Immigration Legal Services
COMPANIES, INVESTORS AND ENTREPRENEURS
E Visa for a Treaty Trader or Investor or Employees
The E visa may be available to a business owner, manager, or essential employee who needs to remain in the U.S. to oversee or work in a company in the U.S. or is engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and foreign country. A treaty of commerce must exist between the U.S. and the country of nationality of the foreign company or business owner. Nationals of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, and among many other countries, may qualify for an E visa. This visa may be issued for up to 5 years.
L-1 Visa for an Intra-company Transferee
The L-1 Visa is issued to a foreign national who is a manager, executive, or an employee with specialized knowledge of an international company doing business in the U.S. The foreign national must have worked abroad for the foreign company for a continuous period of 1 year for the 3 years preceding the petition. The foreign company must be a qualifying organization and continue doing business during the transfer period. The company in the U.S. must be a subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign company. A foreign national holding an L-1 status may be admitted for an initial period of 3 years (or 1 year for “new office” petition) and may be extended up to 7 years. A foreign national holding L-1 status can eventually apply to become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.
EB-1A Visa (“Green Card”) for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability
The EB-1 employment-based immigrant visa is available to foreigners of extraordinary ability in business. The foreigner must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim. His or her achievements must have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation (e.g., awards, press, patents, commercial success, etc.). No offer of employment is required, but he/she must establish that intends to pursue work in the U.S. in the area of expertise.
EB-1C Visa (“Green Card”) for Multinational Manager or Executive
This employment-based immigrant visa is available for foreign multinational managers or executives who demonstrate that they have been employed outside the U.S. by the company in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 continuous year. The foreigner must be seeking to enter the U.S. to continue his or her service to the company. The foreigner’s employment must have been outside the U.S. in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.
EB-2 Visa National Interest Waiver (“Green Card”)
This employment-based immigrant visa is available for members of the professions holding advanced degrees and foreigners of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. The EB-2 category is also available for foreigners with a college degree or foreign equivalent plus 5 years of experience. In general, the foreigner must have a job offer and obtain a labor certification (“PERM”). However, under this category, the job offer and labor certification requirements may be waived if the endeavor in the U.S. is in the national interest of the United States.
EB-5 Visa (“Green Card”) for Investors
This immigrant visa is available for investors who make a substantial investment in the United States and are hiring U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The foreigner must invest or be actively in the process of investing at least $1.8 million in an enterprise (or $900,000, as an exception, in certain circumstances). This capital must be placed at risk for the purpose of generating a return in the capital and the money invested must have been obtained through lawful means. The enterprise must benefit the United States economy and must create at least 10 full-time jobs. The residence (“Green card”) will be conditional and granted for 2 years. The investor must then file a petition to remove the condition before the 2-year anniversary of the grant of residence.
ARTISTS, ATHLETES AND OTHER INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL TALENTS
O-1 Visa for an Individual of Extraordinary Ability
The O-1 visa is a temporary work visa issued to a foreign national of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who possesses a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. The foreigner must demonstrate that she/he has been recognized nationally or internationally for his/her achievements. She/he must show that she/he is a prominent, leading, and renown in her/his field. A foreigner holding an O visa may be admitted for a period of up to 3 years and may be extended almost indefinitely.
O-2 Visa for Essential Support Personnel Accompanying O-1 Artist or Athlete
The O-2 visa is issued to a foreign national who comes to the U.S. to assist the O-1 individual in a specific event or performance. The O-2 alien must be an integral part of that work and have critical skills and experience with the O-1 individual that is not of a general nature and that cannot be performed by other U.S. individuals. A foreigner holding an O-2 visa may be admitted for a period of up to 3 years and may be extended.
P-1 Visa for an International Recognized Athlete or Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
A P-1 visa is available to a foreign athlete who is coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually, or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. A foreign national holding a P-1 visa may be admitted for 5 years and may be extended up to 10 years.
The P-1 visa is also available to a foreigner who is coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been established for a minimum of 1 year and recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. At least 75 percent of the members of the group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least 1 year (some exceptions apply). The visa will be granted for the time needed to complete the event or performance, not to exceed 1 year and may be extended in increments of up to 1 year.
P-3 Visa for Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
The P-3 visa is issued to a foreigner who is coming to the U.S. either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. The individual must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of the art form.
EB-1 Visa (“Green Card”) for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Outstanding Professors and Researchers
The EB-1A employment-based immigrant visa is available to foreigners of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The foreigner must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim. His or her achievements must have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required for an individual of extraordinary ability, but he/she must establish that he/she intends to pursue work in the U.S. in the area of expertise.
