Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas
B1/B2: This visa is one of the most used visas in the world. It is known as the Visitor visa (B2) or the Temporary Business Visa (B1). If you want to come to the United States for vacation, or to visit family and friends, then this is the proper visa.
The B1/B2 can also be used to negotiate various contracts to set up a business for several other types of business visas. Your status on this visa can be extended and/or changed to another type of status such as a Student Visa or another type of work visa.
E-1: The E-1 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the alien's country of nationality. The trade involved must be international exchange (successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties) of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.
If the alien is inside the U.S., the I-129 is used to apply for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment. This classification does not require a petition for employment if the alien is outside of the U.S. If outside of the U.S., the alien applies for an E-1 visa on his or her own behalf directly to a U.S. consular office abroad.
Application Document Requirements: The application must be filed with the appropriate fee payment, and evidence that:
- The applicant is a national of a country with whom the U.S. has the requisite treaty; the activity constitutes trade;
- the trade is of a substantial nature, i.e. an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of trade items between the U.S. and the treaty country;
- the trade conducted by the alien is principally trade between the U.S. and the treaty country of which the alien is a national. Trade is deemed to be principally between the U.S. and treaty country when over 50% of the volume of international trade conducted by the alien treaty trader is between the U.S. and treaty country of which the alien is a national;
- if the applicant is not the principal trader, that the alien is employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possesses specific qualifications that make the alien's services essential to the successful and efficient operation of the enterprise;
- the applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of E-1 status (However, an application for initial admission, change of status, or extension of stay in E classification may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.)
- the employee has the same nationality as the principal alien employer; and
- the alien employer is an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons having the nationality of the treaty country.
E-2: This is the premier business Visa. If you are interested in starting your own business in the United States, you may qualify for the Treaty Investor Visa. People who want to come to the U.S. quickly and efficiently to start their own business, or to purchase an existing business can use this Visa. Numerous countries around the world have a treaty with the U.S., and it is people from these countries that can come to the U.S. on the E1 or E2 Visa. This visa is for the entrepreneur.
If you want to set up a company to trade with your home country, then you may qualify as a treaty trader. This Visa does not need prior INS approval, and therefore, once it is properly prepared, it can be sent directly to the U.S. Consulate. This means when you and your family want to enter the U.S. rapidly to get the business operational or to do a 5 month transition of ownership, this is the perfect Visa.
There is no set minimum or maximum amount that must be invested. All unmarried children under the age of 21 years and your spouse can come to the U.S. once you qualify. The children can go to school without any problems.
F-1: This is the Student Visa. It allows you to come to the U.S. to study at a wide variety of educational institutions ranging from large Universities to community colleges to specialized institutions such as cooking schools. This visa can also be used for you to come to the U.S. to study English. The INS grants such a visa to an alien who has a residence in a foreign country which he/she has no intention of abandoning, who is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study and who entered the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study at an established institution of learning or other recognized place of study in the United States, particularly designated by him/her and approved by the Attorney General after consultation with the Department of Education of the United States.
The Student Visa will last for as long as you are in school which depends upon the length of the course of study. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the U.S. once your visa is approved. You can later change your status to allow you to work but F-1 does not authorize you to work . H-1B If you have a college education and a sponsor in the United States, you may qualify for this visa. It can be approved in as fast as two to three months. This visa is usually issued for a period of three years. Should you decide to stay longer, it can be extended for another 3 years. There are a limited number of these visas per year, and therefore, if you have a sponsor, you should get started right away.
If you later decide you want a green card, you can apply for 'Labor Certification' while you have your H-1B/Specialty Occupation Visa. Your spouse and children can come to the U.S. once you are approved. Additionally, your children can go to school without any problem
H-2: This is a visa to meet temporary needs (H-2's.) U.S. employers may petition for skilled or unskilled alien workers to meet temporary or seasonal needs in positions for which qualified U.S. workers are not available. It is important to note that both the services for which the employer requests H- 2 labor approval and the employer's need for such services must be temporary. There is currently an annual cap of 66,000 visas for H-2B workers. There is currently no annual cap on visas for H-2A workers. The Department of Labor has compiled a list of H-2B Program Certifications By Occupation for the period June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2000.
The first step to hiring an H-2 worker from outside the U.S. is for the employer to apply for a temporary labor certification with the Department of Labor. These certificates are designed to assure that the admission of aliens to work in this country on a temporary basis will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, or working conditions of U.S. workers. The employer is required to file the labor certification with the I-129 petition. For specific procedures on filing, please visit the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of H-2 workers are entitled to H-4 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may not be employed under the H-4 classification. A single petition may cover multiple workers if:
- they will perform the same services ;
- they will work in the same location;
- they are included on the same labor certification and,
- they come from places that are served by the same U.S. consulate, or, if visa exempt, they will enter at the same port of entry.
- it is not necessary to identify requested H-2A beneficiaries by name (unless only a single worker is needed) if they are unnamed on the underlying labor certification. H-2B beneficiaries must be named unless circumstances (e.g. emergencies) make identification by name impossible. The number of unnamed beneficiaries must always be stated on the petition.
H-3: This visa is for people who want to enter the United States to get trained for any number of different fields of endeavor. You do not go to a school on this type of visa, but rather, you get trained on the job at a company offering a training program.
