A visa was created to allow alien executives and managers to transfer to the U.S. for more than a few months to manage the business in the U.S. The key to the L1A is executive/manager.
What is an L1B Visa?
The L1B visa is also known as the Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge visa. The L1B visa was created to allow aliens with specialized knowledge to transfer to the U.S. for more than a few months to facilitate the business in the U.S. The key to the L1B is specialized knowledge.
What is an L1 Blanket Visa?
The L1 Blanket visa is also known as the L1 Blanket Petition Program. The L1 Blanket visa was created to allow large multinational corporations that frequently use L1 visas to receive one approval to transfer a specific number of employees to a U.S. company. The key to the L1 Blanket is one approval for many employees.
How long can I stay on an L1A Visa or L1B Visa?
L1A: An alien can remain in the U.S. on an L1A visa for an initial period of one (1) year for a new company in the U.S.; or or three (3) years for a U.S. company with more than one year in existence. However, an alien can request an extension of stay for periods of up to two (2) years each. There is a seven (7) year maximum stay, including extensions, for an L1A visa.
L1B: An alien can remain in the U.S. on an L1B visa for an initial period of three (3) years. However, an alien can request an extension of stay for periods of up to two (2) years each. There is a five (5) year maximum stay, including extensions, for an L1B visa.
On either an L1A or L1B visa, once the alien has stayed the maximum period (5 or 7 years), the alien must leave the U.S. for at least one (1) year and continue working for the foreign company in order to reapply for an L1 visa.
Why apply for an L1 Visa?
Small or start-up companies looking to expand business in the U.S. often use the L1 visa to transfer their qualified employees to the U.S. to ensure a successful operation. Managers and executives with knowledge of the foreign company’s needs, goals, and operations can transfer to the U.S. to set up a new branch or subsidiary of the parent company abroad.
Likewise, multinational corporations often use L1 visas to develop a new market in the U.S. The corporation can transfer its specialized employees to the U.S. to ensure that the corporation’s methods, systems, ideals, and goals are properly implemented. The corporation can also use the L1 visa to implement its personnel rotation policies, gain new ideas in new cultures, innovate, and enhance company reputation. Further, even if the foreign company does not yet have a U.S. office open, the company can send an executive or manager to the U.S under an L1A visa to establish a U.S. office, or the company can send an employee with specialized knowledge of the company’s products to help establish the U.S. office.
What are the requirements to apply for an L1 Visa?
To apply for an L1 visa, the alien’s foreign company and the U.S. destination company must be related, as through a sister-sister relationship, a parent-subsidiary relationship, or an affiliated employer.
L1 visas require that the employee “must dedicate a significant portion of time on a regular and systematic basis” to the company while in the U.S. Yet, the alien does not have to be working in the U.S. on this full-time basis, and can divide work between the U.S. and the foreign country. However, merely attending conferences and meetings, training, or conferring with officials does not qualify as regular and systematic work for the L-1 visa (apply for a B visa instead).
What is dual intent?
Dual intent means that the temporary visa holder can apply for a green card to become a permanent resident of the U.S. while on an L1 visa. This is one of the benefits of the L1 visa as opposed to other temporary nonimmigrant visas. The L1 visa allows for dual intent.
Any alien applying for an L1 visa should consult an immigration attorney before filing an application.
Miami International Attorneys, P.L.
What are E Visas?
E-1 and E-2 visas are temporary permits for travel and stay in the U.S. Citizens of foreign countries (countries other than the U.S.) are eligible to obtain an E-1 or E-2 visa if their native country has a sufficient treaty with the U.S. (a treaty of commerce and navigation or a bilateral investment treaty providing for nonimmigrant entries).
What is the E-1 Visa?
The E-1 visa is also known as the Treaty Trader visa. The E-1 visa was created to allow alien business owners, managers, and employees to remain in the U.S. for more than a few months to work for a business engaged in trade between their home country and the U.S. The key to the E-1 visa is trade.
What is the E-2 Visa?
The E-2 visa is also known as the Treaty Investor visa. The E-2 visa was created to allow alien business developers and investors to remain in the U.S. for more than a few months to develop, direct, and operate the business in the U.S. The key to the E-2 visa is investment of a substantial amount of capital.
What treaty does my country need for the E Visas?
E-1 visas are based on different treaties than E-2 visas. Whether an alien’s home country has the proper treaty determines whether the alien can apply for either, or both, visas. Free trade agreements (for example, NAFTA) between the U.S. and an alien’s country allow the alien to apply for both E-1 visas (trader visas) and E-2 visas (investor visas). On the other hand, bilateral investment treaties between the U.S. and an alien’s country only allow the alien to apply for an E-2 visa (investor visa).
Refer to this chart to determine whether you are eligible for an E-1 visa or an E-2 visa:
Countries eligible for the E-1 Visa (traders):
Countries eligible for the E-2 Visa (investors):
How long can I stay on an E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa?
An alien can remain in the U.S. for an initial period of two (2) years on both E-1 and E-2 visas. However, an alien can request an extension of stay for periods of up to two (2) years each. There is no maximum number of extensions for E-1 visas, so long as the alien can show his or her intention to depart the U.S. when E-1 status expires.
What are the requirements to apply for an E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa?
An alien must meet at least three (3) major requirements:
1) The alien’s home country must have a sufficient treaty with the U.S. to allow for an E-visa (see list above);
2) Citizens of the alien’s home country must hold majority control/ownership of the investing/trading company;
3) The alien must be a citizen of the country under which the alien seeks an E-visa (see list above).
Beyond these three (3) major requirements, each E visa has further specific requirements. You should contact an immigration attorney for more information to ensure that you qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa.
Miami International Attorneys, P.L.