Immigration could involve complex and difficult processes given the labyrinthine backdrop of modern immigration law. And more often than not, time is crucial in this area of law. Our team delivers highly personalized, up-to-date, top-quality and comprehensive advice to our clients. We counsel on a broad range of issues and handle all phases of immigration matters. We continue to successfully represent and advise our individual and corporate clients throughout the United States and abroad.
Immigrant Visas give a foreign national permanent residence status in the United States. An immigrant visa allows him to reside and work permanently in the U.S. as well as to travel. He will be qualified to apply for citizenship after five (5) years.
A U.S. employer may petition a foreign national employee based on a bona fide “offer of employment” approved by the Department of Labor. Different types of visas in this category include the following:
EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or Persons with exceptional ability
- Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
- Advanced degree professionals
- Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved.
EB-3 Skilled or Professional workers
- Professionals with bachelor’s degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
- Skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
- Unskilled workers
EB-4 Special Immigrants
- Religious workers
- Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad
A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign national employee to work permanently in the U.S. In most instances, before the U.S. employee can submit an immigrant petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must acquire a certified labor application from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly situated U.S. workers.
EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY & NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER
Foreign nationals who are at the very top of their respective fields may obtain permanent residence status by demonstrating extraordinary ability and it will inure to the benefit of national interest.
- Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
- Outstanding professors or researchers
- Managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States
The petition is filed either by a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident relative.
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR)
These types of immigrant visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, including spouses, children, and parents. Additionally, a U.S. citizen can sponsor a child adopted or to be adopted from abroad, if that child meets the definition of orphan as provided for in immigration law. Family members of United States citizens (not Legal Permanent Residents) can file Immediate relative Petitions. For immigration purposes, Immediate Relative classifications include:
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
- Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen (IR-2)
- Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen (IR-3)
- Orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen (IR-4)
- Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old (IR-5)
Limited Family-Based Immigration
These types of immigrant classifications involve specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident.
- Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their children, if any.
- Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful permanent residents.
- Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children.
- Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age.
A foreign national willing to invest [$500,000 in a targeted employment area (area that experienced unemployment of at least 50% of the national average rate) or a rural area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget or $1,000,000] in an existing business or a new commercial enterprise will be qualified for this visa. The business must create full time employment for at least ten (10) U.S. workers. The foreign national investor, his spouse and his unmarried minor children can obtain permanent residence based on the ongoing business concern.
B-1 (Business Visa) is given to eligible nationals of countries who can show a business-related reason for visiting the U.S.
B-2 (Tourist Visa) is given to foreign nationals desiring to travel for touring and visiting purposes. The trips are transitory and cannot involve employment. Tourist visa duration is generally six (6) months, extendible to a year.
E-1 (Treaty Trader Visa) or E-2 (Treaty Investor Visa) permits citizens of a country that has an investment treaty with the U.S. coming to work for a U.S. company whose activities with the country represent half of their business or the U.S. business has substantial investment from nationals of the home country. The foreign national must be the owner of the company or a key employee and 50% of the business must be owned by nationals of the home country. Treaty Trader Visa duration is 2 years, extendible. While Treaty Investor Visa duration is 2 to 5 years, also extendible.
E-3 (Nationals of Australia Visa) is similar to the H-1B Visa.
F-1 (Student Visa) permits foreign nationals accepted by a USCIS approved school, college or university in addition to fulfilling other formalities for full time study in the U.S. The visa will be effective for the duration of the course of study.
G (Representatives of International Organizations Visa)
H-1B (Work Visa) for professionals by and large requires a bachelor’s degree or significant high-level work experience of twelve (12) years. This necessitates sponsorship by a U.S. employer for a professional or specialty level occupation. A specialty level occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge involving completion of a specific course of higher education. This classification requires a labor attestation issued by the Secretary of Labor. There must be documentation of the employer’s business need for the position. The length of stay for a work visa holder is till six (6) years, extendible under certain conditions. USCIS allows for premium processing wherein the petition will be adjudicated in fifteen (15) days.
H-1C (Nurse Work Visa) for foreign nurses coming to the U.S. to perform nursing services in medically underserved areas for a temporary period of up to 3 years.
