Work Visa Assistance from Immigration Attorneys
Consultation with an immigration attorney will help you and/or your employer determine for which of the many nonimmigrant / work visa types you are eligible, since the visa and work documentation requirements vary widely. The typical work visa will mandate nonimmigrant intent and preclude work authorization, and the length of stay is often limited. Our immigration attorneys are always available to help you navigate the various visa and work requirements for those seeking a USA work visa.
USA Work Visa Categories & Requirements
The B-1 (Business Visitors) work visa is available to those entering the US for a short-term business project, i.e. one lasting 6 months to 1 year. The visitor may not hold productive employment or be on a US payroll, and may have only nonimmigrant intent.
Recipients of E-1 (Treaty Trader) and E-2 (Treaty Investor) work visas are citizens of a treaty county whose nationals own at least 50% of the US entity. While there is an initial period of 2 years, no maximum stay, and possible work authorization, this categories are restricted to those with nonimmigrant intent. The must be substantial trade between the US and the country of the E-1 work visa applicant, and the E-2 applicant must show substantial and active investment in the US entity, which the immigration attorney will help you demonstrate.
The E-3 (Specialty Occupation) work visa is specifically for Australian citizens with nonimmigrant intent who hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specialty field and work in a “specialty occupation.” There is an initial period of 2 years, no maximum stay, and work authorization is available. This work visa is subject to an annual quota of 10,500.
For an F-1 (Student – Optional Practical Training) visa, one must be enrolled in a full-time academic program lasting one year at minimum. One may optionally, and for no more than a year, participate in practical training in one’s field of study. Nonimmigrant intent is required, and work authorization is not available.
The H-1B (Specialty Occupation) work visa is for those who have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a specialty field and will work in the US in a “specialty occupation” for, initially, up to three years, with a maximum stay of 6 years. Further extensions may be available in limited circumstances. Immigrant intent is allow, but work authorization is not available. No more than 65,000 will be given each year to individuals with a Bachelor’s degree, and a further 20,000 are available to holders of a Master’s degree.
H-1B1 (Specialty Occupation) work visas are similar to the H-1B visas described above, but are available only to citizens of Chile or Singapore. Only 6,800 such work visas are available per year, and they are subtracted from the aforementioned H-1B quota of 65,000.
With an H-3 (Trainee) visa, one may participate in an established company training program for placement abroad, if such training is unavailable outside the US. The initial period of 2 years cannot be extended. Nonimmigrant intent is mandatory, and productive employment and work authorizations are not possible on this visa.
One can receive a J-1 (Exchange Visitor Trainee) visa under training circumstances as described above for the H-3 visa. However, it differs from the H-3 in that the length of stay depends on the program duration (typically 12-18 months), a 2-year “home residence” may be required, and work authorization may be available in some cases.
L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) work visa recipients are individuals whose foreign employer has a qualifying relationship with the US employer, who have worked for the foreign entity for at least one year, and works with the US and foreign entity in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. The initial period of 3 years can be extended to 7 years for executives or managers, or 5 years for those in a specialized knowledge position. Immigrant intent and work authorization are possible. Your immigration attorney will help you determine whether your corporation is eligible for the Blanket L program, which streamlines the processing of L visas for its employees.
An O-1 (Extraordinary Ability) work visa may be issued to employees with sustained acclaim in science, arts, business, or athletics. The initial period is 3 years, with unlimited 1-year extensions available. Dual Intent is limited, and work authorization is unavailable.
P-1 (Athletes), P-2 (Artists), and P-3 (Performer) visas are for qualifying individuals with nonimmigrant intent, and do not allow for work authorization. P-1 recipients are athletes or entertainers of international acclaim who are performing at a US event. The initial period of 5 years can be extended up to 10 years. P-2 and P-3 recipients are artists or entertainers coming to the US as part of an exchange program, or individuals seeking to perform, teach, or coach culturally unique arts or entertainment, respectively. The initial period for each is 1 year, and your immigration attorney can help you request an unlimited number of 1-year extensions.
Lastly, TN (Treaty NAFTA) work visa holders are Canadian or Mexican citizens whose proposed occupation is specified in NAFTA. They may initially stay for 3 years, with unlimited 3-year extensions available. TN visas require nonimmigrant intent, and their recipients cannot obtain work authorization.
The Work Visa and Work Requirements
Naturally, we strongly urge you to leverage the expertise of a qualified immigration attorney, who will assist you in properly documenting your fulfillment of work requirements for your work visa. The assistance of an immigration attorney thereby ensures that your work visa application is processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.