Business Immigration: Work Visas & Employment Green Cards
Are you a professional who wants to work in California? Are you a software engineer or IT Executive? A California company looking to hire internationally? Warren Law Firm can help.
For over 20 years, Warren Law Firm has been helping local companies obtain visas for talented international professionals, and helping talented professionals obtain their own work visas. Our San Francisco business immigration services may be able to help you, too.
What is a Work Visa in U.S. Immigration?
A work visa is a permit that allows a foreign national to work in the United States. There are several types of work visas, each with specific eligibility requirements.
Work visas are typically valid for a specific period of time and allow the holder to engage employment only with the sponsoring employer.
Work visas are generally divided into two categories: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.
Nonimmigrant visas are typically issued to foreign nationals who wish to work in the United States on a temporary basis, while immigrant visas are issued to those who intend to live and work in the country permanently.
Who Can Apply for a Work Visa in the United States?
Generally, anyone who wants to work in the United States, but does not have another means of immigrating to the U.S. such as with familial relationships or asylum, will need to obtain a work visa.
But not everyone is eligible. There are various work visas for various jobs, education levels and experience.
If at first, you don’t believe you are eligible for any work visas, contact an immigration attorney and they can better explain your options.
Do You Need a Sponsor for a Work Visa?
In most cases, yes, you will need a sponsor for a work visa. A sponsor is typically an employer, but it could also be a school or other organization.
The sponsor is the one who files the petition on your behalf with the US government. You will not need a sponsor if you are doing an investor visa.
Can You Petition the U.S. Government for Your Own Work Visa?
It is possible to petition the U.S. government for your own work visa, but it is generally more difficult to do so than it would be if you had a sponsor.
If you are self-employed or otherwise do not have a sponsoring employer, you will need to demonstrate that you have some extraordinary skills or experience that make you an asset to the United States.
You should consult with a San Francisco immigration attorney if you’re considering taking this route. You may also choose to make a substantial financial contribution to a U.S. company and get an investor visa without a sponsor.
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With more than 20 years of immigration and business immigration experience, Angela Warren has helped hundreds of individuals, families and businesses.
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Common Types of Work Visas
Warren Law Firm works with people from all around the world to find the right work visa for their needs, including:
- TN Visa – North American Free Trade Agreement for Canadian and Mexican Citizens. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN non-immigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage in business activities at a professional level. Find out more about the TN visa, requirements and how to apply.
- EB-5 Visa & Investor Visa. The EB-5 visa, or investor visa, provides permanent resident status for an investor willing to make a capital investment in a new or existing firm. To qualify the investment must create or save at least ten jobs and, if the firm does business in a “targeted” employment area, the investment may be as low as $800,000. Investing in non-targeted employment areas involves a $1,000,000 investment. The EB-5 visa can eventually lead to permanent residency in the United States though an EB-5 green card. Find out more about the EB-5 visa.
- EB-2 Visa for Persons with Exceptional Ability or Professionals with Advanced Degrees. The EB-2 green card is reserved for persons who desire permanent lawful residence and are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. This visa requires a labor certification unless the applicant can obtain a national interest waiver. Find out more about the EB-2 investor visas, requirements and how to apply.
- H-1B Visas for Persons with Theoretical or Technical Expertise. As one of the most coveted work visas, U.S. businesses use H-1B visas to employ foreign workers in temporary specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise, such as accountants, architects, computer programmers, engineers, scientists, and teachers. Find out more about the H-1B visa, requirements and how to apply.
- E-3 Visa for Australian Citizens. The E-3 visa is available to Australian citizens who are coming to the US to perform a specialty occupation. This specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum to qualify for this visa.. Find out more about the E-3 visa, requirements and how to apply.
- O-1 Visa and P-3 Visa for Artists. A San Francisco immigration attorney like Angela Warren can be a great advantage for artists and chefs who want an O-1 or P-3 visa to live and work in San Francisco, or for San Francisco companies wishing to get a visa for one of their potential employees. Find out more about O-1 and P-3 visas, requirements and how to apply.
- E-2 Investor Visa and E-1 Trade Visa. The E-2 visa is similar to an EB-5 visa with a few exceptions. An E-1 visa is available to those who qualify for Treaty Trader status. Find out more about the E-2 and E-1 visas, requirements and how to apply.
