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A visa allows an individual from a country other than the United States to come into America. A visa is required whether the individual is coming for a temporary stay or on a permanent basis. The purpose of the individual's travel to the United States determines what type of visa they must obtain.

An immigrant visa is issued to an individual who wishes to permanently reside in the United States. A nonimmigrant visa is issued to an individual who permanently resides outside the United States but they wish to be in the United States on a temporary basis for activities including:

  • Tourism;
  • Medical treatment;
  • Business;
  • Temporary work;
  • Temporary studies; or
  • Other activities that are not permanent.

There are over 20 different categories of nonimmigrant visas that are available. The number of nonimmigrant visas issued each year changes, often depending on the number that was issued in the previous year.

Whether or not a nonimmigrant visa is available may depend on the individual's country of origin. The number of visas allowed from certain countries may be more or less dependent upon the number of visas that were issued from that country during the previous year.

Travel Visa

In many countries, a travel visa refers to a particular document that is issued by a country's government and allows persons to travel to and from that country. In the United States, however, a travel visa is actually a passport. Thus, a travel visa is the official stamp or sticker that a person receives at another country's border from their border patrol officials. 

In general, travel visas typically need to be obtained for each country that a traveler plans to enter. If granted, a travel visa will permit a person to enter a certain country and stay there for a specified amount of time. Once this period expires, however, the person will be required to depart from the country and will usually have to return to their home country.

Travel Visa vs. Tourist Visa

The terms “travel visa” and “tourist visa” are often confused and used as if they have the same meaning. This is not true and a traveler should take care to remember their differences. Generally speaking, any type of visa document permits a person to travel in or out of a certain county. However, a tourist visa is an extremely specific category of visas under U.S. immigration law.

A tourist visa, also known as a visitor visa or a B visa, is a type of temporary visa that allows a traveler to enter the country for very particular reasons, including for business, pleasure, or to receive medical treatment. For instance, a nonimmigrant traveler would apply for a tourist visa if they needed to settle an estate, wanted to take an extended vacation, or had to get a surgical procedure done in the United States.

On the other hand, a travel visa refers to the stamp or sticker that is placed by a country's border officials on a person's passport upon entering a country. This is a general definition and is subject to frequent changes. This is also the current definition provided in the United States as of March 2021. It should be noted that this may not be true in other countries since many countries provide clear distinctions between a travel visa and a tourist visa.

Do I Always Need a Travel Visa?

As discussed above, the requirements for travel visas will vary widely from country to country. Although there is no overarching category of a travel visa in the United States, there are many specific types of visa that may be used to enter and return to the United States from another country.

In order to find out what type of visa a person needs before entering the United States, they should check with their country's local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is usually the case that the kind of travel visa a person needs will be based on the reason they are visiting the United States. 

If a person fails to obtain a visa before coming to the United States, then they may be subject to serious legal consequences, such as losing their immigrant status or being removed from the U.S.

For persons traveling to other countries aside from the United States, the requirements will be set by the country to which they are traveling. Some countries may issue a visa upon arrival at their border, while other countries may not even require a travel visa at all. 

In most instances, regardless of the country, a person will need either a passport or some sort of government identification document to travel abroad and to return to their country of origin. 

Requirements for a Travel Visa

As previously mentioned, the requirements to get a travel visa will vary based on the type of visa that a person is applying for as well as the requirements set by a particular country. Thus, it is very important that persons looking to secure a travel visa research and review the entry requirements of whichever country they plan on visiting. In general, some common travel requirements that may be found in more than one country can include:

    • Vaccinations and other shots: Some countries require that a person receive certain vaccinations before they travel to a particular country. This will help to immunize them against infectious diseases and reduce the chances of them spreading it to other citizens within that country or to other countries when they depart. Most countries also require that travelers get a flu shot before their trip.
    • Proof of citizenship: The majority of countries require travelers to show proof of citizenship and/or identification documents. This means that a person will need to have valid government identification documents, such as a passport, before they enter the United States or another country. This is true even for persons who are already citizens of the United States. They will need a passport to return. 
      • Some countries have guidelines that mandate that a traveler's passport does not expire within six months from the date they depart a country to travel abroad. The United States happens to be one of the countries that has this requirement. Thus, travelers taking a trip outside of the U.S. would be wise to renew their passport before departing if they plan on returning to live or stay in the U.S.
          • Another passport requirement that may be found in some countries is that a person have at least three blank pages left in their current passport before traveling to other countries from the U.S.
    • Miscellaneous requirements: Countries may implement a number of different requirements, such as fingerprinting visitors upon entry, showing proof of a return airline ticket and hotel reservations, taking a picture of a traveler when they first arrive, demonstrating proof of health and/or travel insurance, giving a reason for why they are traveling to a certain country, showing proof of monetary funds for the trip, and so on. 

