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Category Archives: Employment-Based

September 17, 2021

Congratulations Business Owner, you are looking at expanding your operations into the United States. With all the hard-work you’ve put in to get this far, let’s talk about the most effective methods to work in the United States, whether it being yourself, a manager, executive or a person with specialized knowledge.

WHAT IS AN L-1 VISA?

It is a non-immigrant visa by which foreign companies transfer certain employees like a manager, executive, or person with specialized knowledge to a U.S. company. The U.S. company must be a branch office, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. The L1 visa is an intra-company transfer visa. It allows a US company to transfer a key employee from one of its offices in another country into the United States.

There are two types of L-1 visas:

  • L-1A VISA– The employee who works as a manager or an executive, the visa granted to the employee is called the L-1A visa.
  • L-1B VISA– The employee who works on specialized knowledge, the visa granted is called the L-1B visa.

 

PROCESS OF APPLICATION

The L-1 visa is applied by the U.S. company on behalf of the employee. The U.S. company who is the employer is called the petitioner as it files the petition for the visa and the employee is called the beneficiary. The L-1 type is not eligible for self-petition.

 

DURATION OF THE L-1 VISAS

Under both L-1A and L-1B, the employee must have worked for the company for a continuous period of twelve months in the previous 36 months. The L-1 A visa is first issued for 3 years, then can be extended to 2 more years and for a maximum period of 7 years. The L-1B visa is also initially granted for 3 years and can be extended to 5 years.

 

BENEFITS OF L-1 VISAS

 

  • Fewer criteria to be fulfilled by the employee – The employee should be in a managerial or an executive position for an L-1A visa and for an L-1B visa the employee must be having specialized knowledge. If the employee fulfills these, he/she is eligible for L-1A or L-1B visas depending on his role and knowledge.
  • The employee can live and work in the U.S.A.- The employee having the L-1 visa can live in the U.S. and work for the company. The job is already there and the employer is the petitioner, therefore it is comparatively less complicated.
  • Dual intent visa – The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa which means the holder can intent to permanently immigrate to the U.S. and become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. in the future.
  • An extended period of stay – The L-1A visa is granted initially for 3 years and can be extended for 7 years. The L-1B visa can also be extended from 3 to 5 years.
  • Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years become eligible for an L-2 visa. The spouse of the L-1 visa holder and children under the age of 21 years are eligible for L-2 visas. The spouse can get a work permit and can work. The children too can study in U.S. schools and colleges.

 

DISADVANTAGES OF L-1 VISAS

  • Have to be the employee of the company – The person has to be an employee, then only the employer can apply for an L-1 visa. As the L-1 visa is applied by an employer, the person should be an employee in the company for 12 months. The employee should hold the position of a manager, an executive, or have specialized knowledge.
  • Restriction on the extension above a certain limit – The L-1A visa can be extended for 7 years and L-1B can be extended for a maximum period of 5 years.
  • Few companies are eligible- Only those companies are eligible to send their employees who have subsidiaries, offices, branches in the U.S.
  • Limited scope for the employee- The employee who comes on an L-1 visa to the U.S. can only work in the sponsored company and cannot work anywhere else.

 

L-1 VISA AND E-2 VISA

  • The E-2 visa is commonly referred to as the “non-immigrant treaty investor visa”. It is issued to non-immigrants of those countries with which the United States maintains an E-2 treaty on trade and commerce. It allows a non-immigrant individual/entity to invest in an existing U.S.-based business or to establish a new business. The L-1 visa is also a non-immigrant visa issued for working in a company in the U.S. There are certain SIMILARITIES between L-1 and E-2 visas.
  • Both are non-immigrant visas. They don’t grant permanent residency in the U.S. or a Green Card.
  • The employee in case of E-2 and L-1 visas can work only in the same company which sponsored them.
  • The spouse and children can accompany the visa holder on both visas. The spouse can get a work permit and children can study in both the type of visas.

Despite the similarities between the two types of visas, the two visas are DIFFERENT from each other in many ways.

  • ELIGIBILITY – The employee in the case of L-1 can be a national of any country. Whereas in the case of an E-2 visa, the individual has to be a national of an E-2 treaty country.
  • PURPOSE – The sole purpose of entering the U.S. in the case of an E-2 visa is to develop or run a business. In the case of an L-1 visa, the only requirement is that the foreign company should have a branch or a subsidiary in the U.S.
  • DURATION – The L-1 visa is granted for a maximum period of 7 years or 5 years depending on the type whereas the E-2 visa is granted for 2 years but can be renewed till the criteria are fulfilled. The L-1 visa cannot be renewed after 7 years.
  • INTENTION – The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa which means that the intention to go back to the origin country is not there. Whereas in the case of an E-2 visa the intention to go back is an essential condition.