H-2 (Agricultural or Non-Agricultural Workers Visa) allows agricultural or non-agricultural workers temporary employment in the U.S. There must be documentation to the effect that there are no qualified American workers available for the position offered. Skilled workers are included in this classification. Length of stay for the H-2 visa holder is 1 to 3 years.
H-3 (Training Visa) is utilized by U.S. companies to bring foreign employees generally without university degrees to the U.S. for a short period to participate in a training program not readily accessible overseas. Training Visa duration is 2 years.
I (Representative of Foreign Press, Radio, Film and Information Media Visa) is granted for the duration of the employment relationship underlying the media function. It may be renewed.
J-1 (Exchange Visitor Visa) is used for foreign students, interns, trainees, au pairs, doctors and scholars in order for them to join in U.S. government approved programs. Periods of stay differ.
K-1 [Fiancé(e)Visa] allows one to come to the U.S. for the explicit purpose of marrying a U.S.
citizen. This is only available if the future spouse is physically outside the U.S. The Fiancé(e)
Visa holder has 90 days from the date of entry to marry. No extensions are allowed.
K-3 (Spouse Visa) requires that one is married to a U.S. citizen who has already filed an immigration visa petition.
L-1 (Intra-company Transferee Visa) permits managers, executives or individuals with specialized knowledge to work for the U.S. subsidiary, branch or affiliate of their present employer. The Intra-company transferee must, within the 3 preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for 1 year. Length of stay is up to 7 years for managers and executives. It can be converted to a green card.
M-1 (Vocational Student Visa) allows a student to stay temporarily solely for the purpose of a course of study at an established vocational or non-academic institution in the U.S.
O (Extraordinary Ability Work Visa) is for aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics and those accompanying or assisting them. Length of stay is up to 3 years, extendible in 1 year increments.
P (Athletes, Artists and Entertainment Group Visa) permits athletes, artists and entertainment groups to participate in a performance for a U.S. employer or an international employer working through an American agent. The performance must require a performer or international quality. A P-1 petition may remain valid for up to 5 years, extendible for no more than 5 years. Extensions will be granted in 1 year increments as long as there is a need for Beneficiary’s services and until the project is completed.
P-1 (Entertainment Visa) is for internationally know athletes, individually or as part of a group or team, and entertainment groups. They must meet the basic standard of international recognition.
P-2 (Artists and Entertainers on Exchange Programs Visas) is reserved for artists or entertainers who perform solo or as part of a group, pursuant to a reciprocal exchange program between one or more U.S. organizations and one or more such organizations in other countries that provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.
P-3 (Artist or Entertainer to be Part of a Culturally Unique Program Visa) is given artists and entertainers, individually or as a group coming to the U.S. to develop, interpret, represent, coach or teach their particular art or discipline under a program that is culturally unique. The artist or entertainer must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of his art form.
Q (Cultural Exchange Visa) is intended to facilitate the sharing of international cultures. It requires an international cultural exchange program that provides practical training. An integral part of Beneficiary’s duties must have a cultural element. It must engage interaction with the American public. The Cultural Exchange visa duration is 15 months only.
R (Religious Worker Visa) is for individuals seeking to enter the U.S. to work in a religious capacity. The religious worker must have been a member of the religious denomination for 2 years immediately prior to the application. The duration of a Religious Worker visa is up to 5 years only.
TN (Canadians and Mexicans NAFTA Professional Worker Visa) allows citizens of Canada and Mexico as NAFTA professionals, to work in the U.S. in designated occupations for a U.S. or foreign employer. Permanent residents are not qualified to apply for the visa. The NAFTA Professional Worker visa is valid for 1 year, renewable in 1 year increments.
U [Immigration Relief for Domestic Violence (and Other Crimes) Survivors] Victims of qualifying criminal activities who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse may apply for a U visa.
V (Spouse and Children of a Legal Permanent Resident visas) were created to permit families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas. To be eligible, one must be a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition submitted by a spouse or parent who is a lawful permanent resident by December 21, 2000. The children-beneficiaries must be unmarried and under 21 years of age.
WB (Visa Waiver) citizens of visa waiver countries may be admitted for a period of 90 days for a B-1/B-2 purpose. Applicant must present a non-refundable roundtrip ticket. Neither extensions nor changes of status are allowable.