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You will need work authorization to work legally in the United States temporarily or permanently, contact us if you have questions on how to obtain a green card or a work visa.

Summary of US Non-immigrant Visas
If you are not planning to stay in the United States permanently or you cannot stay permanently, you should apply for a non-immigrant visa. We prepared the following chart so that you will have a general idea of U.S. non-immigrant visas.  However, this is a very simplified introduction. You should seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney if you need to apply for a visa.  Below is a summary of all US non-immigrant visas:

Visa Type             Description                       Notes

A-1 Diplomatic Visa Issued to professional diplomatic, such as ambassadors, public ministers, career diplomatic, or consular officers, and members of their immediate families.
A-2 Diplomatic Visa Issued to other foreign government employees and officials as well as their family members.
A-3 Diplomatic Visa Issued to personal attendants, and servants of persons holding A-1, A-2 visas. This visas are valid for not more than three years and may be extended in increments of not more than two years.
B-1 Business Visitors Issued to visitors for business purposes. This visa is valid for one year to ten years depending on visa holder’s nationality, and may be renewable in six month increments. The B-1 visa holders may not accept employment in the U. S. However, theoretically they can adjust to other status.
B-2 Tourists (for pleasure) Issues to visitors for pleasure. This visa is valid for one year to ten years depending on visa holder’s nationality. The B-1 visa holders may not accept employment in the U. S. However, theoretically they can adjust to other status.
C-1 Visitors in Transit For continuous travel through the U.S.
C-2 Visitors in Transit For persons who have a right of transit to the United Nations. Valid for 29 days maximum; non renewable. The holders may not adjust their status to any other nonimmigrant visas nor seek employment in the U.S.
C-3 Visitors in Transit For foreign government officials in transit. Valid for 29 days maximum; non renewable. The holders may not adjust their status to any other nonimmigrant visas nor seek employment in the U.S.
D-1 Crew Members Issued to the employees remaining with their vessel. This visa is valid for a maximum of 29 days and are nonrenewable. The holders are not allowed to change or adjust their status to any other visa.
D-2 Crew Members Issued to the employees working for other vessels. This visa is valid for a maximum of 29 days and are nonrenewable. The holders are not allowed to change or adjust their status to any other visa.
E-1 Treaty Traders Issued to the nationals or citizens of country having treaty with US. The visa is generally issued for a 5 year period. But the duration of stay of each entry is two years. Extensions may be obtained for up to two years at a time. In fact, traders can remain in the United States indefinitely as long as they maintain their eligibility and treaty status. Spouse and unmarried minor children may enter under the same visa category but without work permit.
E-2 Treaty Investors Issued to the nationals or citizens of country having investment treaty with the United States. The visa is generally issued for a 5 year period. But the duration of stay of each entry is two years. Extensions may be obtained for up to two years at a time. In fact, treaty investors can remain in the United States indefinitely as long as they maintain their eligibility and treaty status. Spouse and unmarried minor children may enter under the same visa category but without work permit.
E-3 Work visa for Australian Citizens A new visa for Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S.  Please read E-3 Visa FAQs.
E-3D Visa for E-3 Dependents E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the United States and may apply for an Employment Authorization Document.  Stay in the USdoes not exceed 24 months.
F-1 Academic Students Issued to full time students. The visa is good for the period necessary for the holder to complete the program. Generally cannot work off campus without permit.  Read More.
F-2 Student’s Family Members Student’s wife and minor children. They cannot seek employment but can change to other status.
G-1 Foreign Representatives to Int’l Organizations Issued to the chief representatives of foreign governments to international organizations located in the United States. Their family members are issued the same visa. The visa is valid for one year and renewable. They cannot work outside the organization without work permit.
G-2 Foreign Representatives to Int’l Organizations Issued to the other representatives of foreign governments to international organizations located in the United States. Their family members are issued the same visa. The visa is valid for one year and renewable. They cannot work outside the organization without work permit.
G-3 Foreign Representatives to Int’l Organizations Issued to the representatives of foreign governments not yet recognized by the U.S. and their family members to the international organizations. Other restrictions are basically same as above G visa’s.
G-4 Employees of Int’l Organizations For officers and employees of international organizations and their family members. The visa is good for one year and renewable. Their family members can seek employment.
G-5 Employees of Above G Visa Holders Issued to the servants, personal employees of above G visa holders.
H-1B Specialty Occupation Professionals An US employer must file petition for the professionals. A visa is approved for an initial period of up to three years. The maximum term of an H-1B visa is six years, including extensions. The holders cannot work for other employers without having other employers to file new petitions but they can adjust to other status. In the event that the employer terminates the employment of the alien professionals prior to expiration of the visa, the employer is responsible for providing return transportation of the alien professional to his or her last place of foreign residence. This is most commonly used work visa for these foreigners who have found a job in the US for the position that requires at least a Bachelor’s degree. Contact Xielaw if you have a job offer from a US employer to get your case started.
