Woodward & Avestaei, PLLC

H1-B Specialty occupation visas

H-1B visas are non-immigrant visas available to professionals working in specialty occupations who wish to be employed in the United States. They must have an employer petition for them, and they may be granted a stay of up to three years. This is not a class of visa that is open to all jobs, and you generally must meet certain education or experience requirements. Additionally, there is a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas issued per year (with some exceptions), so there is not a guarantee that you will get a visa the year you apply. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may come with you if you are granted an H-1B visa. Although the H-1B is a non-immigrant visa, it may open the possibility of later applying for an employment-based green card.

h2-a agricultural workers and h2-b non-agricultural worker visas

The H-2A and H-2B programs allow for workers to come to the United States on a temporary basis to fill jobs that are temporary or seasonal in nature. These visas are available for a maximum period of one year. Prior to petitioning for any temporary employees, the employer must first obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor.

L-1 Intracompany Transferee visas

If you have an existing business that you would like to expand into the United States, or if you already conduct operations in the U.S. but wish to transfer employees to manage these operations, an L visa may be a good fit for you. L-1A visas are available to executives and managers, and L-1B visas are available to specialized knowledge workers. The petitioning employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company and be doing or have plans to do business in the United States. The beneficiaries of the visa must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one year of the last three, and they must continue to work in qualifying employment in the U.S. L visas are typically granted periods of stay of three years, which may be extended; however, however, the period of stay for the initial visa is only one year if a new office is being established. Although the L visa is a non-immigrant visa, note that USCIS views the L visa as a dual intent (both immigrant and non-immigrant) visa, which may allow for a later filing of a petition for permanent residency for qualifying individuals.

O-1 Extraordinary ability visas

If you have demonstrated extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, you may be eligible to come to the U.S. on a non-immigrant O visa to engage in employment in your area of expertise. O-1A visas are available to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. O-1B visas are available to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the arts of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industries.

athlete, artist, performer, and entertainer visas

These visas are available to individuals who wish to come to the United States to perform in their area of expertise. P-1 visas are available to internationally recognized athletes and members of entertainment groups. P-2 visas are for individuals or groups participating under a reciprocal exchange program. P-3 visas are available to artists or performers with culturally unique work.

I-140 immigrant petition for alien worker

Individuals with extraordinary ability and accomplishments in their field of work may be eligible to obtain permanent residency in the United States by filing (or having their employer file) an I-140 Petition. Different visa categories are available for individuals with extraordinary or exceptional ability, professors or researchers, advanced degree professionals, physicians in underserved areas, and other sorts of professional workers. I-140 Petitions generally require a labor certification; however, this requirement may be waived if you demonstrate that it is in the national interest of the U.S. to do so.