The above list is only a bare minimum of the types of travel requirements that an individual country may demand. Thus, if a traveler is unsure of what they must do to travel outside and then return to the United States, then they should speak to an immigration lawyer before they embark on their trip. 

B-2 Visitor Visa

A B-2 visa is a category of temporary visas. This type of visa is used by individuals from other countries who come to the United States to travel for pleasure or who seek medical treatment.

Application Process for a B-2 Visa

In order to obtain a B-2 visa, the applicant must demonstrate the following:

  • The purpose of their trip is for pleasure;
  • The trip is limited to a specific period of time; and
  • Due to social and economic ties outside the United States, the applicant will return abroad at the end of their trip.

The application process for a B-2 visa is fairly straightforward. An individual is required to:

  • Fill out a United States government form;
  • Prepare documents, including:
    • An itinerary;
    • Financial documents;
    • Proof of ties to the applicant's home country;
  • Pay the necessary fees; and
  • Visit the United States consulate for a personal interview.

It is very important to take the application process seriously. If the applicant fails to present a complete application, they may be one of the many applicants who are denied a B-2 visa each year.

The government form required for the application, the DS-160, or Nonimmigrant Visa Application can be completed online. This form can be found on the State Department Website. This form as well as the remaining documents will be required at the visa interview.

The visa application fee is $160.00. This payment is required prior to the consulate interview. It is important to check the U.S. Consulate where the application is being submitted to determine where the payment must be made. There may be an additional fee if the applicant's country requires one, called the visa reciprocity fee, which can be paid at the time of the interview.

There are several other required documents, including:

    • A passport with an expiration date at least 6 months later than the applicant's intended stay in the U.S.;
    • One passport-style photo of the applicant, guidance for which is provided on the U.S. State Department's website;
    • Documents outlining the purpose of the trip, which may include a travel itinerary or a hotel booking. These documents should also provide proof of an intent to leave, such as the plane ticket home;
    • Evidence that the applicant will return to their home country, which may include a long-term apartment lease or a written letter from the applicant's employer stating their job will be available upon their return; and
  • Proof of the applicant's ability to cover their expenses while they are visiting the United States, which may include bank statements or pay stubs.

Examples of B-2 Activities

There are several examples of B-2 visa activities. These include:

  • Tourism;
  • Visiting family and friends; and
  • Obtaining medical treatment.

The definition of activities provides for a broad range, from taking a class to sightseeing. It is not permissible, however, for an applicant to visit the United States for the purpose of working for pay. This is the case even if the activity is to engage in an activity that may provide prize money. For example, an applicant could not obtain a B-2 visa to travel to the U.S. in order to participate in an athletic competition that includes a cash prize.

A B-2 visa does not permit conducting business activities such as:

  • Attending a trade convention;
  • Giving consultations;
  • Selling international products; or
  • Serving as a missionary or minister.

These types of activities would be permitted under a B-1 visa. A B-1 visa is a combination of the B-1 and B-2, which allows the applicant to engage in the previously mentioned business activities.

A B-2 visa does not include working as a member of the foreign press or information media. There is a separate visa for those activities, the I visa. Additionally, intent to commit a crime does not qualify an applicant to receive a B-2 visa.

Obtaining Medical Treatment

A B-2 visa may be issued to permit the applicant to travel to the United States to receive medical treatment. In addition to the application process discussed above, the applicant must provide information regarding their medical treatment, including:

  • A doctor's diagnosis of the applicant's condition and why treatment in the United States is necessary;
  • A letter from a hospital or doctor in the United States that includes:
    • A statement indicating the doctor or hospital's willingness to treat the applicant's condition;
    • An estimate of all medical costs and fees;
    • An estimate of duration of treatment; and
    • Evidence that the applicant and/or their sponsor have sufficient funds to cover their travel and medical expenses.

