VISAS

EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRATION

EB-1

Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have specific job offers, so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the fields in which they have extraordinary ability.

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. The applicant’s employment outside of the U.S. must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity.

EB-2

Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

There are two subgroups within this category:

1.Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.

2.Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.

Must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor and a job offer is required.

EB-3

Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

There are two subgroups within this category:

1.Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.

2.Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.

Must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor and a job offer is required.

Person in Specialty Occupation

H-1B

To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.  Limited number available resulting in an annual lottery which is held the first week of April for employment to commence the following October 1st.  Initial period of 3 years extendable for up to 6 years.

INVESTMENT BASED IMMIGRATION

Treaty Investor

E-2

The investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country. If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality. The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States. You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed. You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity.  Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

Intracompany Transferee

L-1

To work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.  Individual must have been employed by the same employer abroad continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years.  For start-up companies the initial period is 1 year; for existing companies the initial period is 3 years, extendable up to 6 or 7 years.

Immigrant Investors

EB-5

Immigrant Investor visa categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation.  A foreign national must invest, without borrowing, the following minimum qualifying capital dollar amounts in a qualifying commercial enterprise: $1,000,000 (U.S.); or $500,000 (U.S.) in a high-unemployment or rural area, considered a targeted employment area.  A qualifying investment must, within two years, create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the United States, not including the investor and the investor’s spouse, sons, or daughters.

FAMILY BASED IMMIGRATION

IMMEDIATE RELATIVE IMMIGRANT VISAS (UNLIMITED)

These visa types are based on a close family relationship with a United States citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year. Immediate relative visa types include:

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

FAMILY PREFERENCE IMMIGRANT VISAS (LIMITED)

These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. The family preference categories are:

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children, if any.

  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of LPRs. At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will go to the spouses and children; the remainder is allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.

  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.

  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.

U.S. CITIZENSHIP

U.S. CITIZENSHIP

Lawful Permanent Residents, whose holder a Green Card and meet the eligibility requirements, can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Lawful Permanent residents whose Green Card has been valid during the 5 years prior can file for U.S. citizenship. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for U.S. citizenship after 3 years with a valid Green Card. There are exceptions. If an applicant has served in the United States Armed Forces during war, that individual may obtain citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident if he or she was in the United States upon enlistment into the U.S. military.

OTHER VISA CATEGORIES

Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

O

For persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.

Temporary Religious Worker

R

To work for the same religious denomination as the religious non-profit organization you have worked for abroad for at least two years as either a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation in the United States.  Employment must be at least part time, an average of at least 20 hours per week.

There are numerous categories of visas available. Contact our office so that we can discuss the options that are available for you.