H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers Issued to aliens coming to the U.S. to perform agricultural work of a temporary or seasonal nature. The visa is granted for the validity of the labor certification, or for an initial period of up to one year, not exceeding three years. The holders can change status.
H-2B Temporary Workers Issued to other nonagricultural workers, like athletes or those in performing arts who have not yet achieved international reputation and skilled workers in crafts and trades who are able to perform tasks for which no U.S. workers are available. he visa is granted for the validity of the labor certification, or for an initial period of up to one year, not exceeding three years. The holders can change status.
H-3 Trainees Issued to trainees coming to the U.S. to receive training from an employer in any field other than graduate education or training. The visa may be valid for a period of up to two years. The holders can change status.
H-4 Family Members of H Visa Holders They can stay as long as the H visa holders. The spouse and minor children cannot accept employment, but can change status.
I Journalists For journalists of foreign news media.
J-1 Exchange Visitors For participants of exchange programs, including students, scholars, professors, researchers, and au pairs, etc. The visa is valid for the length of time the program requires, up to 18 months without no renewal. The holders are generally subject to two year residence unless a waiver is obtained. The holders can apply for work permit.
J-2 Family Members of J-1 Same restrictions as above. They can work for the purpose of supporting themselves, not to support the J-1 holders.
K-1 Fiance(e) of U.S. Citizens Valid for 90 days. They must get married within 90 days and apply for permanent residence. The holders cannot apply for extension or change status.
K-2 Minor Children of Fiance(e) The duration of stay depends on K-1 holder’s visa.
L-1A Int’l Company Transferees Issued to an executive, manager with at least one year of previous foreign management experience with that foreign company. For a brand new company, the visa is valid for one year. For business that have already existed for a year or longer, the visa is valid for three year with a renewal of up to seven years for an executive or manager.
L-1B Int’l Company Transferees Issued to an employee with specialized knowledge with at least one year of previous foreign experience with that foreign company. The visa is valid for three years with two-year extension for a total of up to five years for an employee with specialized knowledge.
L-2 L Holder’s Family Members They have the same length of stay as L holders. They cannot accept employment in the U.S.
M-1 Nonacademic Students Issued to those who temporarily study or receive training at a nonacademic institution. The visa is valid for the period necessary to complete the study, generally 18 months, and can be extended up to one year.
M-2 Family Members of M-1 Can stay as long as M-1 holders but cannot work in the U.S.
N G-4’s Relatives Issued to some relatives of employees of international organizations, such as parents or children. The visa is valid for three years and can be extended for another three years.
O-1 Persons of Extraordinary Ability Issued to aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, sciences, education, business, or the motion pictures or television industry who are coming to the U.S. to perform temporary services relating to an event. The visa is valid for the period necessary to complete the event or activity, but may not exceed three years.
O-2 Accompanying Assistants to O-1 Holders The restrictions on O-1 visa apply.
O-3 Family Members of O-1 and O-2 They may not seek employment in the U.S. while on an O-3 visa. They may change status.
P-1 Athlete or Recognized Entertainment Group Issued to an alien who is coming to the U.S. to perform as an internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized athlete or entertainment group. For an individual, the visa may be granted initially for up to five years. Extensions may be granted for a total of stay not exceeding ten years. For an athletic team or entertainment group, the visa may be valid for the period of time necessary to complete the competition or event, but may be extended in one year increments.
P-2 Artists or Entertainers in Reciprocal Program Issued to artists or entertainers who come to perform, individually or as a group, under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country. The visa may be valid for the period necessary to complete the event, activity or performance and can be extended.
P-3 Artists or Entertainers in Culturally Unique Program Issued to artists or entertainers who come to perform, individually or as a group, culturally unique program to further the understanding or development of the unique cultural form. The holders must be sponsored by educational, cultural or governmental organizations which promote international cultural activities and exchange. The duration of stay is same as P-2.
P-4 Family of P Visa Holders The spouse and unmarried minor children are entitled to the same period of admission and restrictions as the principal holders. They cannot seek employment on P-4 visa.
Q-1 International Cultural Exchange Participants The duration of stay cannot exceed 15 months.
Q-2 Family Members of Q-1 They are subject to the same restrictions as Q-1. They cannot seek employment.
R-1 Religious Workers Issued to persons who have been full time religious workers for at least two years before applying and is coming temporarily to work for a nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. The visa is generally valid for three years with an extension in increments of up to two years.
R-2 Family Members of R-1 They are subject to the same period of stay as the principal R holders, and may not be employed in the U.S. on a R visa.
S-1 Informant in Criminal Investigation The duration of stay will depend on the need of the investigation. The holder cannot change status.
S-2 Informant in Espionage Case The duration of stay will depend on the need of the investigation. The holder cannot change status.
S-3 Family Members of S Holders Same as above S holders
TN North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) A visa issued, according to the North American Free Trade Agreement, to Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens. The terms of the visa are slightly different for the Mexican applicants from the Canadian applicants.
TD Family Members of TN Holders They are entitled to the same visa classification and the same length of stay as the TN holder, but they cannot accept employment.

