Temporary Nonimmigrant Worker Visa

In order for you to enter the United States lawfully on a nonimmigrant visa to work temporarily in the U.S. your prospective employer must typically file a nonimmigrant petition with USCIS on your behalf. The main nonimmigrant temporary worker classifications are discussed in this article. For more information on each specific visa category, visit the links within the sections.

If you have a specific employment immigration question, contact our Los Angeles immigration attorney now for a free consultation and get answers right now.

Work Related Visas in the United States

E-1 and E-2 Visas for Traders and Investors

Foreign national business people are permitted to obtain E-1 and/or E-2 visas to develop and direct businesses. The U.S. has entered into reciprocal treaties with 78 countries, making an E visa very accessible.  If you are coming to the U.S. on an E visa, you must intend to work as an executive, manager, or “essential” worker.  E-1 visa is for those working for companies with substantial trade, while an E-2 visa is for those employed by companies with substantial investments.

As a foreign national visa applicant, you must have the same nationality as that of the majority owners of the enterprise or firm. The majority ownership of the business must be held by nationals of the treaty country. Joint ventures (50/50 percent ownership) may qualify foreign nationals having citizenship of the countries of which the venture’s owners have citizenship, even if they are separate treaty countries.

Substantial investment or trade is required. This is defined as the amount necessary to run the business or investing a high percentage of cash. Borrowed funds are permissible in certain circumstances.

Foreign nationals setting up new enterprises may be issued E visas valid for up to five years, but it is common for the consul to issue a one- to two-year visa for a new business.  Spouses of E-2 visa holders may obtain authorization to work in the U.S.

 

Am I eligible for an E-1 or E-2 visa?

In order for a foreign national to obtain an E-1 or E-2 treaty visa, you must:

  • be an executive, manager, or have essential knowledge leading to your employment –
  • have citizenship in a country included in the treaty with United States
  • be employed by a company owned 50% or more by nationals of the same treaty country
  • meet the substantial trade and substantial investment qualifications
  • prove investment or trade is substantial, and company is not “marginal” solely to earn a living

 

If you have questions about applying for any type of U.S. visa, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of immigration and visa lawyers at our office.

 

Which countries are treaty eligible for the E-1 and E-2 visa category?

The E-1 Treaty Trader visa and the E-2 Investor Visa are only available to certain treaty trade countries around the world in which the United States has treaties for commerce and navigation. Not every foreign individual will be able to qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa. To see which countries are eligible to the E-1 and E-2 treaty visa program, please visit our section here.

Some countries only have an E-1 treaty, while others have E-1 and E-2 treaty visas available. Read more about the E-1 Treaty Trader visa here and read more about the E-2 Investor visa here.

 

Australia

 

E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.  Up to 2 years per extension; no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not your children.

Visit our section on the E-3 Visa for Australian Professionals for more information.

Am I eligible for an E-3 visa?

 

To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate that you:

  • Are a national of Australia
  • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
  • Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
  • Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation

 

H-1B Visa  for Temporary Workers

 

The H-1B Visa is a United States nonimmigrant visa. It allows a U.S. company to employ a foreign individual for up to six years and it may lead to a Green Card.  If you are an engineer, scientist, model or are in a specialty occupation and you will be working in the U.S. for a limited period of time, this might be the right visa for you.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows business professionals to work in the United States for a specific amount of time. The purpose of the H-1B visa is to give U.S. employers the opportunity to hire foreign professionals if a U.S. citizen or resident is not available.   Obtaining any visa requires more than simply completing and filing your applications.  We help our clients gather the necessary documentation for the H-1B or other work or training visa and provide strategic advice to foreign nationals to help them get the most benefit from the visa application process.  Call or email our Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services.

 

Am I eligible for an H-1B visa?

 

In order for the H-1B visa to be issued, both you and your employer must satisfy specific requirements.  The following criteria must be met:

  • The job offer must be in a specialty occupation such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, etc.
  • There are criteria for wages offered and the actual job performed
  • No U.S. citizen or resident must be available for the job
  • The petition must be submitted by the company (not the employee)
  • You must have a Bachelor degree
  • You must have a specialized skill
  • You must be able to speak and read English

If you have questions about applying for your U.S. visa, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of immigration and visa lawyers at our office.  Call or email us today!  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

 

I  Visa for Foreign Media Representatives

 

The I visa allows foreign citizens to visit the United States to engage in work related to the foreign media.  Occupations under this category include reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations.   Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join an I nonimmigrant.  You can remain in the U.S. for the length of your assignment.

 

Am I eligible for an I visa?

