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Business visitor visas are issued to foreign nationals who enter the United States to engage in commercial transactions which do not involve gainful employment at your company. Examples of permitted transactions under B-1 status include negotiating contracts, consulting with business associates or litigation. B-1 visa holders may also enter the U.S. to undertake company-related research or participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences and seminars.
E-1 status requires an appropriate treaty between the United States and the E-1 applicant’s country of nationality. This visa is used by foreign nationals who will conduct “substantial” trade between the United States and their country of nationality. The trade must also be principally between the United States and the E-1 applicant’s country of nationality.
E-2 Treaty Investor status requires an appropriate treaty between the United States and the foreign national’s country. The visa is used by foreign nationals who are developing or directing an enterprise in which they have invested or actively in the process of investing a “substantial” amount of capital. E-2 visa holders are given five-year visas and admitted for two year periods at a time. E-2 status can be renewed indefinitely.
An H-1B petition is used by companies to employ foreign nationals in specialty occupations. Generally, specialty occupations are occupations that require specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in a field related to the job offered.
L-1A status can be issued to Executives and Managers who will come to the US to work in an Executive or Managerial capacity for a United States branch, subsidiary, parent or affiliate office of a foreign company. L-1A visa holders are also able to apply for lawful permanent resident status without going through the PERM process.
The L-1B-visa is issued to workers with specialized knowledge of your company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques or management. This includes specialized or advanced knowledge of your company applications in international markets or processes and procedures.
O-1 status can be conferred to individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, or who demonstrate a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. Immigration regulations set forth various standards required to prove extraordinary ability depending on the field of endeavor. O-1 status can be conferred for up to three years and may be renewed indefinitely for additional three-year periods.
TN status is available for citizens of Canada and Mexico. Only a select list of professional occupations qualify for TN status. The list can be found in the NAFTA appendix 1603.D.1. TN admissions are valid for up to three years.
PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) is the first step in many employment based permanent resident applications. The PERM application is filed with the United States Department of Labor and involves advertising the offered position in various forums over a period of several weeks. If no qualified United States citizens or permanent residents apply for the job, the application is certified by the department of labor and can be used to file an immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration service, more commonly known as USCIS.
First preference status is comprised of three categories. The first, EB-1-1, is for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics who plan to work in their chosen field in the U.S. You are not required to have a prospective employer for this category. The second, EB-1-2 is for outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience. The third category, EB-1-3, is for multinational executives and managers. The second and third categories do require sponsorship by an employer but do not require going through the labor certification process.
An employer may file an immigrant petition on behalf of an employee in the EB-2 (second preference) category if the employee is a member of the professions holding an advanced degree OR if the employee possesses exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
An employer may file an immigrant petition in the third preference category on behalf of skilled workers, professionals and other workers if they are able to provide evidence of labor certification, schedule A designation, or that the employee qualifies for the Labor Market Information Program.
US immigration law lists several groups that may qualify for special immigrant visas. Some of the more popular ones are: Certain religious workers, Panama Canal Treaty employees, Amerasian children, certain employees of U.S. foreign-service posts abroad, certain retired employees of international organizations admitted to the U.S. under the G-4 nonimmigrant visa, and dependents of juvenile courts.
The EB-5 employment creation visa allows an entrepreneur to obtain permanent resident status if s/he has invested or is actively in the process of investing capital in a commercial enterprise and creates full-time positions for qualifying employees. Investments may be made in a new enterprise, troubled business, or a regional center pilot program.