HR Magazine - September 2000: Want to Work in the United States? - Visa Lexicon

Sep 1, 2000
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HR Magazine,   July 2000 Vol. 45, No. 9

The following is a brief overview of the employment visa types that companies may find most useful. HR should check with an immigration attorney for the specific requirements for each program and for any changes in immigration law. For information on fees, go to:
​www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/index.htm#chart.

  1. E-1 Treaty Trader. Allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to direct and develop substantial import/export trade between the United States and the treaty country. For more information on countries covered, go to http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/ and click on 9 FAM 41.51 Exhibit 1.

  2. E-2 Treaty Investor. Allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to direct and develop substantial investments made in a U.S. business.

  3. EB-1/EB-2/EB-3 Priority Workers. Allows aliens categorized as extraordinary (EB-1), exceptional (EB-2) or other professionals/skilled workers (EB-3) to work in the United States, in that order of preference. Currently, 40,000 visas per year are provided for each of these preference categories. Contact an attorney to see how the INS defines “extraordinary,” “exceptional” and “professional/skilled.” Two additional specialized preference classes (EB-4 and EB-5) each provide an extra 10,000 visas per year.

  4. H1-B Specialty Occupation. Allows professionals to enter the United States and accept temporary work within their professions. This visa may require or be limited to specific quotas or lengths of stay as well as educational and salary minimums.

  5. H2-A/B Temporary Workers. Allows agricultural workers (H2-A) and nonagricultural workers (H2-B) to work in the United States on a temporary basis. The job itself must be temporary, not merely the length of employment.

  6. J-1 Exchange Visitor. Allows participants to enter the United States for a limited time to gain practical experience or to participate in an approved exchange program. Trainees must participate in a structured training program and demonstrate an intention to return to their country of residence. Varying restrictions apply to other participants such as professors, research scholars, medical graduates and teachers.

  7. L-1A/B Intra-Company Transferee. Allows executives and managers (L-1A) or employees with specialized knowledge (L-1B) to transfer from a foreign company to a U.S. parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate for limited periods. Participants must have worked at the foreign company in the appropriate capacity for at least 12 months during the three years immediately prior to filing a visa application.
  8. TN-Treaty NAFTA. Allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States in certain professional occupations (see NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1 at:​

    www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/services/NAFTA/index.htm

    for which they are qualified. The occupations generally require post-secondary education, degrees or licenses.

  9. O-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability. Allows certain individuals with extraordinary ability to work in the United States on a temporary basis. The ability must be documented and substantiated through awards, media attention, major contributions or innovation within their field of expertise, or national/international acclaim. Categories include: scientists, educators, businesspersons and athletes; artists and entertainers not affiliated with film or television; and artists and entertainers affiliated with film or television.

  10. Q-1 Cultural exchange. Allows aliens to enter the United States as participants in an international cultural exchange program whose purpose can include practical training and employment as well as the sharing of culture.

    Allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to direct and develop substantial import/export trade between the United States and the treaty country.

    For more information on countries covered, go to:

    http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/

    and click on:

    9 FAM 41.51 Exhibit 1.​

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