Hosting a Visitor

If you wish to host a visitor, that individual must also obtain a visa and qualify on their own. They can consult an attorney to ensure the application has all required information and is complete. An attorney can also advise the applicant on the standards for visa issuance.

Other Uses of the B-2 Visa

There are several other ways a B-2 visa can be used that would be considered nontraditional. For example, an individual accompanying an individual with a B-1 visa or certain other temporary visas may obtain a B-2 visa.

Family or other household members of an individual who is coming to the United States on another temporary visa, such as a student or diplomat, who do note qualify for an automatic visa of their own may obtain a B-2 visa. This may include their spouse or minor child.

A B-2 visa may also be used to prevent separation from unmarried domestic partners, elderly parents, and other individuals. Additionally, an individual who wishes to get married in the United States but is not planning to apply for a green card could obtain a B-2 visa. An immigration attorney would be able to advise an individual regarding the possibilities of using a B-2 visa in a nontraditional manner.

Aliens with Extraordinary Ability Visa

Although it is technically classified as an employment visa, the Extraordinary Ability Visa is not tied to a job, but to an individual. Successful applicants are truly unique individuals that have a world-class mastery in a particular field.

According to the statute, the applicant must show “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.” To demonstrate “extraordinary ability” an applicant must either have won a top tier award, such as a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, Oscar, or Olympic Medal, or provide 3 of the 10 items below:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  • Evidence of membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  • Evidence of published material about the individual in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence that he or she has been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  • Evidence of his or her original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  • Evidence of his or her authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence that his or her work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  • Evidence of his or her performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  • Evidence that he or she commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  • Evidence of his or her commercial successes in the performing arts.

Getting an Extraordinary Ability Visa is very difficult because the requirements are so exacting. During each of the past few years, only a few thousand Extraordinary Ability Visas were granted. Individuals may apply for an Extraordinary Ability Visa with or without a specific job lined up but must only intend to keep working in the field they are excelling in.

The immediate family members of people who are granted an Extraordinary Ability Visa may also apply for permanent residency. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are generally granted permission to accompany the visa holder, and may legally reside, work, and study in the United States. After five years, the visa holder and his or her spouse and children are typically able to apply for citizenship.

Applicants who are interested in applying for an Extraordinary Ability Visa but are not sure they can meet the demands should discuss their background with an experienced immigration attorney. An attorney can advise applicants about other types of visas that may be easier to obtain.  Contact our office today for a consultation relating to your Extraordinary Ability Visa or other immigration matter.

Religious Worker Visa

There are several options available to foreigners who are called to do religious work in the United States. Which option is most appropriate depends on the nature of the work and its duration.

Visitor B Visa for Temporary Religious Activity

Certain religious related activities can be undertaken using a visitor (B) visa, which is relatively easy to obtain.

People who wish to travel to the United States for religious activities - such as worship, prayer, meditation, informal religious study, or attendance of religious services or conferences - can typically obtain a regular visitor (B) visa.

A visitor visa is also appropriate for ministers seeking to come to the United States temporarily, if their wages will be paid by their own religious group outside the United States.

R-1 Visa for Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

Religious workers who will only be in the United States temporarily may be eligible for an R-1 Visa. Both the worker and the organization he or she is working for must meet certain criteria. In short, the worker must prove he or she will work at least part time, and the organization must prove its legitimacy and explain how the worker will be compensated.

An R-1 religious worker's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be able to accompany the R-1 worker.

EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrant Religious Workers

Religious workers who plan to immigrate to the United States permanently can apply for an EB-4 Visa.

EB-4 stands for employment-based fourth-preference, meaning that the applicant's status is tied to the job at hand. Only 5,000 non-ministers can be issued a religious based EB-4 each year. There is no similar limit on ministers seeking an EB-4, however, only 7.1 percent of the approximately 140,000 employment-based visas granted each year are awarded to “fourth-preference” applicants, of which religious workers are just one type.