Above brief introduction are educational and informational. If you need further information on a specific nonimmigrant visa category, please contact Xie Law Offices, LLC. for more information.

H VISAS
H Visas include the following visas: H-1B, H-1B1, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3

H-1B Specialty Occupation

The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • 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.*

For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

H-1B2  DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker

The job must meet both of the following criteria to qualify as a DOD cooperative research and development project:

  • The cooperative research and development project or a co-production project is provided for under a government-to-government agreement administered by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • A bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent is required to perform duties.

To be eligible for this visa category you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted State license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

H-1B3 Fashion Model

The position/services must require a fashion model of prominence.

To be eligible for this visa category you must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

*** Excerpts from www.uscis.gov

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 a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker [http://www.uscis.gov/I-129], with fee, on behalf of the employee.

The following information describes some of the features and requirements of the L-1 nonimmigrant visa program.

General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • 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.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • 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.

Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.

Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.  It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.  See section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii) for complete definitions.

New Offices

For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:

  • The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office;
  • The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
  • The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.

See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(3)(v) for details.

Period of Stay

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.

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.

Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status

If these family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in L-2 classification, they may apply collectively, with fee, on an Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status, [http://www.uscis.gov/I-539].

Spouses

Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization [http://www.uscis.gov/I-765] with fee.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the L-2 spouse may work.

Blanket Petitions

Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions by filing a blanket petition.  Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:

  • The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
  • The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;
    • Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
    • Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

The approval of a blanket L petition does not guarantee that an employee will be granted L-1A classification.  It does, however, provide the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees to the United States quickly and with short notice without having to file an individual petition with USCIS.

Where an L-1 visa is required

In most cases, once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer need only complete Form, I-129S,Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition [http://www.uscis.gov/I-129s], and send it to the employee along with a copy of the blanket petition Approval Notice and other required evidence, so that the employee may present it to a consular officer in connection with an application for an L-1 visa.

Canadians with an approved blanket petition seeking L-1 classification

Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the L-1 visa requirement, may present the completed Form I-129S and supporting documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at certain ports-of-entry on the United States-Canada land border or at a United States pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station in Canada, in connection with an application for admission to the United States in L-1 status.

Please refer to CBP’s website [http://www.CBP.gov] for additional information and/or requirements for applying for admission into the United States.