 

You may be eligible for the I visa for representatives of foreign media if you:

  • Represent a foreign information media outlet (press, radio, film, or other foreign information media)
  • Are coming to the United States to engage solely in this profession; and
  • Have a home office in a foreign country
  • You must demonstrate that you are a bona fide representative of foreign media whose activities are essential to the functions of your organization. The consular officer at the U.S. embassy will determine whether an activity is qualifying in order to obtain a nonimmigrant visa.

 

J Visa Exchange Visitors

 

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

 

In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors.  J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.   The length of your stay in the U.S. as  J-1 visitor depends on the type of program or appointment you have, with the maximum total time in J-l scholar status equal to five years, and that for short-term scholars no more than six months. Extensions are allowed only in exceptional cases.

 

Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Professors or scholars
  • Research assistants
  • Students
  • Trainees
  • Teachers
  • Specialists
  • Nannies/Au pairs
  • Camp counselors

 

Am I eligible for a J visa?

 

To apply for a J-1 visa, you must be accepted by a designated sponsoring organization.  Upon completion of the exchange program, you must return to their home country unless a residency waiver is obtained.  If you would like more information regarding your J visa or any type of U.S.  nonimmigrant visas, do not hesitate to contact our experienced visa attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services.

 

Employment

 

Some J-1 nonimmigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as a researcher, nanny, etc.) while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to you working in the United States.

 

Family of J-1 Visa Holders

 

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, are entitled to J-2 classification. Your spouse and children are entitled to work authorization; however, their income may not be used to support you.

 

L-1 Visa for Intracompany Workers

 

The L-1 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa which allows companies to relocate foreign qualified employees to its U.S. offices from a subsidiary, parent, affiliate, or branch office of the company abroad. There are several different types of L-1 visas.  For more information on the L-1 visa program and deciding which L-1 visa is right for you, do not hesitate to contact our experienced visa attorneys.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager

 

The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. The employer must file an application on behalf of the employee.   Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year.  All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.  For all L-1A employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.  The following information describes some of the features and requirements of the L-1 nonimmigrant visa program.

There are a number of general qualifications for the employer and employee when seeking an L-1B visa.

 

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • The employer must currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
  • You  must generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding your admission to the United States; and
  • You must be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

 

Family of L-1 Workers

 

The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.  Such family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.   Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the L-2 spouse may work.

 

L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge

 

The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.  This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one. Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year.  All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.  For all L-1B employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of five years.

Am I eligible for an L-1B visa?

 

There are a number of general qualifications for the employer and employee when seeking an L-1B visa.  To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, you must meet the following criteria:

 

  • The employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • The employer must currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
  • You must generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding your admission to the United States; and
  • You must be seeking to enter the United States to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

 

Family of L-1 Workers

 

The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.  Such family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.  Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the L-2 spouse may work.

 

O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

 

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:

 

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

 

Am I eligible for an O visa?

 

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

 

We are mere minutes from Hollywood, and can successfully represent actors, actresses, producers, writers, as well as assist studios and production companies to bring their important stars into the U.S. in an expedited manner.  If you are an individual or employer needing assistance with an O visa petition, please contact our experienced Los Angeles visa attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

 

Q Cultural Exchange

 

The Q nonimmigrant visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS.  If you want to participate in Exchange Visitor programs in the United States, you may be eligible for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa.  The Q nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States.

 

Am I eligible for a Q visa?


Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q nonimmigrants.  The purpose of the Q nonimmigrant visa is to facilitate the sharing of international cultures. It is an employment oriented program, but an integral part of your duties must have a cultural element.  You must be at least 18 years old and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of your country.  If you are planning on visiting the U.S. with a cultural exchange program and have questions about applying for your U.S. visa, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of immigration and visa lawyers at our office.  Call or email us at JCS Immigration and Visa Services.

 

R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers

 

An R-1 visa is for a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.

You must be employed by a non-profit religious organization in the United States, or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States. to work.

 

Am I eligible for an R-1 visa?

 

To qualify, you must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of the petition.  A prospective or existing U.S. employer must file on your behalf.

 

Period of Stay on an R-1 Visa

 

USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The religious worker’s total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed 5 years (60 months).  USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay.

 

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

 

An R-1 religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to accept employment based on this visa classification.

 

TN visa for NAFTA professionals

 

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

 

Am I eligible for a TN visa?

 

You may be eligible for TN nonimmigrant status, if:

  • You are a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Your profession qualifies under the regulations;
  • The position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
  • You have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer, and
  • You have the qualifications to practice in the profession in question.

If you have questions about applying for your United States TN visa, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of immigration and visa lawyers at our office.  Call or email us today!  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

Comments are closed.