H-1B visas permit foreign workers in specialty occupations (and fashion models and foreign medical graduates) to seek temporary employment in the United States. The foreign worker must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, and must possess a minimum equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor's Degree in a field of study related to the specialty occupation position.
There is an annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per year, with 6,800 visas delegated to foreign workers from Chile and Singapore. Foreign workers possessing an advanced degree (Master's Degree or higher) from a U.S. University have a separate cap of 20,000 visas per year. The cap does not apply to foreign workers already in H-1B status who are seeking to extend status or change employers, nor does it apply to those foreign workers being sponsored by an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization or entity related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, or nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization.
Spouses (including same-sex spouses) and children under the age of 21 years old of the foreign worker are eligible for an H-4 visa, which is valid for the duration of the principal applicant's H-1B status.
E-1/E-2 TREATY TRADERS/TREATY INVESTOR:
E-1 (Treaty-Trader): Must be a national of a country that has a treaty with the United States, and 51% (or more) of total international trade between the treaty country and the United States is required. The trade must be substantial and cannot be based on a single transaction, but on continuous flow of international trade between the two countries. Visa can be issued for up to two years initially through USCIS, or up to 5 years through the U.S. Department of State, and can be extended with no cap, as long as the trade continues to exist with the treaty-country.
E-2 (Treaty-Investor): Required to invest, or be actively in the process of investing, at-risk funds in a U.S. business. The investment must be substantial and be in a new, continuing or franchise business. . Visa can be issued for up to two years initially, and can be extended with no cap, as long as the investment continues to exist with the treaty-country.
E-3 AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL SPECIALTY OCCUPATION EMPLOYEE:
Similar to the H-1B visa, but specifically for Australian nationals to perform specialty occupation services in the United States. The E-3 visa can be issued for two years, and can be extended with no cap.
TN MEXICAN AND CANADIAN NATIONAL PROFESSIONALS PURSUANT TO NAFTA:
Specifically for Mexican or Canadian nationals, who intend to enter the United States on a temporary basis, in an occupation enumerated under the North American Free Trade Agreement. This visa may be extended, but the foreign worker cannot have intent to immigrate.
L-1A/L-1B MULTI-NATIONAL EXECUTIVE/MANAGER, OR EMPLOYEE WITH SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE:
L-1A: Used for transferring a foreign company's executive or manage to its U.S. branch, subsidiary or affiliate company/office. The executive or manager must have worked for the foreign entity for at least one out of the last three years. Visa can be issued up to three years, with extensions not to exceed a total period of stay of seven years.
(Please note that Multi-National Executives and Managers may be petitioned for U.S. Legal Permanent Residency, through the "EB2" category, without requiring a labor certification. Please contact me for more details!)
L-1B: For "specialized knowledge employees" who have worked for the foreign company abroad for at least one year in the last three years, and will be placed at a U.S. branch, subsidiary or affiliate company/office. “Specialized knowledge” requires unique/confidential information about company products, services, processes and/or procedures of the company, which were learned through employment with the foreign company. Visa issued up to three years, with extensions not to exceed a total period of stay of five years.