 

CONCLUSION

The L-1 visa can be issued only by the employer for their employee. The employee who has the special knowledge or is an executive or a manager is only eligible for an L-1 visa. There is no requirement of a treaty between the origin country and the U.S. The only requirement is that the foreign company must have a parent, a branch in the U.S.

Few individuals can qualify for both L-1 and E-2 visas. But before applying the purpose of stay, duration, intention to return all have to be seen. Depending on the requirements, the person should apply for the type of visa. As an E-2 visa has no limit to the number of times it can be renewed, it is the best way to stay in the U.S permanently. In the case of L-1 visas, there is a limit of 7 years or 5 years depending on the role, but the holder can apply for a green card or through other ways for permanent residence. Both the visas are for working in the U.S. but both have certain merits and demerits. Depending on the requirement and intention a person or the employer should apply for either type of visa.

Contact us today to discuss the best method for your business, whether an L-1 or E-2 non-immigrant visa are the most effective methods to work in the United States.

 

 

September 13, 2021

Are you a foreign national with advanced educational degrees like a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, or even a Ph.D.? Does your work have substantial merit and national importance to the US?

If so, you might qualify for green card eligibility under the US Employment-Based (EB) Visa program, in this case the EB-2 visa, and be eligible for the National Interest Waiver (NIW).

An NIW green card application does not need an employer sponsor and can save you substantial amounts of time and money.

The idea is simple.

The US needs highly educated and highly skilled workers. The US established special eligibility requirements under the employment-based green card program to attract foreign professionals with advanced degrees and other highly skilled workers. You will hear this referred to as the EB visas.

But in special cases where the work is of national interest to the US, it is possible to speed up the process by obtaining a National Interest Waiver so you do not need the sponsorship of your employer. Employer sponsorship has its own set of hurdles, timetables and paperwork.

Below we will go over the

  • EB Visa programs in general
  • EB-2 Visa
  • National Interest Waiver qualifications. .

The Five Employment Based Immigrant Visa Programs

There are five EB Categories, and each year, the US makes about 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available to qualified applicants under these programs.

EB-1 – Priority Worker and Persons of Extraordinary Ability

  • Persons with extraordinary ability include scientists, artists, business professionals, athletes, and others that have sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. They can apply without having specific job offers as long as they are going to continue work in the areas in which they have extraordinary abilities.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers with international recognition and at least three years of experience in teaching or research. These applicants are coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
  • Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.

EB-2 – Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

  • Professionals holding an advanced degree. This means more than a Bachelors’ degree or a Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in their profession.
  • Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, meaning a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinary in their field.

EB-3 – Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

  • Skilled workers whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years of training. (Not seasonal or temporary workers).
  • Professionalswhose jobs require at least a Bachelor’s degree from a US university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
  • Unskilled workers (Other workers) capable of filling positions that require less than two years of training. (Not seasonal or temporary workers).

EB-4 – Certain Special Immigrants

  • This particular subgroup only receives 7.1% of the available EB visas. It includes categories like certain former employees of the US in the Panama Canal Zone, certain ministers of religion, certain Iraqi or Afghani translators who worked with the US, certain retired NATO-6 civilians, and family members, certain religious workers, and more.

EB-5 – Immigrant Investor

  • Immigrant Investor visa categories are for wealthy foreign nationals who make significant and specific investments in the US.

 

The EB-2 Visa –without the NIW Waiver

If you have advanced degrees or a Bachelor’s degree and the required experience, the EB-2 Visa program may be your best and easiest path to a US green card and permanent US residency.

Even without the NIW waiver, the EB-2 process normally moves faster than the alternative EB-3 program.

Your Employer Needs to Get Certification for You and Your Job

In most cases, the sponsoring employer must get labor certification from the Department of Labor before the foreign national can apply for an EB-2 visa. This ensures that no jobs are being given to foreign nationals that could be filled by qualified US workers.

Your employer has specific requirements of advertising, recruiting, interviewing they need to do for the certification process. The Department of Labor requirements  and certification take time and money.

You Must Meet the EB-2 Qualifications

As stated above, there are two main requirements for the EB-2 visa.

 

To be eligible for an EB-2 permanent worker visa  you must show that you

  • Are a member of a profession and you have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or
  • You have an exceptional ability.

An advanced degree means you earned degrees like a Master’s, Ph.D., Juris Doctor (JD or law degree), or an MD (medicine). You can also qualify with a Bachelor’s degree along with five years of work experience in the field. Usually, this work experience must be after you obtained the Bachelor’s degree.

“Exceptional ability” means you can show your ability in the sciences, arts, or business that will significantly benefit the US economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future.

 

The EB-2 Visa with the  NIW Waiver

No Employer Needed

With the NIW waiver you do not need a sponsoring employer. You apply and petition on behalf  of yourself. Therefore, there is no time or expense for the employer getting the DOL Labor Certification.

