Work Visas

If an employer needs you to enter the United States to work for a temporary, fixed period, there are many different types of work visas for which you may be eligible. These will not allow you to remain in the United States permanently or indefinitely, and they require a prospective employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and get it approved. According to USCIS, the list of available work visas includes:

  • H-1B for persons in specialty occupations
  • H-1C for registered nurses to work in certain areas
  • H-2A for temporary agricultural workers
  • H-2B for temporary non-agricultural work
  • H-3 for trainees or special education visitors
  • L for intracompany transferees
  • O for individuals with extraordinary achievement or ability
  • P-1 for individuals or team athletes or members of an entertainment group
  • P-2 for artists or entertainers performing under a reciprocal exchange program
  • P-3 for entertainers or artists to perform, teach, or coach under a culturally unique program
  • Q-1 for participants in international cultural exchange programs
  • R-1, R-2 for temporary workers to perform work in religious occupations and their spouses and children

Except for H-1B and L visa applicants, people who apply for work visas must show that they have “compelling ties” to their home country and do not intend to stay in the United States. Compelling ties may include a residence abroad or family relationships that will bring you back to your own country.

Two of the most commonly needed work visas are the H-1B and the L visa. If you need assistance applying or reapplying for a work visa, or simply have questions, contact a skilled Maryland work visa Lawyer at Anthony A. Fatemi. We serve clients throughout Maryland and Washington, DC.

H-1B Visas

The H-1B Visa has become controversial recently. There are a limited number of H-1B petitions available each year, and competition for these slots can be stiff. The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa for specialty workers who hold at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the area for which work is to be performed. A few of the specialty occupations that usually qualify under the H-1B visa are biotechnologists, chemists, architects, engineers, mathematicians, social scientists, lawyers, and accountants.

The first step in securing an H-1B visa for a specialty worker is to start the process of filing a Labor Condition Application with the United States Department of Labor. An employer must pay the prevailing wage rate for the position being offered in order to get the application certified. Next, an H-1B petition must be submitted to USCIS that includes the certified Labor Condition Application, fees, copies of the specialty worker’s educational degrees, copies of immigration documents, and company information.

If someone with an H-1B visa leaves the employ of the sponsoring employer, he or she must either apply for a change of status and be granted that status, be sponsored by another employer, or leave the United States. Those who hold H-1B visas, but who have not gotten permanent residency status after six years, have to remain outside of the United States for 1 year before reapplying for the same type of visa.

L Visas

L-1 visas are used by employees of international companies that have offices both in the United States and abroad. The L-1 visa allows foreign workers to relocate to a United States office after working abroad for the company for at least one continuous year in the last three years prior to admission into the United States. This type of visa authorizes qualified foreign workers to work at the United States office in a managerial or executive position or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. There are four possible relationships between the U.S. and non-U.S. employer offices to qualify for this visa. They may be: parent and subsidiary, branch and headquarters, sister companies that are owned by one parent, or “affiliates.”

Like the H-1B visa, the L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is valid for short amounts of time that vary depending on what your country of origin is. You can stay for a maximum for seven years with extensions. This type of visa may also be used as part of the process of obtaining a green card.

It can be difficult to navigate the complex immigration laws of the United States by yourself. We recommend that you contact an experienced Maryland work visa lawyer at Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC so that we can help you assess which work visa might be right for you. Call us at (301) 519-2801, or submit our online contact form today.