Optional filing of Form I-129S with USCIS

If the prospective L-1 employee is visa-exempt, the employer may file the Form I-129S and supporting documentation with the USCIS Service Center that approved the blanket petition, instead of submitting the form and supporting documentation directly with CBP.

See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(4) and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(5) for more details regarding blanket petitions.

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.  The employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with fee, on behalf of the employee.

General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • 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.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • 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.

Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures (See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D)).

*** https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-nonimmigrant-workers

O-1 Visa & O-2 Visa
What is O-1 Visa?

O-1 is a temporary work visa or status for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts or athletics and individuals of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries.

What are the qualifications for O-1?

To qualify as an alien of extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics, the alien must:

  • Have received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or
  • Meet at least three of the following requirements:
  1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  2. Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members;
  3. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien concerning the alien’s work in the field;
  4. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the field;
  5. Scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or other major media;
  7. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  8. High salary or other remuneration commanded by the alien for services; or
  9. Other comparable evidence.

Special Sponsorship Requirement

An individual seeking an O-1 Visa or status must have a US employer as the sponsor. Therefore a job offer is needed to file such petition. For instance, if a scientist of extraordinary ability coming to the US to work, he or she will need a university, research institution or a company to file the petition; if a professional table tennis player wants to come to the US to play table tennis, a table tennis team or club may apply for an O-1 Visa on his/ her behalf. If the person is a musician, a musical group must apply for him/her. An actor will need a studio to apply on his/her behalf.

In addition, an O-1 petition also requires consultations with an appropriate peer group which could include a person or persons with expertise in the field, labor or management organization regarding the proposed work and the beneficiary’s qualifications.  In the case of O-1 consultations for aliens of extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, consultations from both a labor consultation and management organization are required.

Duration of O-1 Visa

An O-1 visa holder is initially admitted to the United States for the duration of the event, production or activity, not to exceed 3 years. An O-1 visa can be extended till the time the individual accomplishes the task. Extension of stay can be granted in 1-year increments.

How can I apply for O-1 Visa?

If you think you have documents to prove that you have extraordiary ability in your field and you have a US employer who is willing to sponsor the O-1 petition for you, you can email a copy of your updated resume to help@xielaw.com for free case evaluation or visit Case Evaluation page.   We will make sure that you do have an approval O-1 case before we agree to accept your case.

What is O-2 Visa?

An O-2 visa is issued to the support personnel who accompany the O-1 visa holders, in the fields of athletics, entertainment, motion picture and television production.  This status is not available to those individuals related to the areas of science, business or education.  To be eligible for an O-2 visa, the alien must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a vital role in the central performance of the group.
  • Have essential skills and experience that is above average standards.
  • Have a committed professional association with the 0-1-visa holder.
  • Must prove the possession of a foreign residence, which will not be abandoned. A specific date of exit should also be expressed.
  • Must gain a labor consultation from the Labor Organization stating that there are no American individuals who can assist and the O-2 beneficiary if essential for the fulfillment of the work of the O-1 visa holder.

What is O-3 Visa?

O-3 visas are issued to the immediate family members (spouse and unmarried minor children) of the O-1 and the O-2 visa holders.

TN Visa FAQs
On  October 14, 2008, USCIS announces increased period of stay for TN visa holder from 1 year to 3 years.

Q: What is the TN nonimmigrant classification?

A: 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. The TN classification was created following Congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on December 8, 1993.

Q: What professional activities may a TN worker engage in?

A: Generally, eligible professional activities are activities that require at least a bachelor’s degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional. The specific occupations that qualify for the TN nonimmigrant classification are listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of the NAFTA and are reproduced in DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.6(c). Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

Q: Is there an annual cap or limit on the number of TN visas?

A: There is no annual limit on the number of TN admissions to the United States. Further, a single individual may enter the United States in TN status multiple times in a given year, and the statistics kept by DHS reflect this practice. For Fiscal Year 2006, there were a total of 74,098 TN admissions. As noted, this figure includes readmissions to the United States of TN nonimmigrants who travel outside the United States and return.

Q: How do Canadian citizens obtain the TN nonimmigrant classification?

