Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Options for Individuals and Employers
Foreign nationals can enter the United States on a temporary or permanent basis for employment or performing work-related activities. For temporary work, a foreign national must qualify for one of the nonimmigrant visa classifications. It is also possible to obtain permanent residence (green cards) through employment by qualifying for one of the employment-based immigrant visa categories.
Nonimmigrant Visa Options
Temporary Employment in the United States
Foreign nationals who wish to engage in temporary work in the United States will need to qualify under an appropriate nonimmigrant visa classification. A nonimmigrant visa will authorize employment by a specific employer or engaging in a particular work-related activity in the United States. Depending on the type of nonimmigrant classification, the application may either be submitted by the U.S. employer or the foreign national.
There is wide range of nonimmigrant visas available for temporary employment or performing work-related engagements. The means to establish eligibility under each nonimmigrant category can be vastly different. Our experienced attorneys have experience with nearly every type of nonimmigrant visa petitions. Some of our most popular nonimmigrant services are listed below.
H-1B (Specialty Occupation Employment)
H-1B3 (Fashion Models of Distinguished Merit or Ability)
H-2A (Temporary Agricultural Workers)
L-1A (Managers & Executives of Multinational Organizations)
L-1B (Employees with Specialized Business or Industry Knowledge)
O-1A (Extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics)
O-1B (Extraordinary ability in the arts or achievement in motion picture or television)
TN-1 (NAFTA Professionals from Canada)
TN-2 (NAFTA Professionals from Mexico)
E-1 (Treaty Traders - Individuals from treaty country overseeing international trade in United States)
E-2 (Treaty Investor - Individuals from treaty country investing in the United States)
Immigrant Visa Options
Permanent Residence (Green Card) through Employment
A foreign national can obtain permanent residence (green card) through their employment in the United States. The process will typically require a U.S. employer to submit an immigrant petition (Form I-140) on behalf of a foreign employee. Depending on the immigrant category sought, the U.S. employer may also be required to demonstrate a shortage of qualified U.S. workers by obtaining certification from the Department of Labor.
Permanent residence can also be obtained without a U.S. employer or certification from the Department of Labor. Individuals who make a qualified investment in the United States may obtain permanent residence on the basis of that investment. Those with extraordinary abilities or highly skilled in fields that benefit the national interest in the United States can also qualify for permanent residence without a U.S. employer or having to demonstrate a shortage of qualified U.S. workers.
The number of employment-based immigrant visas are statutorily limited to 140,000 per year. The allocation of these immigrant visas will depend on the applicant's country of birth and the date of the petition was filed (also known as the Priority Date). There are five employment-based immigrant categories. Below provides additional details on each of the employment-based categories.
EB-1: First Preference (Priority Workers)
This employment-based immigrant category is available to extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers. Each year, there are about 40,000 visas allocated to this immigrant category.
EB-2: Second Preference (Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability)
This employment-based immigrant category is available to foreign professionals holding advanced degrees or foreign nationals with exceptional ability in a particular field. A job offer from a U.S. employer and certification with the Department of Labor are typically required. These requirements can be waived if it can be shown to be in the national interest in the United States to do so. This is known as a National Interest Waiver. There are also about 40,000 visas allocated to this immigrant category, plus any unused visa allocations under the first preference.
EB-3: Third Preference (Professionals, Skilled, and Other Workers)
This employment-based immigrant category is available to professional, skilled, and other workers. Petitions filed under this immigrant category will require job offer from a U.S. employer and certification with the Department of Labor. This is known as a National Interest Waiver. There are also about 40,000 visas allocated to this immigrant category with unskilled workers limited to 10,000.
EB-4: Fourth Preference (Special Immigrants)
This is small category with less than 10,000 visas allocated each year. It is available to a narrow group of special immigrants that include members of the U.S. armed forces, certain physicians, religious workers, special juveniles, broadcasters, G-4 or NATO employees, international employees of U.S. Government abroad, etc.
EB-5: Fifth Preference (Investment Immigration)
Foreign nationals who invest more than $500,000 in the United States and creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers can qualify for a green card under this preference category. The investment can be made through a Regional Center which is an entity that manages the investment on behalf of the foreign national. The investment can also be made directly by the foreign national in new business. There are roughly 10,000 visas allocated to this category.
EB-1A (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics)
EB-1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers)
EB-1C (Multinational Managers or Executives)
EB-2 (Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability)
EB-2 (National Interest Waiver)
EB-5 (Immigrant Investors)