To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, the foreign national must:

  • Have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition for this status with USCIS.
  • Seek to enter the United States to work in a full time (at least 35 hours per week), compensated (salaried or unsalaried) position in one of the following occupations:
    • Solely as a minister of that religious denomination;
    • A religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity;
    • A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or
    • A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States.
  • Be coming to work for either:
    • A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
    • A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.
  • Have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in lawful immigration status in the United States, continuously for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS. The prior religious work need not correspond precisely to the type of work to be performed. A break in the continuity of the work during the preceding two years will not affect eligibility so long as:
    • The foreign national was still employed as a religious worker;
    • The break did not exceed two years; and
    • The nature of the break was for further religious training or for sabbatical that did not involve unauthorized work in the United States. However, the foreign national must have been a member of the petitioner's denomination throughout the two years of qualifying employment.

The religious organization must provide documentation of their tax-exempt status and explain how the religious worker will be compensated. Applying for a religious worker visa can be a complicated affair.  It is best to consult with a qualified immigration law attorney if you are seeking to enter the United States under such a status.  Contact our office to discuss this matter today.

Multinational Executives and Managers Visa

The United States issues over 100 different types of visas, but one of the most desirable is the Multinational Manager or Executive Visa, also known as the EB-1C or EB-1-3. These visas are reserved for mid to high level employees of multinational businesses who are being asked by their employer to move to the United States.

In order to qualify for a Multinational Manager or Executive Visa, an applicant must meet certain requirements:

  • The applicant must have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.
  • The applicant's employment outside of the U.S. must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the applicant must be moving to the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • The applicant's employer must:
    • Be a U.S. employer;
    • Have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed the applicant abroad; and
    • Provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.
    • The applicant must also file all the required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations.

Unlike most other employment based visas, the Multinational Manager or Executive Visa does not require a labor certification. This means that the employer does not need to prove that there is a lack of qualified workers already living in the United States. This somewhat shortens the processing time compared to other employment based visas, but the waiting period for a Multinational Manager or Executive Visa is still hard to predict.

The Multinational Manager or Executive Visa is one of the three types of “first preference” employment visas (hence the EB-1 abbreviation). First preference applicants receive 28.6% of the approximately 140,000 employment-based visas issued each year. Compared to other types of visas, the Multinational Manager or Executive Visa actually gives applicants a good chance of being approved, although there can still be a long wait because employment-based visas are issued in the chronological order in which petitions are received.

The immediate family of a Multinational Manager or Executive Visa holder, including spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, are allowed to apply for visas as well. Usually, after five years, the entire family can apply for citizenship.

Although the Multinational Manager or Executive Visa filing process is relatively straightforward, it can still be confusing to someone that is unfamiliar with immigration laws. An experienced immigration attorney can help the applicant put together a complete application so that he or she has the best chance of being granted the visa.   For a consultation, contact our office today.

Outstanding Professors/Researchers Visa

There are few countries in the world that value innovation and education as strongly as the United States. Although America is proud of its native scholars, it has also made welcoming exceptional researchers and professors from around the world a priority. Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visas, also known as EB-1B or EB-1-2 visas, are reserved for exceptional academics that have been offered employment in their field in the United States.

In order to qualify for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa, an applicant must:

  • Demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field;
  • Have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area; and
  • Be entering the United States in order to accept tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.

In order to demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, the applicant must include documentation of at least two of the items below:

  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  • Evidence of membership in associations that require members to demonstrate outstanding achievement.
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field.
  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field.
  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field.
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.

The applicant's potential employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, with the USCIS. However, unlike most other employment based visas, the Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa does not require a labor certification. This means that the employer does not need to prove that there is a lack qualified workers already living in the United States. This somewhat shortens the processing time compared to other employment based visas.

The Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa is one of the three types of “first preference” employment visas (hence the EB-1 abbreviation). First preference applicants receive 28.6% of the approximately 140,000 employment-based visas issued each year. While applicants who apply for the Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa have a good chance of being approved as compared to those that apply for other types of visas, there can still be a long waiting period as employment-based visas are considered in the order they are received. 

The family of workers who are granted an Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa may also apply for visas. Not all family members are eligible, but, immediate family, such as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, generally are. The parties can then usually apply for citizenship after five years.