A: Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa with a U.S. consulate or file a petition with USCIS. When requesting admission as TN workers at a U.S. port-of entry, however, they must provide proof of citizenship, a letter from their prospective employer detailing items such as professional capacity, purpose, length of stay, and educational qualifications. They may also need to provide credential evaluations. Following inspection by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer, an eligible Canadian citizen will be admitted as a TN nonimmigrant with a Form I-94 as evidence of such admission.

Q: How do Mexican citizens obtain the TN nonimmigrant classification?

A: Mexican citizens seeking TN nonimmigrant classification do not need to file a petition with USCIS. However, a visa is required for Mexican citizens to enter the United States in the TN nonimmigrant classification. Therefore, Mexican citizens should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. consulate in Mexico and present proof of citizenship, a letter from their prospective employer detailing items such as the professional capacity in which they will work in the U.S., the purpose of their employment, their length of stay, and their educational qualifications. They may also need to provide credential evaluations. TN visa holders then may apply for admission at a U.S. port-of-entry, and if found qualified by a CBP inspector, will be issued, as in the case of qualified Canadian citizens, a “multiple entry” Form I-94, indicating that the person has been admitted as a TN nonimmigrant.

Q: Why are the rules different for Canadian and Mexican citizens?

A: Canadian citizens, unlike Mexican citizens, are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa. The TN category, as a nonimmigrant classification, simply reflects this general exemption from the visa requirement.

Q: For how long is a person granted TN classification admitted?

A: Previously, aliens admitted in TN status are admitted for a maximum of one year and by the end of that period must either seek readmission in TN nonimmigrant status or apply to USCIS for an extension of stay. This final rule will extend that period to a maximum of three years to be consistent with other nonimmigrant worker categories, such as the H-1B.

Q: How many times can a person apply for TN visas?

A: There is no limit on the number of times a person can apply for a TN visa or seek admission in TN status. TN professionals previously could be admitted initially for a period of up to one year, and, if they are otherwise admissible / eligible, may be granted, at a port-of-entry, an additional period of stay of up to one year following each departure from the country. They may also, upon application, be granted an extension of stay for a period of up to one year.

Q: What are the benefits to employers and to TN workers of the proposed extension of the TN period of stay?

A: Increasing the maximum period of stay for TN workers from one to three years before requiring the workers to seek readmission or an extension would:

• Provide for a more stable and predictable workforce for TN employers;
• Make the TN program more attractive to Canadian or Mexican employers and professionals who might otherwise be required to seek admission under the capped H-1B program, thereby possibly freeing up H-1B visa slots for other professional workers; and
• Reduce the cost and bureaucratic inconvenience to TN workers of extending status by requiring application for readmission or extension only once every three years instead of annually.

Q: Are spouses and children of TN nonimmigrants allowed to enter the U.S.?

A: Yes. Spouses and children may be granted nonimmigrant status as a NAFTA dependent (TD) and may be admitted to the U.S. but may not work. This proposed rule would also increase such dependents’ maximum period of stay from one year to three years.

Q: What systems are in place to avoid fraud or misuse of the TN visa by corrupt employers and smugglers?

A: The final rule does not change security check requirements for TN nonimmigrants or their dependents. The extended period of admission and readmission from one year to three years will be subject to all applicable security checks. Further, TN nonimmigrants present in the United States will still be subject to the same rules regarding removability/deportability and the same conditions of stay (other than the initial period of admission/one year extension of stay requirement) as they are under the current regulations.

 

What is the Employment-Based Visas?
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas which are divided into five preference categories. They may require a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the filing of a petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).Employment First Preference (E1)

Priority Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All Priority Workers must be the beneficiaries of an approved Form I- 140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker, filed with INS. Within this preference there are three sub-groups:

Persons of 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 the field of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have a specific job offer so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they have extraordinary ability. Such applicants can file their own petition with the INS, rather than through an employer;

Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the INS; and

Certain executives and managers who have been employed at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the INS.

Employment Second Preference (E2)

Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees, or Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First Preference visas. All Second Preference applicants must have a labor certification approved by the DOL, or Schedule A designation, or establish that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program (later). A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file a petition on behalf of the applicant. Aliens may apply for exemption from the job offer and labor certification if the exemption would be in the national interest, in which case the alien may file the petition, Form I-140, along with evidence of the national interest. There are two subgroups within this category:

Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession; and

Persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field.

