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Obtaining permission to work temporarily in the United States
Many individuals consult with Deutsch, Killea and Eapen, to figure out the best way to obtain U.S. work permission. There are different types of work visas available, based on the particular job and the employee’s qualifications, for professionals, laborers, executives, investors, scientists, artists and others. Our immigration attorneys have the expertise to help you in making the appropriate type of visa application.
Understanding the most common types of temporary work visas
We specialize in difficult immigration situations and strive to make the immigration process as smooth as possible for our clients. Here are the most typical temporary visas our business clients seek, also listed in full on the State Department’s web site:
- H1B, Professional Worker – Companies can hire foreign professional workers for up to 6 years, sometimes longer. Requirements are (1) the position must be in a “specialty occupation,” defined as requiring a certain type of university degree, bachelor or higher, (2) salary must be at least as high as the “prevailing wage,” defined as the average wage Americans make in the same position and the same geographical areas, and (3) the employee must provide the appropriate professional credentials, degree or equivalent to degree. The annual quota of 85,000 H1B workers does fill each year, so timing of the application is crucial. We can assist you. Full information about U.S. H1B workers can be found on the website of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.
- H-4 Dependents of H1B Workers – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is extending eligibility for work authorization to H-4 spouses of certain H1B workers who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. Eligible individuals include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H1B workers who: (1) have an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or; (2) have been granted H1B status beyond the six-year limit.
- F-1 Students – F-1 students completing their academic program may apply for a 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permit. Students with qualifying STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering or mathematics), working for employers participating in E-Verify, are eligible for an additional 2-year OPT work permit. F-1 students still working on their degrees may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work permits. In either case, the work is supposed to be directly related to the student’s major area of study. For more information about OPT and CPT work permits, visit CIS’ website.
- L-1 Intracompany Transferee – High-level employees may transfer from their foreign offices to their affiliate companies in the United States. L-1 is a highly advantageous category, in that it provides an expedited path to U.S. permanent residence. Requirements are (1) the employee must be a “manager,” “executive” or person with “specialized knowledge,” (2) the employee must have worked for at least one year in the U.S. company’s foreign parent, subsidiary or commonly-owned and controlled affiliate, and (3) the employee must be coming to the U.S. to work as a manager, executive or person with specialized knowledge. Full information about L-1 workers can be found on CIS’ Web Site.
- E-1 Treaty Trader – Foreign persons from qualifying countries may reside in the US, indefinitely, through the E-1 treaty trader visa. In order to qualify for the visa, the trader must come to the United States solely to carry on substantial international trade, primarily between the U.S. and the foreign state of which the trader is a national. Full information about this visa category is available on the State Department web site.
- E-2 Treaty Investor – Foreign persons from qualifying countries may reside in the U.S., indefinitely, through the E-2 treaty investor visa. Such investors may either buy into an existing company or start a new company. In order to qualify for the visa, the investment amount must be “substantial,” meaning a reasonable amount given the industry and company involved. Furthermore, there is a test of “marginality,” meaning the investment may not be the sole source of the investor’s U.S. income. Full information about E-2 workers can be found on the State Department’s Web Site.
- O-1 Extraordinary Ability Scientist, Artist, Businessperson or Athlete – A company may hire a foreign scientist, artist, athlete or business person, who is considered to be one of the “top” in a field. For example, a research facility or university may hire a truly accomplished scientist with important research results, or an art school can hire an artist of high recognition or commercial success. The foreign employee’s accomplishments and credentials must be presented in great detail to US CIS in order to obtain an O-1 visa. Full information about O-1 visas can be found on CIS’ Web Site.
- R-1, Religious Worker – Houses of worship, schools and other religious organizations may employ foreign religious ministers, teachers and other religious professionals or workers. In order to verify the position, US CIS requires copious proof of the sponsoring employer’s religious bona fides, as well as the foreign worker’s religious training. USCIS also physically inspects the employer’s work site before approving these cases. This can cause long delays. Full information about R-1 visas can be found on CIS’ Web Site.
Contact our dedicated immigration law office today in D.C.
Contact one of our immigration attorneys to find out how to obtain work permission for your employee(s), whether your organization is in the private sector, governmental, non-profit, or educational. Deutsch, Killea and Eapen, based in Washington, D.C., can help you with the process. Contact one of our attorneys at 202-728-0820 or through our online inquiry form.