You may be eligible for an L-1 visa for “intracompany transferees” if you are an executive, manager, or a worker with specialized knowledge who has worked abroad for a qualifying organization (including an affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch of your foreign employer) for at least one year within the 3 years preceding the filing of your L-1 petition (or in some cases your admission to the United States). The organization must seek to transfer you to the United States to work in one of the capacities listed above.
Initial period of stay in the United States: Up to 3 years (1 year for new office petitions). Extensions possible in up to 2 year increments. Maximum period of stay: 7 years for managers and executives; 5 years for specialized knowledge workers.
You may be eligible for an H-1B visa if you are planning to work in an occupation that normally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field that is related to your field of study and you have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a field related to the position. Initial period of stay in the United States: Up to 3 years. Extensions possible in up to 3 year increments. Maximum period of stay generally 6 years (extensions beyond 6 years may be possible). Requirements include:
1. You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning U.S. employer.
2. Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting one of the following criteria:
3. Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field of study.
A bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position;
The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to the position;
The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree.
4. You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is higher.
5. An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless the petition is exempt from numerical limits.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. For a list of participating countries, select Treaty Countries.
You must be coming to the United States to: engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.
Examples of types of enterprises that constitute trade under E visa provisions: international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications
Second Preference applicants must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. A job offer is typically required and the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, on behalf of the applicant. Applicants may apply for an exemption from the job offer and labor certification, known as a National Interest Waiver, if they can prove it would be in the nation's interest. If the waiver is approved, the applicant may self-petition by filing the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, along with evidence of the national interest.
There are two subgroups within this category:
1. Professionals holding an advanced degree (a higher degree than a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.
2.Persons with "exceptional ability" in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.
Are you a foreign national with "extraordinary abilities", an "outstanding professor or researcher", or an "executive" or "manager" of foreign companies that has transferred to the U.S.? If so, you may be eligible for a visa that allows you remain in the United States permanently. These visas do not require labor certifications. There are three categories of these First Preference visas:
1. Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have specific job offers, so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the fields in which they have extraordinary ability. Such applicants can file their own Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.
2. Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. Applicants in this category must be coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. The prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.
3. Multinational managers or executives who 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 coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. The prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.