Not every academic who meets the criteria above will actually qualify for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa. “Outstanding” is in the title for a reason - very good will not cut it. An experienced immigration attorney can help applicants assess their achievements to determine if this is truly the best type of visa to apply for.  Contact us today for a consultation regarding your application for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher Visa.

E1 and E2 Visas

The U.S. has special treaties related to commerce with a number of countries.  These treaties allow individuals from such countries who need to travel to the U.S. for substantial trade and business- related activities to obtain Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visas.

Requirements: E-1 Treaty Trader

Individuals from qualifying treaty countries who want to apply for an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa must meet certain requirements, such as:

  1. The company which is seeking to conduct trade in the U.S. must be based in the same treaty country of the individual.
  2. There must be a significant amount of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  3. The individual must have specialized skills and be in a management position of the company which is conducting trade.

Requirements: E-2 Treaty Investor

Individuals from qualifying treaty countries who want to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa must meet certain requirements, such as:

  1. There must be sufficient amount of investment to ensure the success of the underlying business.  It should also have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  2. The investment must be for an active, operating business and not a passive or speculative investment.
  3. If the individual applying for the visa is not the investor, he or she must be in a management position at the company making the investment.

Helping Applicants Navigate the Application Process

Individuals who want to apply for an E-1 Treaty Trader or E-2 Treaty Investor Visa generally apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Applicants must submit a myriad of documents and forms and go through an interview process.  Our firm is adept at assisting individuals involved in trade or investment in navigating the complex process and necessary paperwork required for such visas.

Business Visas

Each year, thousands of employers in the United States hire foreign nationals to join their businesses and organizations. These foreign workers often bring highly specialized knowledge to their respective fields, add cultural diversity to the workplace and help U.S. employers maintain competitive advantage in the global market. Despite the many benefits these foreign nationals bring to the United States' economy, business immigration procedures are often complex and the legal processes overwhelming.

Our firm will guide you through the maze of immigration processes, from the hiring to the transfer of foreign workers. With our experience working with all types of organizations and businesses and our vast knowledge of United States citizenship and immigration law, we can help you explore the options for work authorization and assist you with the documentation requirements necessary to obtain the appropriate visa.

Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas

H-1B Specialty Workers Visa

One option available to employers is the H-1B Visa which allows businesses to sponsor highly skilled foreign nationals in specialized occupations to come work in the United States on a temporary basis. These specialty occupations include, but are not limited to: IT, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Engineering, Teaching, Medical, Legal, and Telecommunications. To qualify for the H-1B Visa, foreign nationals must have a minimum of a Bachelors degree in their specialized field. 

In order to obtain an H-1B Visa, the employer must submit a completed Labor Condition Application which outlines that 1) the employment of the foreign national does not harm American workers, 2) the foreign worker will be paid the prevailing wage for the industry in which they will work, and 3) the employer will not employ the foreign national in the event of a strike or lock-out.  Once the application is approved, the employer must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The United States Government places a cap on the number of foreign workers, issuing a limited number of H-1B Visas per year. With great demand and limited supply, it is important that you consult an attorney who understands the extremely detailed process of obtaining work authorization in the U.S. We assist in the preparation of the petition, application and review all supporting documentation to ensure that you do not fall victim to the common H-1B Visa pitfalls which lead to the rejection of many applications each year.

H-1C Nurse Work Visa

The H-1C Visa program allows foreign nurses to work in the United States for a maximum of three years in a health professional field where there is a labor shortage. In order to obtain the H-1C Visa, the nurse must be fully licensed in the country of his/her professional education and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Just a few hundred H-1C Visas are issued to qualified candidates each year. It is important to note that individual states also impose a cap on H-1C Visas dependent upon the latest population figures. Our firm can help you determine specific state restrictions, demonstrate eligibility and assist you in the preparations of all H-1C documentation.

H-2 Temporary or Seasonal Work Visa

The H-2 Visa allows employers to bring temporary workers to the United States to fill a job opening for a specified time period up to one continuous year. The employment must be a one-time need based opening due to a labor shortage in the United States, or be fulfilling a temporary or cyclical need. In order to obtain H-2 Visa, the employer must obtain a Temporary Labor Certificate from the United States Department of Labor asserting that no American workers will be displaced by the hiring of foreign nationals, and that the foreign national will be paid the prevailing wage for American workers in the same position. Once the employer has obtained the Temporary Labor Certificate, a petition must be filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services verifying that the position is temporary. The H-2 Visa process varies depending on whether the foreign worker is an agricultural or non-agricultural worker. Contact our firm to discuss the necessary requirements to obtain temporary worker authorization through the H-2 Visa program.