Educational training is combined with on the job training to give you a rewarding experience in the United States. This visa is usually valid for up to eighteen months.
J-1: This is the Training/Student Visa. It is very versatile and allows you to come to the United States to either get training or study at numerous institutions and organizations. This visa allows you to get trained in areas of discipline ranging from the medical to the agricultural to business fields. This visa does not need prior Immigration and Naturalization approval, and therefore, can be obtained quickly. You must have either a sponsoring school, organization or business. It is sometimes easier to get this visa than the F-1 Student Visa, but does carry some other significant restrictions. If one receives a J-1 Visa, then one may be subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.
If one's field is on the home country's skills list if there was government funding, or if one is coming to the United States to complete a medical residency, then one will be subject to this requirement. Unless a waiver is obtained, one must return to one's home country for a period of two years prior to returning to the United States as a permanent resident or on the majority of non-immigrant visa. However, if one is subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, one may still obtain an O-1 Visa, if qualified, or possibly other visas such as an F-1 student visa, prior to completion of the two-year requirement or obtainment of the Waiver.
To obtain J-1 Waiver:
- No Objection Letter from the home country government (NOT available for medical residents)- Exceptional hardship to a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse or children;
- Petition by an Interested U.S. Government Agency (or a State 20 program); or
K-1: This is the alternative to waiting outside the United States for nearly a year to be with your spouse. Rather than getting married outside the United States, you can have a Fiancee Visa issued in a very short time. In fact, it usually takes only thirty to forty-five days to get an approval from the INS. Once the visa is issued, your fiancâ€še will come to the United States and you will get married within ninety days in the United States. Afterwards, your spouse will be with you in the United States while awaiting issuance of the Green Card. Your spouse can also leave the United States without any problem of returning. Any children that your fiancâ€še has can also come to the United States once the visa is issued. This visa automatically allows your fiancâ€še to work upon entry to the United States.
L-1: If you work at a company outside of the United States which has some type of branch or related office in the United States, you can come to the United States as an Intracompany Transferee. It can be approved in as fast as two to three months. The visa can be extended for up to 7 years depending on the type of employee you are. If you are a manager, and later want to get your green card, you can quickly obtain your green card as a Multi-National Manager. Otherwise, if you are not a manager, and decide you want your green card, you can apply for 'Labor Certification' while you have your Intracompany Transferee Visa. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved on L-2 visa. The recent law change (January 2002) enables L-2 spouses to obtain work authorization (Employment Authorization Card) from INS. Spouse is eligible for an EAD as long as his/her spouse hold a valid L-1 status. Additionally, L-1 holder's children can go to school in the United States without a problem.
An L-1A Visa is for intra-company transferees at the executive/managerial level. This visa is available where the foreign national has been continuously employed abroad for 1 of the 3 years immediately preceding entry by a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company. The L- 1A can be valid for a maximum of seven (7) years. The initial validity is for a maximum of three (3) years.
An L-1B Visa is for intra-company transferees possessing specialized knowledge related to the company and/or its products, procedures, etc. The L-1B can be valid for a maximum of five (5) years. The initial validity is for a maximum of three (3) years.
M-1: This visa is similar to the F-1 Student Visa except it is for vocational training. There are a vide variety of institutions accepting M-1 Students. Some examples would be a Barber Shop to Automobile Technician Schools to Electrical Training Schools. The M-1 Vocational Student Visa will last for the length of the designated course. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the U.S. once your visa is approved.
O-1: If you are an extremely talented alien, you may qualify for this visa. If you are a company that regularly searches for the top talent in the world, these persons can come to the United States as an Extraordinary Ability Alien. The usual fields of accomplishment range from various artistic to business to athletic fields. You can come temporarily for the expected length of time they are needed. You can later apply for the Green Card on the basis that you are an extraordinary ability alien. These persons are highly valued by the United States, and therefore, the visas can be approved very quickly. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.
P-1: If you belong to a music group that has various awards and are well-known, you can come to the United States to perform in various venues. Also, the essential helpers of the group can come in to the United States to make certain the performances go smoothly. The length of this visa depends on the number of performances. It can be extended if more performances are later booked. Your status can be changed at a later time should it be necessary. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.
Q-1: This visa allows you to come to the United States to exchange your culture with the United States. This can be done in a variety of ways from teaching to performing to other means of exchanging your culture. Many times you may not qualify for other types of visas and this particular visa gives you a viable alternative. This visa is valid for the time necessary for the cultural program to be completed. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.
R-1: This is the temporary religious visa. If you want to come to the United States to perform duties in a religious organization, this would be the visa that would be of most interest to you. This visa does not need prior Immigration and Naturalization approval, and therefore, is a very quick visa to obtain. Later, you may be able to apply for the permanent residence religious visa to obtain the Green Card. This visa can be issued for up to three years. Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.
TN- 1 (NAFTA visa) If you are a national of either Canada or Mexico, this visa is available to you. It is a temporary work visa for people who have a Bachelor's Degree or the equivalent in work experience. There are numerous types of fields that are eligible for this type of visa. Some examples range from graphic artists, business, medical, teaching and computer fields. While this visa is valid for only one year, it can easily be renewed. In Canada, this visa does not need prior Immigration and Naturalization approval, and therefore, is quick to obtain.