Employment Third Preference (E3)

Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees and Other Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First and Second Preference visas. All Third Preference applicants require an approved I-140 petition filed by the prospective employer. All such workers require a labor certification, or Schedule A designation, or evidence that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program. There are three subgroups within this category:

Skilled workers are persons capable of performing a job requiring at least two years’ training or experience;

Professionals with a baccalaureate degree are members of a profession with at least a university bachelor’s degree; and

Other workers are those persons capable of filling positions requiring less than two years’ training or experience.

Employment Fourth Preference (E4)

Special Immigrants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All such applicants must be the beneficiary of an approved I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant, except overseas employees of the U.S. Government who must use Form DS-1884. There are six subgroups:

1) Religious workers coming to carry on the vocation of a minister of religion, or to work in a professional capacity in a religious vocation, or to work for a tax-exempt organization affiliated with a religious denomination;

2) Certain overseas employees of the U.S. Government;

3) Former employees of the Panama Canal Company;

4) Retired employees of international organizations;

5) Certain dependents of international organization employees; and

6) Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Employment Fifth Preference (E5)

Employment Creation Investors receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All applicants must file a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, with the INS. To qualify, an alien must invest between U.S. $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor and his or her family.

If you have any questions or need further help, you can email or call us. We will make sure you have professional help before you make your decision.

This general information is intended to be informational and educational. Nothing on this or other associated pages should be taken as legal advice from this office for any individual case or situation. For legal advice for any specific situation, consult an attorney experienced in U.S. immigration law.

What are the criteria for qualifying for “extraordinary ability”?
If the alien is a Nobel Prize recipient, this alien is definitely qualified as having “extraordinary ability”. However, majority of the alien will not be such individuals. Thus, U.S. immigration law and regulations have provided the following criteria for qualifying for “extraordinary ability”:

1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.

2. Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members.

3. Published material about the alien.

4. Evidence that the alien is a judge of the work of others in the field.

5. Evidence of the aliens original contributions of major significance to the field.

6. Authorship of scholarly articles.

7. Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibition or showcases.

8. Evidence the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation.

9. Evidence that the alien commands high remuneration in relation to other in the fields.

10. Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.

The alien must prove that he or she satisfies AT LEAST three of above listed criteria.

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Above introduction is only informational and educational and does not constitute legal advice from this law office. Please contact our office or other immigration attorney for legal advice to your individual case.

What are qualifications as “an outstanding professor or researcher”?
To qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher for U.S. immigration purpose, the alien must:

1. Be internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic field.

2. Have a minimum of three years of experience in teaching and/or research in that field.

3. Enter the United States in a tenure or tenure-track teaching or comparable research position with a private employer under certain circumstances (e.g. employing at least three full-time researchers.

More specifically:

A professor or researcher who is internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area may obtain this classification and avoid labor certification.

The outstanding professor and researcher category is a first preference employment-based immigrant visa category.

The individual must have three years’ teaching or research experience in the academic area and must have a job offer for a tenure university teaching (or research) position, or comparable position to conduct research for a private employer which has documented research accomplishments and employs at least three full-time persons in research.

The INS considers the following types of evidence in evaluating whether an individual qualifies as an outstanding professor or researcher:

Documentation of the beneficiary’s major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;
Documentation of the beneficiary’s membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements;
Published material in professional publications written by others about the beneficiary’s work in the academic field;
Evidence of the beneficiary’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field;
Evidence of the beneficiary’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; or
Evidence of the beneficiary’s authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field. It is insufficient to simply meet two of the six regulatory criteria. The overall evidence must prove international recognition.

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Multinational manager or executive

You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

What is the National Interest Waiver?
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a waiver of the job offer requirement for individuals who wish to immigrate to the United States. Normally, a professional who wishes to work in the U.S. must undergo the long and arduous Labor Certification process, but if the alien can prove that, he or she is

  1. Alien of Exceptional Ability or an Advanced Degree Professional; and
  2. Involved in an activity which could prospectively benefit the National Interest;

Then he or she may be eligible to file for a NIW which provides several serious advantages over the usual permanent residency process.

