Temporary Employment-Based Non-Immigrant Visas
Any person employed in the United States is required to have permission for that employment. A common violation involves entry to the U.S. as a business visitor on a B-1 visa, a status that does not allow the holder to perform any productive work. The penalties and risks attached to illegal employment are severe for both employers and employees, who may face permanent bars to entry to the U.S.
Attorney Watson has focused on employment-based immigration for over thirty-five years. His level of skill and experience facilitates the temporary visa application process for employers and employees; his thoughtful analysis of apparent obstacles results in creative and effective non-immigrant visa solutions for our clients. We provide thorough and effective services to businesses which employ skilled foreign nationals, realizing always that failure is not an option.
The application process for non-immigrant visas is often faster than that for a green card/immigrant visa. Therefore, our attorney will often assist a company in bringing a foreign national to the United States using a non-immigrant visa to allow the employee to begin working during the process of applying for permanent residency. In some cases an employee may be reclassified several times while waiting for approval of the immigrant visa application.
Non-immigrant visas our attorney handles include the following:
- B-1/2 Visitor for Business/ Pleasure : Temporary Visitor for Business Visa, allowing an employee of a foreign entity to visit the employer’s business. The foreign national is strictly prohibited from doing any “productive” work. This visa may be used to gather information, study, train, share information or engage in higher level “executive” activity.
- E-1/2 Treaty Trader / Treaty Investor : The E-1 visa is available to foreign nationals of countries that have signed a treaty of trade with the United States. The E-2 visa is available to foreign nationals of countries that have signed a treaty of commerce with the U.S. The E visas are useful and versatile work visas. Used by executives, managers, and skilled and essential workers, the E visa carries no time limit on the status, and each entry automatically authorizes a two-year admission. The visa holder must be working for a company that is at least 50% owned by treaty nationals and doing “substantial trade” with or making a “substantial investment” in the USA. The E-2 visa is most commonly used by an owner/entrepreneur when a business is being set up in the USA.
- F-1 Student – allowing the holder to pursue academic studies in the United States. The F-1 Visa does not permit the holder to work in the U.S. without additional authorization. U.S. employers often recruit foreign nationals who are seeking employment using their one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- H1-B Temporary Specialty Worker – available to skilled foreign nationals in specialty occupations including engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, bio-medicine, architecture, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, and the arts. The H-1B applicant must have a specific bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), and the employer must conform to substantial record keeping requirements. It is a serious mistake for a company to allow the foreign national to prepare the underlying documentation and application for the H-1B petition.
- J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa – This complex visa has multiple programs, but is commonly used by large multinational corporations, schools, and research facilities to allow short term training programs. This visa may impose a two-year return residency requirement in the home country. This is especially true of foreign medical graduate doctors, who need a doctor’s waiver to work in the U.S. after graduating from the program.
- L-1 Intra-company Transferee Visa – The L-1 visa allows maximum stays of five to seven years and “fast track” green card applications for (qualified) Executives and “Key” Managers. Large or high volume companies may also be eligible for a Blanket L-1, where the underlying petition is pre-approved and individuals apply directly to the embassy or consulate for expedited processing and entry.
- O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visas - often last resort for foreign medical graduates who fail to secure one of the limited “Conrad Waivers” to allow them to remain and work in the United States and (after three years) waive the 2 Year Return Residency Requirement of the J-1 visa.
- P Visas – Available to performers, athletes and entertainers.
- TN Temporary NAFTA – Available only for Canadians (TC) and Mexicans (TM), this category allows for one year entry at a time.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with our attorney, please contact our Boston office.