Temporary Employment Visas

H-1B Visas for Professional Workers

H-1B visas are the most common non-immigrant (temporary) employment visas available. H-1B visas are for professional immigrant workers hired by U.S. based companies. Two of the major requirements for a H-1B visa, is a person must have a Bachelor's degree (or the equivalent) and be offered a professional position. If a person does not possess a Bachelor's degree, it is possible to include a person's relevant work experience. Further, the professional (specialty) occupation is one that usually requires a U.S. Bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement of entry for the position. For this reason, many occupations do not qualify for H-1B visas; for example, a Bachelor's degree is not required to work at a gas station or laundry store.

Another major reason that many individuals do not qualify for the H-1B visa is because his or her employer is unwilling to pay the "prevailing wage" for individuals with similar experience and in the same geographical area. The prevailing wage is determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. The H-1B procedure begins with the employer filing a Labor Condition Application ("LCA") with the Department of Labor. The LCA requires the employer to follow certain statutory requirements including the employer attesting that the wage offered to the employee is equal or more than that paid by the employer for the same type of job and the wage is equal or higher than the prevailing wage for the same job in the same geographical location.

Once the LCA is approved, the employer may filed a H1-B petition on behalf of its employee. Unfortunately the cap limit for H-1B visas every year is currently set at 65,000 plus an additional 20,000 for advanced degrees ("Masters' Cap"). Although at this time, there are currently proposed bills by Congress to increase the cap limit to 110,000 a year, it has not yet passed. Usually, the first day to apply for a H-1B is set for April 1 of a given year. As such, it is recommended that you hire an immigration attorney several months prior to the first day so your H-1B application will be ready to be filed on the first day and within the cap limit (please remember the LCA also much be approved prior to filing).

Finally, it should be noted that the employer (and never the employee) is required to pay all application and attorney fees associated with the H-1B application. A H-1B application is initially valid for a maximum three (3) years and may be renewed for an additional three (3) years. If a total 6 years have accrued, the applicant must leave the United States for at least one (1) year prior to re-applying for another H-1B application. However, if the applicant has a immigrant employed-based application pending (EB1, EB2, EB3, etc..), then the H-1B can be extended past the 6 year limit until the immigrant visa is processed.

If you are looking for professional and affordable immigration attorneys to examine your employment visa eligibility call us today at 405.600.9910. Free consultation available.

L Visas for Intra-Company Transferees

The L visa is an essential tool for many multi-national companies around the world with foreign employees in the United States. The L visa allows an employer to send employees to the United States to open a new subsidiary or to an already existing company in the United States. To qualify for a L visa, the following minimum requirements must be met:

  1. There is a "qualifying relationship" (parent/subsidiary, branch, affiliate, etc...) between the foreign company and the business entity in the United States;
  2. The employee must have been employed abroad by the foreign company at least one continuous year within the last 3 years immediately preceding his or her admission into the United States; and
  3. The employee must come to the United States to occupy either a managerial or executive position (L-1A) or a position requiring specialized knowledge (L-1B).

Employees entering under the L-1A visa (executives or managers) are allowed to remain in the United States for up to seven (7) years and L-1B visa holders may remain for up to five (5) years.

TN Visa through NAFTA for Canadian and Mexican Nationals

The North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") allows certain Canadian and Mexican professional to enter the United States simply by applying at the airport. This is beneficial for many applicant as the process is extremely expedited. To qualify for a TN or NAFTA visa, an employee must work in a profession recognized under NAFTA (accountant, architect, computer systems analyst, engineer, or graphic designer). For a complete list of professions recognized under NAFTA, please visit the NAFTA's website. Further, the employee must have the specific qualification for that profession and the employer is a U.S. employer.

Although the TN visa is covered for only a one (1) year duration, it can be renewed indefinitely. Further, there is no cap limit to the amount of TN visas that can be issued every year.

E Visa for Treaty Traders and Investors

For persons interested in obtaining an E-1 or E-2 visa (Treaty Traders and Investors), he or she must be from a country where there exists a treaty of trade and commerce between the United States and the foreign country. A list of foreign countries which the United States already has an existing treaty can be found on U.S. Department of State website.

To qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa, a person must be coming to the United States either (1) engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; OR (2) develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital. E visas are granted foe a period of five (5) years with two (2) year status increments (however, this may be different depending on the country of origin). However, E visa holders can renew their visa indefinitely must like TN visa holders.