Who qualifies?

Factors that have been considered in successful cases include:

The aliens admission will improve the U.S. economy.
The aliens admission will improve wages and working conditions of U.S. Workers.
The aliens admission will improve educational and training programs for U.S. children and underqualified workers.
The aliens admission will provide more affordable housing for young, aged, or poor U.S. residents.
The aliens admission will improve the U.S. environment and lead to more productive use of the national resources.
The aliens admission is requested by an interested U.S. government agency.


Many of our cases in which National Interest Waivers have been approved were supported by affidavits from well-known, established and influential people or organizations.

For example, an application being submitted for a scientist should contain affidavits from leading scientists, representatives, and from other organizations associated with the type of research to be pursued.

Documenting past achievements, as well as proof that the alien has already created jobs, turned around a business or created an increase in exports or other economic improvements should prove instrumental in gaining approval.

The following is a note from the INS Texas Service Center:

Those seeking qualification for a waiver of labor certification based on services considered in the national interest must make a showing significantly above that to prove prospective national benefit required of all aliens seeking qualification as exceptional. It applies only to aliens who will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
National interest cases require that the emphasis rest with the overall value and potential of the beneficiarys individual contribution to the U.S. — not the fact that they are working in a field of high national interest. The alien may qualify by being found to be a key or critical. member of a team if it can be shown that the team function would be severely impaired without this member. Merely working in an area of national interest does not necessitate a finding of national interest qualification.
We highly recommend the submission of better testimonial letters from substantial, recognized national or international organizations/institutes/ government agencies with the expertise to definitely say that the work or contribution of the individual truly is in the national interest. The authors of these third-party testimonial letters should clearly state how they came to be familiar with the aliens work.
When accompanied by these improved advisory opinions. and when focused on the individual, time will be saved and returns for evidence will be reduced. Also, placing the testimonial evidence with the attorney/petitioner summary letters at the front directly beneath the Form I-140 will eliminate examiner time spent wading through academics articles, field surveys, general reports, etc., which often add minimal weight to bolster the claim for his/her specific achievements or individual national interest potential.
We see many claims for graduate students who have not had enough time or experience as a researcher or engineer in order to qualify for E2-1 category and have done little, outside the work required to complete their degree. Often the claim is made that their area of research is so potentially cutting edge or so significant that it must be in the national interest. In accordance with established criteria, it should be very difficult for the above-described person to qualify. the class is not designed for all graduate researchers to qualify.
Our officers look for realistic evidence of substantial prospective benefit to a national interest item or agenda which specifically sets the alien apart from others in the field.


What types of supporting documents are required?

Evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., a major, internationally-recognized award), or at least three of the following:

receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor,
membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements as judged by recognized national or international experts, published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the field or an allied field,
original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field,
authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases,
evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,
evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other high remuneration for services, or
evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.


If the above standards do not readily apply to the alien’s occupation, you may submit comparable evidence to establish the alien’s eligibility.

Because the category of national interest waiver does not have well-defined rules to follow, we suggest you email us a copy of your resume and tell us what you are doing now, then we evaluate your case for the best green card options.

Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2

You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:

Eligibility Criteria

Sub-Categories

Description

Evidence

Advanced Degree The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*

Criteria

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

Note: Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-750. Please see the Department of Labor’s “Foreign Labor Certification” page for more information.

To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. For more information about filing, see the “Forms” page.


Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3

You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

  • “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature
  • “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions
  • The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Eligibility Criteria

Sub-categories Evidence Certification
Skilled Workers
  • You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Professionals
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation
  • You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States
  • Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.

Note: While eligibility requirements for the third preference classification are less stringent, you should be aware that a long backlog exists for visas in the “other workers” category. See the “Department of State: Visa Bulletin” page.

U.S. Department of Labor – Labor Certification

Third preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved, individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-9089. In some cases, the petition may be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with an uncertified ETA-9089 for consideration as Schedule A, Group I. For more information, see the “Department of Labor: Foreign Labor Certification” page.

