Non Immigrant Visas

B-1 Visitor Visa



The B-1 business visitor allows an individual to come to the U.S. for a short period of time. Generally this visa is used to allow an individual to attend meetings or consultations with U.S. associates, professional conferences to benefit the employer abroad.

A B-1 visitor is not authorized to perform productive work in the United States. This visa holder must maintain foreign residence abroad for which he/she has no intent of abandoning and to which he/she intends to return at the end of the authorized period of stay. The B-1 visa holder cannot receive compensation from a U.S. source, other than reimbursement for incidental expenses. This visa is applied for directly at the appropriate U.S. Consulate abroad.

E-1 Treaty Trader


The E-1 treaty trader visa allows an individual to come to the U.S. for the purpose of furthering substantial international trade. The trade must be primarily between the United States and the treaty country. In order for a business to qualify for an E-1 visa, at least 50% of the U.S. entity must be owned by non-U.S. resident nationals of the treaty country. If the company is publicly traded, the firm’s nationality is considered to be that of the country in which the firm’s stock is listed and traded.

In addition to the nationality requirement, the company must demonstrate that it is engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. Trade is not limited to goods and services but the trade must be principally with the treaty country; more than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the U.S. and the treaty country.

E-2 Investor


The E-2 treaty investor visa allows an individual to further a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise made by individuals or businesses that are citizens of a treaty country. In order for a business to qualify for an E-2 visa, the company must demonstrate that a substantial investment in the U.S. business has been made by individuals or companies that are citizens of the treaty country. In order to be considered a substantial investment, the funds must be “at risk”. Whether the actual amount invested is substantial depends on the type of business and is weighed based upon a variety of factors. In addition, the investment must not be “marginal” (not made solely for the purpose of earning a living). Similar to the E-1, at least 50% of the U.S. entity must be owned by nationals of the treaty country in order to qualify to utilize E-2 visas.

E-3 Australian Special Occupation



The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  • The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” please see the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B nonimmigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

H-1B Professionals in a Specialty Occupation:


The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa classification for individuals who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupations require theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in work experience.

The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  • The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Examples of common applicants for this visa include, but are not limited to, engineers, accountants, architects, attorneys.Currently, there is a quota or annual limit on the number of H-1B visas allotted per year.

Like most other employment based nonimmigrant visa categories, the H-1B requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. As such, the visa is employer specific. The position may be a full or part time position. Currently, an H-1B visa holder can remain in such status for a period of six years. The visa is initially granted for three years and can be extended for another three years. Certain individuals may obtain an extension of the H-1B visa beyond the sixth year. The spouses and children (unmarried and under the age of 21) may obtain derivative H-4 nonimmigrant status. Some H-4 dependents are now able to apply for work authorization.

L-1 Intracompany Transferees:


The L-1 visa applies to intracompany transferees who, within the last three years preceding admission to the United States, have been employed outside of the U.S. continuously for at least one year by a qualifying foreign employerand who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in either a managerial, executive (L-1A), or specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B).

This visa requires clear documentation of the qualifying relationship of ownership and control between the U.S. and foreign office. and evidence documenting the employment period abroad and the employee’s managerial/executive capacity or specialized knowledge employment.
The L-1 visa is initially granted for a period of one to three years. For L-1A holders, this visa can be extended for up to a total of 7 years maximum stay. L-1B visa holders can extend their visa for a total of 5 years. The spouse and children (unmarried and under the age of 21) of L-1 workers may be granted derivative L-2 visas; L-2 spouses can apply for employment authorization.

O-1 Visa: Extraordinary Ability


The O-1 visa classification is an option for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. To qualify, an applicant must generally have extraordinary ability demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim. O-1 Visa applicants will be required to present extensive documentation which demonstrates that they have received recognition of their extraordinary abilities/achievements from qualified and objective sources in their field.

To obtain an O-1 visa, a U.S. employermust file a petition on behalf of the applicant offering him/her a specific job in the U.S., which requires a person of extraordinary ability. The above referenced petition must include evidence demonstrating that the applicant meets the established O-1 criteria, the specific position requires an individual of extraordinary ability, and that the individual is coming to the United States to continue to work in the area of extraordinary ability. Moreover, consultation with an appropriate peer group, labor and/or management organization regarding the nature of the proposed work and the beneficiary’s qualifications is required for the O-1. This visa may be granted for a period of three years and may be renewed. Spouses and children of O-1 visa holders may be granted O-3 visas; these visa holders are not allowed to work on the derivative visas.

P-1, P-2 and P-3 Visas: Athletes, Artists, Entertainers:


The P-1 visa applies to certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel.
The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.

The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique. Spouses and children of P visas may be granted P-4 visas; these P-4 visa holders are not allowed to work on the derivative visa.

R-1 Religious Work Visas:


The R-1 Religious Worker visa applies to individuals who are members of legitimate religious organizations, so they can live and work legally in the United States for a specific period of time. R-1 visas are available to members of the clergy and also to key employees of religious organizations. The R-1 visa requires that the individual has been a member of a legitimate religious denomination for at least two years. Moreover, the R-1 visa applicant must be a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States. R-1 Visa holders may hold one of the following capacities:

The U.S. religious non-profit organization must meet two requirements. First, the entity must have a religious community with a form of worship, a code of doctrine and discipline, religious ceremonies, established places of worship, and religious congregations, or other evidence of a religious denomination. Secondly, it must be exempt from U.S. taxation as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or satisfy USCIS that it would be eligible for the tax-exempt status.

TN: NAFTA Professional


NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, creates special economic and trade relationships between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals to work in the United States. Canadian and Mexican professionals of may work in the U.S. if they hold the appropriate Canadian or Mexican citizenship, they will be employed in a profession which is on the NAFTA list, the applicant possess the qualifications for this profession, the position requires the skills of a NAFTA professional and the applicant has a valid job offer from a U.S. employer in either full or part time capacity. Please see the following link for the NAFTA professions list: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html#1. Please also note that the TN application process for Mexican and Canadian citizens differ.

Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join NAFTA Professionals (TN visa holders) may receive a derivative TD visa. The maximum period of admission into the U.S is one year. The TN visa holder can be granted extensions of stay in time amounts of one year. There is no limit on the number of years a TN visa holder can stay in the United States. However, the TN visa status does not allow for dual intent or permanent residence in the United States.

All contents © copyright 2005-2017 www.bayareaimmigration.com. All rights reserved.
Designed by SubodhSathe.com