Employment and Non-Immigrant Visas

F-1 Student Visa

The wide variety of educational facilities in the United States offer great opportunities for students wishing to further their education and training. The intellectual stimulation and social experiences of studying in the U.S. will be vital parts of a student's growth and development. Foreign national students who want to study in the U.S. usually apply for the F-1 visa. Although the J-1 and M-1 Visas (for vocational students) are sometimes used, most foreign students enter in F-1 status. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to join you in the U.S., under F-2 status. A prospective student's Form I-20A-B may be used to request an F-2 visa. If your spouse and/or dependent children are joining you later, they will need to submit Form I-20A-B, endorsed from the school you are attending. F-2 visa holders cannot work while in the U.S.

Steps
You must first apply and be accepted to an INS-approved school in the U.S. If admitted, the school will issue you an INS Form I-20 A-B/ID (Certificate of Eligibility). You must submit your visa application form, Form I-20A-B and other required documents at the U.S. Consulate, Consular Office or U.S. Embassy with jurisdiction over your permanent residence.

E-2 Treaty Investor

U.S immigration policy supports investors and foreign commerce in a variety of ways. The E-2 visa is one way the U.S. ensures healthy commerce with the world. The E-2 visa is issued to individuals known as 'treaty investors'. A treaty investor is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. You should be coming to the U.S. to partake in a substantial investment. Your investment may be less than that demanded for the EB-5 ($500,000). However, if the investment becomes equal or greater than $500,000, you may petition for permanent immigration status. Your spouse and/opr children under the age of 21 may accompany you under E-2 status. Your employees may also be eligible for the E-2 Visa.

Steps
You may apply for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate in your country. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult.

Documents
To apply for an E-1 Visa, you must documents as required by the individual consular post. Although the legal requirements are the same, the exact documents and format may vary and change regularly. For most recent information, contact your attorney or the website of the applicable consular post.

Employment or Business Based Permanent Residence

There are five classifications for employment-based immigration:

EB-1 Priority workers
1. Individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
2. Outstanding professors or researchers
3. Managers and executives transferred to the U.S.

EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability
1. Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
2. Professionals with advanced degrees
3. Physicians intending to practice medicine in underserved areas

EB-3 Skilled or professional workers
1. Professionals with bachelor's or equivalent degrees
2. Skilled workers with at least two years’ experience
3. Unskilled workers

EB-4 Special Immigrants
1. Religious workers
2. Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad

EB-5 Immigrant Investors
Foreign investors who purchase or create a new US enterprise:
1. After an investment of $1 million ($500,000 in underdeveloped regions) and
2. Create at least 10 new full-time positions for US workers

E-1 Treaty Trader

U.S immigration policy supports investors and foreign commerce in a variety of ways. The E-1 visa is one method for ensuring healthy commerce with the world. The E-1 Visa is issued to individuals known as 'treaty traders'. A treaty trader is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. You should be coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, or to develop and direct the operations of a business in which you have invested or will soon invest a substantial amount of capital. You must also be a national of a treaty country and you must be involved in international trade. Your spouse and children may join you under the same status. Your employees, or the employees of your treaty company, may also receive E-1 visas.

Steps
You may apply for an E-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate in your country. We recommend you do not apply at a U.S. Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult.

H-1B Specialty Occupation

The laws regarding the H-1B visa are in constant flux and applicants seriously considering this category as a means of working in the US on a temporary basis should stay informed and updated as much as possible. Because an applicant’s circumstances and the circumstances of his dependent family members may require special attention, the following information is not tailored to any one individual but provides general information about this category. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the US and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to health and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step toward permanent immigration. In order to qualify for H-1B classification, the applicant must have at least a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent AND the job sought must require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Because this is not a self-petitioning category, the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the US. The spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-1B worker as H-4 dependents. However, they cannot work unless they qualify for a work visa. H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the US without obtaining a student visa.

Steps
Because the H-1B visa requires a US sponsor, the applicant must seek a US employer who is willing to hire the applicant temporarily, pay the applicant the prevailing wage for the offered position and file the petition and supporting documents with Immigration. The petition process begins with the sponsoring employer filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. Upon obtaining an approved LCA the employer files the petition with Immigration. The petition must be filed with documentation that shows the job is a professional or specialty occupation and that the H-1B applicant is qualified for the position.