Business Immigration: Work Visas


For foreign nationals to be able to work in the United States, they need a work visa. There are several kinds of work visas that foreigners can apply for. The right one for them depends on the kind of work that they’ll be doing. Most visas for employment are non-immigrant visas that allow foreigners to stay and work in the country temporarily.

Different Work Visa Categories

The following are some of the different work visas a foreign national may apply for. Processing times vary, depending on several factors. As expected, individuals who successfully obtain these visas have to comply with conditions and requirements to maintain their legal status.

  1. EB-1 Visa

The EB-1 visa is for priority workers. These are the best and most skilled individuals, boasting extraordinary ability in their fields, such as multinational executives or outstanding researchers and professors. They must provide detailed documentation proving sustained recognition for their work. They must also continue working in the same field when they get to the United States.

  1. H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa

work visasThis is a non-immigrant visa obtained by foreign professional workers to be able to stay in the US for a three-year term. It is renewable and is normally used by employers to hire certain specialty professionals of a different nationality. It is the employer who petitions for his alien hiree’s entry into the country with an H-1B application. Take note that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) limits the number of H-1B visa applications it accepts per year. When that quota is reached, employers have to wait until the following year to petition a foreign employee.

  1. L-1 Visa

This is another non immigrant visa for professional workers. It is specifically for those who have already been working as a manager, executive, or some other specialized role for at least a year within the last three years for the company or subsidiary of the company petitioning for their entry.

  1. TN Visa

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this visa allows Canadian and Mexican citizens entry into the US to engage in temporary work or business activities. Canadians have to seek employment in NAFTA’s list of approved professions. Meanwhile, Mexicans should have pre-arrangement for employment in the approved professions.

Grace Periods

When foreign nationals terminate their employment in the US before their non-immigrant visa expires, a grace period of time takes effect. Those with E, H-1B, L-1, O-1, and TN visas have up to 60 days in which their visa status remains valid. Although they may lawfully remain in the US, they are unauthorized to work during this time, with the exception of H-1B visa holders transitioning to another job. Those with E, L-1, and TN visas may also have an additional 10 days in their grace period.

Loss of Sponsorship

When foreigners pursue an immigrant visa based on work, they run the risk of their employer revoking or withdrawing their visa petition or perhaps even going out of business. Immigration laws do offer certain protections should such a situation arise. A petition that has been approved for a minimum of 180 days won’t be automatically revoked if the employer sponsoring it withdraws it or closes shop. Also, a foreigner can usually keep the same priority date for an employment-based immigrant visa application if the petition is revoked, unless revocation is based on fraud, material error, intentional misrepresentation, or invalidation of labor certification.

From Non-Immigrant to Immigrant Employment Visa

Those with E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, or O-1 non-immigrant visas who are waiting for the priority date on their immigrant visa application may obtain an employment authorization document if they can prove compelling circumstances that justify its issuance. The employment authorization document is renewable in one-year terms.

In Need of Work Visas? Consult a Florida Immigration Attorney Today!

Obtaining a visa can be a long and complicated process. Whether you’re a foreign national who received a job offer and wants to apply for a visa or you’re a US employer who wants to bring in temporary workers from their home country, you have to go through a work visa application process. It is really best that you consult an immigration lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the US visa program and other nuances of US immigration law. For legal assistance and advice on obtaining a work visa, call us at AmLaw Group to speak with one of our experienced Florida immigration attorneys.

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