 

You Still Must Meet the EB-2 Qualifications

This is the same as above.

 

You Must Meet the National Interest Waiver Eligibility Test

After you meet the EB-2 requirements, you must also satisfy all three parts of the National Interest Waiver test, which are:

·      Your proposed work has both substantial merit and national importance;

·      You are well-positioned to advance your proposed work; and

·      When balancing all the factors, it would be in the national interest of the U.S. to grant you a waiver of the normal job and labor certification requirements.

 

Advantages of Applying for an NIW Green Card

Employer Sponsorship is Not Required. You can file an NIW Green Card application by yourself.

 

A Specific Offer of Employment is Not Required. You can file an NIW Green Card application even if you do not have a job offer from a U.S. employer.

 

Labor Certification is Not Required. Unlike most other EB green card categories, you do not need to get a Labor Certification. This definitely saves time.

 

Less Strict than the EB-1A. If you are considering the EB-1A ( see above ), the NIW green card application is less stringent and USCIS approval rates for are significantly higher.

 

What Should You Do Next?

Your advanced degrees, education, and work experience might qualify you for an EB-2 visa and possibly the National Interest Waiver.

 

This can be a tremendous advantage for you.

 

It all depends on your personal and unique circumstances.

 

Let us help you determine your best path forward to a green card and permanent US residency.

 

At ImmiVisa, we take care of the lengthy, complicated immigration process for you.

 

Our specialized team of immigration lawyers can help you find the easiest, least stressful, and least expensive best steps.

 

Whether you just want information, or you are ready get started, give us a call and learn how to take advantage of these  programs to get your green card and permanent residency.

July 17, 2021
July 17, 2021

Are you one of the nearly 6 million nationals of Singapore or one of the 19 million nationals of Chile who wants to come to the United States? If so, congratulations–if you are interested in working in the United States, you have a built-in path specifically for you through the H-1B1 visa.

Of course, this visa is not exactly a “free for all”– there are certain conditions that an applicant must satisfy in order to apply for an H-1B1, namely, they must demonstrate the following:

That the job offered is a “specialty occupation”, meaning that the occupation requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) is the minimum entry requirement for occupation in the United States;
That the foreign national possesses a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent); and,
That the employment is only for a “temporary basis” (i.e., although the H-1B1 can be renewed indefinitely, the foreign national must demonstrate that they do not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States).

However, assuming that an applicant satisfies these requirements, the H-1B1 process is an amazing opportunity. The primary difficulty in moving forward with this application is in knowing how to complete the process. Having successfully completed numerous H-1B1 applications (both through a foreign consulate and through change of status applications in the United States), we are well familiar with the process. We hope the following step-by-step guide provides you with assistance in understanding the general process of applying for an H-1B1 visa in greater detail:

1. Verify Petitioner’s Employment Identification Number (EIN) — Before proceeding with the filing, a U.S. petitioner should get their EIN verified by emailing a copy of EIN documentation to [email protected] . The subject line should say “Attn: LCA Business Verification Team”. It should only take a few hours on average for them to verify the EIN.

2. Obtain SOC/O*Net Code — Next, the Petitioner will need to confirm whether the offered job is in fact a “specialty-occupation” (i.e., one that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to perform) as required by federal regulations. It is most helpful to reference the following websites in selecting a code:
(1) For salary, consult with FLC Data Center: https://www.flcdatacenter.com/
(2) For SOC/O*Net Code, google occupation name and frequent O*Net site to find the most accurate code. https://www.onetonline.org/

3. File Labor Condition Application — After the EIN is verified and the SOC/O*NET code is selected, the Petitioner should then proceed with filing the ETA-9035 (e.g., the Labor Condition Application) with the Department of Labor at https://flag.dol.gov/. It takes approximately six (6) days for the LCA to be certified. Please note that the LCA should not be filed more than 180 days before the Employee’s proposed starting date.

4. Send LCA/Notice of Filing to Employer — While the LCA is pending with the Dept. of Labor, the Employer should either forward a “Notice of Filing” apprising other workers in the same employment position as the offered job, or, post the LCA itself at the place of employment. The employer should post the Notice of Filing or the LCA wherever the Employer normally publishes any notices.

