WORK VISAS

If you are looking for a New York immigration lawyer to help you obtain a work-related visa contact our immigration law offices. Our office can assist if you are already in the U.S. and wish to have your visa status changed or if you wish to enter the U.S. on a work visa. We also represent employers that wish to employ foreign nationals.

H-1B

This is a work visa valid for periods of up to three years for individuals working in a specialty occupation.

H-2A

This visa allows foreign workers entry into the U.S. to work in agriculture. Employers must prove that there are no U.S. workers available to perform the work to be completed. Although this is a temporary visa, it can be extended for up to three years.

Workers’ spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to join them in the U.S. under the H-4 status. Dependents are not permitted to work unless they personally qualify for a work visa.

H-2B

This is a temporary visa for employers to fill temporary positions on an annual, peek or seasonal basis. This visa differs from the H-1B in several ways, including that the employer must show that they actively recruited American workers first, must prove the short term need and the worker does not have to prove that they are a college degree holder working in a specialty occupation.

The H-2B visa is typically utilized by U.S. businesses, such as hotels, construction companies, traveling carnivals and landscapers, to fill temporary needs for nonimmigrant workers.

H-3

The H-3 Visa is a training visa. It was designed to enable workers in “any field of endeavor” to train in the U.S. Although this loose classification includes agriculture, technology, communications, and governmental leadership, it does not apply to people seeking graduate medical training.

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. under the H-4 status; however, these dependents are not permitted to work.

Documents

Along with the requisite application documents, the H-3 Visa requires your employer to provide the following:

  • Proof that this training is not available in your home country, and that this training will aid you in your career.
  • Proof that you will not engage in willful employment while in the U.S.
  • Proof that the training is formal in nature.

L-1

This visa is designed to allow businesses that have identical businesses in a foreign and the US to transfer managers, executives, and specialized knowledge personnel to a U.S. office, subsidiary or affiliated company. This visa comes in the following categories:

  • L-1A visas – for executives and managers.
  • L-1B visas – for personnel with specialized knowledge.

L-1A workers may work for up to seven years. L-1B visa holders may work for five years.

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. through L-2 status. L-2 status spouses are allowed to work.

O-1

The O-1 Visa enables people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture or television industry to enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time.

The O-1 Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. under O-3 status, but they may not work.

To be considered an outstanding individual, you should be recognized as one of the best in your respected field in your country. The applicant may be required to provide documentation of a portion of the following:

  • A contract for employment.
  • The petition must include a printed article or statement from either a person or group proficient in your field. This person/group should support your status as a respected member of your field.
  • That the applicant has been the recipient of a major award, such as a Nobel Prize.
  • That the applicant is a member of one of the leading associations in his or her field.
  • That the applicant has done original research in his or her field.
  • That the applicant has been invited to judge a competition or take part in a panel discussion.
  • “Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation” (USCIS).
  • Published articles in major trade publications or other media by or about the applicant’s accomplishments in his or her field.
  • “A high salary or other remuneration for services” (USCIS).

O-2

O-2 visas are offered to support personnel of O-1 Visa holders in the fields of athletics, entertainment, and motion picture and television production.

The O-2 Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. Your dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) are permitted to accompany you to the U.S. under O-3 status. Dependents are not allowed to work.

P-1

P-1 visas are utilized by entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who wish to work in the U.S.

Outstanding athletes may apply for this visa in order to compete in the U.S., either as individuals or as members of an internationally recognized athletic team.

Entertainment groups with an outstanding international reputation can be granted P-1 classification as a unit; however, individual entertainers within these groups cannot apply for separate visas.

The employer of P-1 visa applicants who are athletes may be asked to provide the following:

  • Proof of “significant participation in a prior season for a U.S. college or university in intercollegiate competition”.
  • Letters from others in the industry establishing that the athlete or team is internationally renowned.
  • Documentation showing that the individual or team is ranked, “if the sport has international rankings; or [that] the alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport”.
  • A letter from “an appropriate labor organization”.
  • Proof of a contract with a major U.S. sports league or team.
  • Proof of “significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league”.
  • Proof that the applicant has taken part in “international competition with a national team” (USCIS).