- L-1A, L-1B and Other Work Visas. The L-1A work visa classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to an office in the U.S. or to a company establishing a U.S. office. The employer must file a petition on behalf of the employee. The L-1B non-immigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S. The employer must file a petition with USCIS on behalf of the employee. Find out more about the L-1A, L-1B and other work visas, requirements and how to apply.
What is an Employment Green Card in the United States?
An employment green card in the United States is a work permit that allows an individual to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. The employment green card is also known as lawful permanent residence or a green card.
To be eligible for an employment green card, an individual must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and must be able to demonstrate that they are qualified for the position. The individual must also meet all of the other eligibility requirements for permanent residence in the United States. Once an individual has an Employment Green Card, they are able to apply for US citizenship after five years.
The process of obtaining an employment green card can be lengthy and complex, so it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to obtain your green card.
What Are the Benefits of Having a U.S. Green Card?
A United States green card allows an individual to live and work permanently in the United States. Green card holders are also eligible for certain government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare. In addition, green card holders can apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of continuous residency in the United States.
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How Do You Apply for an Employment Green Card in the United States?
You cannot apply for your own employment green card in the United States except in limited circumstances (see the later section, “Investor Green Cards in the U.S.,” for more information).
The first step in applying for an employment green card is to have a petition filed on your behalf by your employer. The petition, Form I-140, is also known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Once the petition is approved, you will need to go through consular processing or adjustment of status in order to obtain your green card.
Consular processing is the process of applying for a green card through a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. Adjustment of status is the process of applying for a green card from within the United States. If you are already in the United States on a valid visa, you may be able to adjust your status without having to leave the country.
Investor Green Cards in the United States
The United States offers a number of different types of green cards for investors. The most common type is the EB-5 program, which allows foreign nationals to invest a certain amount of money in a new U.S. business and create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Other types of investor green cards include the E-2 visa for treaty investors and the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees.
Usually, investors should work with attorneys when applying for these types of visas and green cards.
Common Questions About Business Immigration
Check out these common questions about business immigration in the United States. You’ll find answers for business owners who wish to hire foreign talent and answers for individuals who wish to come to the United States to work. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please feel free to call our office to ask us directly.
My Company Wants to Hire Foreign Workers. Where Do We Start?
If your company is interested in hiring foreign workers, there are a few things you need to do in order to get started. First, you will need to obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that indicates that your company is unable to find qualified U.S. workers for the positions you want to fill. After you have obtained this certification, you can then begin the process of recruiting foreign workers.
There are a few things to keep in mind when recruiting foreign workers. First, you will need to make sure that the workers you are interested in hiring meet all of the requirements for the position they are applying for. Additionally, you will need to ensure that the workers you hire will be able to obtain a visa to enter the United States. Finally, you will need to make sure that you are compliant with all of the laws and regulations surrounding the hiring of foreign workers. Your immigration attorney can help you every step of the way.
Do You Always Need a Sponsor for Business Immigration in the United States?
Business immigration to the United States requires sponsorship from a U.S. employer in most cases. There are a few exceptions, such as the EB-5 investor visa, which does not require sponsorship. However, for most other business visas, such as the H-1B visa, L-1 visa, and E visa, you will need an employer to sponsor your visa application.
Can You Adjust Your Status to Work in the U.S. if You’re Already in the Country?
If you are already in the United States on another type of visa, such as a student visa or tourist visa, you may be able to switch to a business visa without having to leave the country and reapply for a new visa. However, this is not always the case, so it is important to check with an immigration attorney before making any plans.
Do You Need a Business Visa Before You Come to the U.S. to Find a Job?
If you are outside of the United States but you wish to work here, you will need to obtain a business visa before you can enter the country. You can’t come to the U.S. on another type of visa with the intention of getting a job; that may constitute immigration fraud.
The process for doing this can be complicated, so it is important to have an experienced immigration attorney on your side to help you navigate the process.
Do You Need to Speak With an Attorney About Business Immigration?
Not sure what the best visa option is for you? We can help. To start the process of obtaining a work visa or employment green card, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation.
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