5. Complete Forms and Supporting Documents — With all of the foregoing work done, the next step depends on whether the Petitioner is filing for a change of status in the United States or through consular processing is to complete the following forms:

a. Change of Status with USCIS

If the proposed employee is in the United States and wishes to file for a change of status without leaving the U.S., the employer should file the following forms with USCIS:
Filing Fees
Form I-129, fee of $460.00
ACWIA Fee (either $750.00 or $1,500.00 depending on whether the Employer has 25 or less employees)
Anti-Fraud Fee of $500.00
Form I-129
Form I-129H
Form I-129W
Certified ETA-9035; and,
All required documents (listed below).

b. Consular Processing
Alternatively, if the applicant is applying for an H-1B1 visa abroad, the Petitioner will not file any paperwork–the Beneficiary will complete the required DS-160 and schedule their own appointment at the foreign consulate, the filing fee is only for $205.00 USD. The Beneficiary will also need to bring all of the required documents to their interview for the H-1B1 visa.

Required Documents: To file the H-1B1 application, the following documents should be provided:

From the Employer:
Job Offer Letter
Job Description (Describe Duties, Hours, Proposed Salary, Etc.)
Employment Contract
Evidence that Business is Bona-Fide (i.e. Taxes, Utility Bills, Bank Statements, Photographs, etc.)
O*NET Job Summary
Postings of Similar Jobs (to show that they require BA/BS Degree, specialty occupations)
From the Employee:
Resume from Employee
Evidence of Employee’s BA/BS Degree (or Academic Equivalency Evaluation if they have a foreign degree)
If you are presently in the United States, Evidence of Maintenance of Non-immigrant Status (i.e. I-20s, I-94, etc.)
If applicable, evidence of qualifying relationship between derivative and primary applicant.

We hope the following information is helpful to you in considering the totality of the process involved in applying for an H-1B1 visa. The ImmiVisa Law Group is skilled in preparing H-1B1 applications in a number of different industries and job positions. We are available to provide further consultation with both employers and prospective employees to discuss this process further. Please schedule a consultation today for further questions.

Disclaimer: The article is provided only for general information, convenience and reference purpose only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney before proceeding with your application.

June 18, 2021
June 18, 2021

1. WHAT IS A TN VISA?

TN stands for Trade NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It is a non-immigrant employment visa that allows citizens of North American countries, namely Canada and Mexico, to engage in business activities at a professional level within the U.S. The purpose was to strengthen business and trade relations between the three countries; the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Among the types of professionals eligible to seek admission as TN non-immigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

There are two types of TN status.

  1. TN-1 is for Canadian professionals,
  2. TN-2 is for Mexican professionals.

The TN Visa is valid for one year, but it is granted for three years as per the current laws and regulations. The TN visa can be renewed indefinitely until you have the intention to stay permanently in the United States or if there is no longer employment under the NAFTA list.

2. REQUIREMENTS FOR TN VISA

There are few requirements a Mexican or Canadian have to meet before applying for a TN Visa.

  • The applicant has to be a citizen of Canada or Mexico (Permanent Residency won’t suffice).
  • The profession should be on the NAFTA list. There are 60 professions on the list.
  • There has to be a pre-arranged part-time or full-time job with a U.S. employer.
  • There is no intention to stay permanently in the U.S.
2.1 TD VISA FOR THE SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF TN VISA HOLDERS

A TD visa is the dependant visa for TN visa holders, which is valid until the TN visa holder’s visa expires. This visa is for spouses and children under 21 years of TN visa holders eligible for non-immigrant TD visas. They do not qualify for a work permit but are permitted to study in the United States.

3. PROS OF TN VISA

  • A TN visa holder can work as a professional in the U.S for a U.S. company or a Canadian or Mexican company doing business in the U.S.
  •  The process for Canadians under this category is relatively quick, with no petition required. Canadian’s can obtain a TN visa at the border crossing.
  • While the requirements are fulfilled, the TN visa holder can renew indefinitely.
  • TD visa/status for the dependents of the TN visa holders is valid until the time the TN visa holder’s status expires.
  • There is no cap or limit for Canadians under this category.

4. CONS OF A TN VISA

  • The TN visa is not a dual intent visa. This means you cannot have the intention to stay in the U.S permanently.
  • The spouse and children are not eligible for a work permit or authorized to work in the U.S.
  • The profession has to be listed in the NAFTA list, which is currently only 60 occupations.

5. CONCLUSION

The TN visa, or TN status as it is sometimes called, is a type of visa that a citizen of Canada or Mexico can apply for. The applicant must have a job listed in the NAFTA list before applying. The application procedure is not complicated, and for Canadians, it is much simpler. The Canadians or Mexicans who do not come under the list of NAFTA professionals can apply for another type, i.e., H1B visa. These other visas allow for Dual Intent, meaning if the applicant intends to become a permanent resident of the U.S., they can apply for it with that intention. There are other visas like L1 or E visas. The applicant should apply as per his purpose, duration, and intention of stay. The applicant should also remember the merits and demerits of the visa and apply accordingly.

At US Immi Visa, we are a dedicated team specializing in TN and TD visas, able to help you through the entire process. Whether you are a Mexican or Canadian citizen, we can help guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss TN visas.