Application Process

Your employer (petitioner) must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of your visa priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate an ability to pay your wage.

*** https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers

College Teachers
Immigration Options for College Professors (Faculty Members)

There are many immigration options available to these foreigners who find a job at a colleges or universities as a faculty member.

College professors in the United States enjoy the unparalleled advantages over others in getting the permanent residence in the United States safely and quickly. Unlike other foreigners who are working in the industry, college professors generally do not worry about being laid off, being fired, or being out of job as a result of the sponsoring employer’s out of business during the pending period of your I-140 petition or I-485 applications. Moreover, the immigration law has provided special clauses for college professors to potentially get their green card faster than applicants. As a former college teacher myself before coming to the United States, I am particularly fond of handling green card cases for foreign teachers and have devoted much of my time and interest in exploring the options for college professors’ immigration. As a matter of fact, I have obtained 100% approval rate on every single case for a college teacher!

  • The first and best option for a college professor is through the “Outstanding Researcher/Professor” category. This category requires a permanent job offer and it is generally not a problem to a college professor because most of college teaching positions are tenure-track permanent positions. If you have a “visiting” teaching position, you do not qualify for this category. This category is the immigration option of first preference and it is generally called “EB1B”.Through this option, foreign college professors, particularly for these who were born in mainland China or India, will get U.S. permanent residence much faster. The drawbacks of this category are: First, the documentation of the college professors’ professional achievements are needed. Therefore, the applicants must collect and send us all evidence of their publications, awards, memberships, etc. Second, this option is not a viable one for these teachers who are working in some fields in which it is extremely difficult to publish papers. Third, to successfully get the case approved, foreign college professors have to ask other professors to write or sign letters of recommendation/support to substantiate their claims of professional achievements. To some newly hired foreign born college professors, impressing an employer while completing the heavy teaching assignments and quality research projects, has been quite a challenging task.However, most of our college clients have successfully fulfilled this rigorous tasks. We have returned them with the result they hired us for!
  •  The second and easiest option is “Special Handling” (now called “Optional Special Recruitment“), a fast track labor certification for teaching faculty. There are two very important requirements: (1) the employer (college or university) must advertise the position in a national professional journal; (2) the faculty member must contact us no later than within 16 months of hiring (counted from the date on the job offer letter so that we can have the paperwork ready and filed with US Department of Labor with 18 months of your hiring. Otherwise you cannot take advantage of this option. This option is good for any one who was hired to do actual classroom teaching at an institution of higher learning, including four-year colleges, two-year community colleges and all other special occupational training schools. This option is the best immigration option for those teaching faculty members who do not have many publications or other tangible evidence of their achievements, or for those who are teaching in some fields where it is not easy to have many publications. Most college professors of social sciences and some natural sciences take this immigration options. Compared with “EB1B”, this option can save the applicants tremendous amount of time on collecting and preparing the evidence of professional achievements. This option requires the applicants to provide only one key document: a copy of the ad placed in a national professional journal. We will take care of the rest! However, through this option it will take a longer time to get the US permanent residence because we have to go though an additional governmental bureaucracy– the United States Department of Labor–before we can file the I-140 immigrant petition and the cases filed this category belong to the second preference (EB-2).Therefore, if you are a college faculty member and you want to get a green card sooner, EB1B is the best choice; if you are a college faculty member and you do not want to spend time collecting documents or writing letters of recommendation, Special Handling or Optional Special Recruitment is the best choice for you. Or if possible, you can prepare and file your immigration cases under BOTH categories!
  • If you are hired as a college professor, and you have extraordinary achievements, you may qualify for a person of“extraordinary ability” .
  • It is possible that you can apply under the national interest waiver category as a college professor.
  • If you do not belong to any of these who qualify for any of categories listed above (you do not have any publications, your employer did not advertise your position in a national journal, etc, but your employer is willing to sponsor the green card process for you, you can still your green card case under the regular PERM process, which is slightly different from the specially designated “Special Handling” or “Optional Special Recruitment explained above.
We suggest you contact us as soon as you receive the professorship job offer or email us your resume and a brief introduction of your current work and let us do the evaluation work for your green card options.