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Nonimmigrant Visas

An H-1B Professional Worker visa is for foreign nationals coming temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation, or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. It is suitable and ideal for engineers, nurses, professors, researchers, computer programmers and other professionals. A specialty occupation is one which “requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation and which requires the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” The need for a person in a specialty occupation can be shown by one of the following:
1. A bachelor’s or higher degree is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;

2. The degree requirement is common in the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations, or the position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;

3. The employer normally requires the degree for the position; or

4. The nature of the duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform them is usually obtained through a bachelors level or higher education.
The H-1B visa allows specialty occupation workers to enter the United States and work in a professional capacity for a maximum period of six years. In this category, the U.S. employer petitions the USCIS for the aliens entry to the United States for the purposes of working with that employer. There is no foreign residency requirement, and the alien may apply for permanent residence while he or she is in H-1B status or before or after he or she applies for an H-1B visa.
The H-2B non-immigrant visa permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the U.S. and perform temporary non agricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent basis. Employment must be temporary or seasonal non-agricultural job from an U.S. employer. An applicant must have the appropriate background, skills and/or natural abilities needed by the employer. H-2B Visas are targeted at skilled and unskilled workers.

The H-3 visa is for an alien coming to the United States through invitation by an individual or organization, to receive instruction and training from an employer in any field other than to receive graduate medical education or training. The training program must be one that is not designed primarily to provide productive employment.

The Exchange Visitor (J) nonimmigrant visa category is provided for persons who are approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S., under provisions of U.S. immigration law. This means that before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J visa, you must first apply, meet the requirements, and be accepted for one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories through a designated sponsoring organization. If you are accepted as a participant in an exchange program, the sponsor will provide you with information and documents necessary to apply for the J visa to enter the U.S.

K visas are issued to U.S. citizens’ fiancs who are outside the U.S. (issued K-1 visas), and U.S. citizens’ spouses who are outside the U.S. (issued K-3 visas). The minor children of such fiancs or spouses who will accompany them to enter into the U.S. may apply for a “K-2” or “K-4” visa respectively. The purpose of the K-1 visa is to allow the alien fianc who lives outside the U.S. to travel into the U.S. to marry the citizen fianc. The purpose of the K-3 visa is to promote family reunion and serves as a temporary remedy for the long delayed family based immigration petition process. It allows the alien spouse to stay in the U.S. while waiting for the result of the pending immigration petition. The alien spouse may obtain work authorization during the waiting period.

The L-1 nonimmigrant visa is used by international employers who are seeking the transfer of multi-national managers or executives (L-1A) or aliens of specialized knowledge (L-1B) into the United States from their U.S. affiliates sites. The transferring employee must have worked full-time for the company abroad for at least 1 year within the prior 3 years. All L-1 transferees may be approved for an initial entry of up to three years with extensions available for up to two years per extension. Managers and executives can be transferred for up to a total of seven years while specialized knowledge employees can be transferred for up to a total of five years.

Spouses and unmarried minor children of L visa holders may obtain L-2 visas. L-2 spouses can receive EAD cards

The M-1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign students wishing to pursue vocational or non-academic studies, other than language training, to enter into the U.S.

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. The O-1A nonimmigrant classification covers individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry) and the O-1B nonimmigrant classification covers individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. A spouse or child of an O-1 visa holder may apply for O-3 nonimmigrant visa.
The P-1 entertainment visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals who are athletes, artists and entertainers to enter into the U.S. for a specific event, competition or performance.

The R-1 Religious Worker visa allows foreign nationals in religious occupations to come to the U.S. and work as a minister of religion, in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation, or for a non-profit religious organization at the request of the organization, in a religious occupation which relates to a traditional religious function. The Religious Worker applicant must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least the two years immediately prior to the application date. The religious denomination and its affiliate that is petitioning for the worker to U.S. must be exempt from taxation or qualify for tax-exempt status. The dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of R-1 workers are entitled to R-2 status with the same restrictions as the principal. As R-2 visa holders, dependents may not be employed but may study in the U.S.
The TN nonimmigrant visa is a special category created under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) for qualifying professionals who are nationals of Canada or Mexico. Qualifying aliens may work for a company located in the U.S. for a temporary period. They may also work for a Canadian or Mexican company in the U.S. when those companies are engaged in projects with U.S. based companies. The initial time limit for a TN professional to work in the U.S. is one year. However, this period can be renewed at one-year increments indefinitely. The alien is required to possess a bachelors degree or higher, to qualify as a professional in this visa category. The alien must intend to depart the U.S. upon completion of his authorized status. Mexican nationals require a visa before they can be admitted to the U.S. in this status, whereas Canadian nationals need only apply with the USCIS at the border and bypass the visa requirement.