The EB-1B employment-based immigrant visa is available for foreign outstanding professors and researchers who demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. The individual must have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area and must be entering the U.S. to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
EB-2 Schedule A (“Green Card”) for Individuals of Exceptional Ability
To qualify for the EB-2 Schedule A immigrant visa, the foreign national must have a job offer for full-time permanent employment and the employment must be in one of the occupations categorized as a Schedule A occupation (such as physical therapists, professional nurses, and other individuals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or performing arts).
EB-3 Employment-Based Visa (“Green Card”), Labor Certification (PERM)
This employment-based immigrant visa is available for professionals, skilled workers, and other (unskilled) workers. It requires a job offer by the U.S. employer-petitioner and a labor certification. No waiver is available for this category. Professionals under this preference are foreigners holding U.S. bachelor’s degrees (or foreign equivalent degrees). Individuals with no university degrees and job experience may qualify.
PROFESSIONALS AND WORKERS
H-1B Visa for a Professional Temporary Worker
The H-1B visa is issued to a foreign national who is member of the professions (in a specialty occupation). The individual must hold a bachelor’s degree in the specific specialty or an equivalent in education and experience. Occupations that qualify include, for example, the following: physician, attorney, accountant, engineer, fashion designer, fashion model, and general manager. The worker is initially admitted for a period of 3 years and may be extended up to 6 years.
The H-1B1 program provides for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations from Chile and Singapore. The H-1B1 program is governed by many of the rules that apply to the H-1B visa. The period of employment is 1 year and extensions may be obtained twice but only in 1-year increments.
H-2B Visa for a Skilled/Unskilled Temporary Worker
The H-2B visa is issued to allow U.S. companies to employ skilled or unskilled foreign nationals in nonagricultural positions for which the employer has a temporary need and for which there are no qualified U.S. workers available. The employer must obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor certifying that the foreign national is not displacing a qualified U.S. worker in the region of proposed employment, and the proposed employment does not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed. The initial period of admission of the skilled or unskilled foreign national is determined by the period of time the employer needs his/her services as long as it does not exceed 3 years.
H-3 Visa for Trainees
The H-3 visa is available to foreign nationals coming temporarily to the U.S. as either a: (1) Trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the foreign national’s home country; (2) Special Education Exchange Visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. If the petition is approved, the trainee may be allowed to remain in the U.S. for up to 2 years. If the trainee petition is approved for a special education exchange visitor, the trainee may remain in the U.S. for up to 18 months.
TN Classification for NAFTA Professionals of Mexico and Canada
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level. To qualify for the TN status, the foreign national must have a prearranged full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer, the profession of the foreign national must qualify under the regulations, and the position in the U.S. must require a NAFTA professional. Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The initial period of stay is up to 3 years and may be extended. Unlike Mexican citizens, Canadian citizens are generally eligible for admission as nonimmigrants without a visa.
EB-3 Employment-Based (“Green Card”) Labor Certification (PERM)
This employment-based immigrant visa is available for professionals, skilled workers, and other (unskilled) workers. It requires a job offer by the U.S. employer-petitioner and a labor certification. Professionals under this preference are foreigners holding U.S. bachelor’s degrees (or foreign equivalent degrees) and who are members of the professions. Individuals with no university degrees and job experience may qualify.
R-1 Visa for Religious Workers
The R-1 visa is issued to a foreign minister of religion, or person working in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation who for 2 years immediately preceding the application has been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. A foreign religious worker may be admitted for a maximum of 5 years.
EB-4 Visa (Green Card) for Religious Workers, Certain Physicians, and Broadcasters
This visa category is set-aside for special immigrants (individuals seeking reacquisition of U.S. citizenship and returning lawful permanent residents) and religious workers.
FAMILY PETITIONS AND CITIZENSHIP
Family Petitions of US Citizens and Green Card Holders
Family-based petitions allows for individuals in the U.S. (both U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPR”)) to sponsor or petition for their family members to immigrate to the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. Generally, a U.S. citizen or LPR may petition for their foreign spouse and children if the child is unmarried and under 21. A U.S. Citizen may also petition for unmarried children (21 and over), as well as married children (any age). An LPR may petition for unmarried children (21 and over), but not married children, regardless of age. Only U.S. citizens may petition for their parents and siblings to live permanently in the U.S.
Citizenship and Naturalization
Generally, a lawful permanent resident is eligible for citizenship if he or she is at least 18 years old and has maintained permanent residency for at least 5 years without leaving the U.S. for trips of 6 months or longer. There are special considerations and exceptions to the lawful permanent resident and continuous residence in the U.S. requirements for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses of U.S. citizens. Further, the individual applying for citizenship must be a person of good moral character, which takes several factors into consideration including the person’s criminal records and lying to obtain immigration benefits, among others.