H-3 Professional Training Visa

Companies that have training programs to educate individuals in a specific industry are able to sponsor foreign participants by obtaining the H-3 Visa. The H-3 visa allows foreign nationals to temporarily live in the United States for a specified period of time (the duration of their training) in order to train with a U.S.-based  company in various occupations including commerce, agriculture, finance, government and business. It is important to note that individuals receiving medical training are not eligible for this Visa program.

In order to qualify for the H-3 Visa, an individual must be invited by an organization, company or American citizen for training which is not available in the foreign national's home country. Applicants seeking the H-3 Visa must file a petition proving that they will not be employed in the United States beyond what is necessary for their training and that the experience will benefit the trainee in pursuing a career outside the U.S. upon the completion of the program. Although there is no cap on the number of H-3 Visas issued each year, it is important to consult with an attorney who has experience with business immigration to ensure the proper steps are taken in each phase of the application and petition process.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Work Visa

Businesses may hire foreign employees with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” to come work temporarily in the United States. A genetic engineer who has written extensively on modified food or an Olympic athlete who has won multiple medals in their respective sport are examples of qualified applicants for the O-1 Visa. In order to qualify for this visa program, the foreign national must prove their high level of expertise in a given field by winning an internationally-recognized award, such as the Noble Prize, or by meeting three of the following criteria to prove extraordinary ability:

  • Professional publications written by others documenting the individuals work in a particular field.
  • Evidence of the foreign national's participation as a judge on the work of others within their field of specialty.
  • Membership in an association in the field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement for membership.
  • Evidence of the foreign national's original significant contribution in their respective field.
  • Evidence of the foreign worker's authorship of articles in the field published in major media or professional journals.
  • Evidence of past employment with distinguished organizations or establishments which serve as an authority in the field of endeavor.
  • Evidence of high salary for services in relation to other peers in the field.

The O-1 Visa is granted for an initial stay of three years; however, the Visa may be extended in one year increments for the duration of the foreign employee's work in the United States. Unlike most of the temporary nonimmigrant visas, there is no maximum length of stay in the U.S. for holders of the O-1 Visa. Our attorneys can assist you in obtaining an advisory opinion to prove eligibility and in the preparation of the O-1 petition and supporting documentation.  

L-1 Multinational Corporation Employee

Multinational companies with multiple locations in the United States and abroad may sponsor foreign employees to join their U.S. branch by obtaining the L-1 Visa. In order to be eligible for this visa, an individual must have worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year prior to relocating to the United States. Two types of employees may be eligible for the L-1 Visa:

  • Managers and Executives who hold a supervisory role within the company may apply for the L-1A Visa for a maximum of seven years.
  • Employees with specialized knowledge of the company's products, services, research, systems, management, operations or procedures which is not widely held or available in the United States may be eligible for the L-1B Visa. These individuals may remain in the United States for a maximum of five years.

Employers may petition for foreign national employees through the regular L-1 Visa procedure, submitting a petition for each individual employee, or by filing a Blanket L-1 Visa petition which allows the employer to apply for the L-1 Visa on behalf of multiple employees under a single petition. Generally, blanket petitions are only available for larger corporations as certain criteria must be met. Once the Blanket L-1 is approved, employers have greater flexibility in transferring employees to the United States. Our immigration attorneys can assist you in determining if your business qualifies for the regular or blanket L-1 Visa petition. 

How Can A Lawyer Help with My Visa Application?

Yes, it is essential to hire an experienced immigration lawyer for help with your visa application. Visa applications often involve many details, documents, and requirements. It is in your best interest to expedite the process by hiring an attorney to help you.

Your attorney can review your application to ensure it is complete and on time. An incomplete application or an application that is not submitted in a timely manner may hinder an individual's chances of obtaining their visa. Additionally, your attorney can represent you if you are required to appear before a panel or before a judge.