The employer of P-1 visa applicants who are entertainers may be asked to provide the following:

  1. A letter from “an appropriate labor organization” (USCIS).
  2. Proof “that the group has been established and performing regularly for at least one year” (USCIS).
  3. Proof that the group has received ” international awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field, or evidence of at least 3 of the following:
    • Proof the group has performed and will perform as a starring or leading entertainment group in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
    • The group has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by indicators such as ratings, box office receipts, record, cassette or video sales, and other achievements as reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
    • Proof the group has commanded and will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for “services comparable to others similarly situated in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence” (USCIS).
    • Proof the group has achieved international recognition and acclaim for outstanding achievement in its field, as evidenced by reviews in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines or other published material;
    • Proof the group has performed and will perform services as a leading or starring group for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
    • The alien has received significant recognition for achievements from critics, organizations, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the alien’s achievements.

R-1

Religious workers wanting to work in the US should consider the R-1 Visa as it enables religious workers to temporarily enter the U.S.

This classification includes religious instructors, catechists, cantors, workers in religious hospitals, missionaries, liturgical workers, religious translators, and religious broadcasters. This classification does not include janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fundraisers, or solicitors of donations.

The R-1 applicant must establish that they belonged to a nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. for at least the two years. The U.S. petitioning organization must be a tax-exempt nonprofit religious organization and must establish that they are able to afford to pay and provide room and board for the religious worker. R-1 visa holders may remain in the U.S. for up to five years.

Spouses and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age may accompany the religious worker to the U.S. under R-2 status. R-2 visa holders are not authorized to work while in the U.S., but may attend school.

The petitioning organization may also be asked to provide the following :

  • Written proof that the applicant has been employed by the organization for two years.
  • The name and address of the organization where the religious worker will be employed.
  • Proof of “the organization’s affiliation with the denomination” in question (USCIS).
  • A statement outlining the potential position (including “salary, benefits, and other compensation”) and the applicant’s qualifications for the work to be performed (USCIS).

TN

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), certain citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter the U.S. to work temporarily under nonimmigrant TN status in specialty occupations. Canadian Citizens may apply for the TN-1 Visa, and Mexican citizens may apply for the TN-2 Visa. Please note that the process for obtaining a TN-2 Visa is much more complicated than that of the TN-1.

The TN is very close to being the equivalent of an H-1B visa for Canadians and Mexicans, but it does have some differences.

The following are the requirements to be eligible for the TN Visa:

  • The profession must be on the NAFTA list.
  • The proposed position must be classified as a professional position.
  • The foreign national must work for a U.S. employer.
  • The foreign national must possess the necessary training for that profession.

Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to enter the U.S. under the derivative TD-1 and TD-2 visas. Family members may study in the U.S., but they are not allowed to work.

TN-1 Visa

Canadian citizens applying for the TN-1 Visa must provide the following information at a U.S. port of entry:

  • A document from the employer outlining the job duties, the length of the assignment, and the agreed-upon salary.
  • Proof that the employee has completed the necessary education or training for the position.
  • Proof that the employee has all of the necessary licenses for the position.
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship.

Canadian citizens need not file a petition for employment; they must simply obtain TN status at a port of entry.

TN-2 Visa

Mexican citizens are eligible to apply for the TN-2 Visa. Unlike Canadian citizens, Mexican applicants must apply at the U.S. consulate in their home country. Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Proof that the employee has all of the necessary licenses for the position.
  • A document from the employer outlining the job duties, the length of the assignment, and the agreed-upon salary.
  • Proof that the employee has completed the necessary education or training for the position.
  • Proof of Mexican citizenship.

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