Employment-Based Visas and Green Cards

B-1 Business Visitor

Grants FNs short trips to the United States to conduct business matters, including: contract negotiations, short-term training, attending conferences and in-person consulting. An FN can’t engage in productive work activities or receive a salary from a U.S. source under any circumstance.

Visa Waiver Program: Most citizens in select countries, such as Japan, Portugal, South Korea and the United Kingdom, can travel to the United States for a stay of 90 days or less without a business visitor visa. Travelers must first verify eligibility by completing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. For a list of other visa waiver countries, visit: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta

E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

A visa category that grants Australian nationals the ability to work in the United States if the visa holder is offered a specialty occupation that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a specific field and meets the qualifications for the position.

E2 Treaty Investor

A visa category that allows managers, supervisors, executives, essential employees or investors from select treaty countries, such as Egypt, Belgium and Colombia, to temporarily travel and stay in the United States to conduct business. For a list of treaty countries, please visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html

The United States maintains commerce and navigation treaties with certain countries around the world to encourage mutual trade and business negotiations.

EB-1 Priority Workers

A green card category available to priority workers with extraordinary expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This classification is also available to outstanding professors or researchers and multinational managers or executives.

Testing the labor market through the PERM (Program of Electronic Review and Management) Labor Certification process is necessary for select green card categories, such as EB-2 and EB-3. The three sub-categories within the EB-1 green card are exempt from this process.

EB-2 Advanced Workers

A green card category available to FNs who meet the criteria for a position which requires exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, or those that require an advanced degree, such as master’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees and five years of post-bachelor’s work experience. In addition, people can qualify for an EB-2 if they are seeking a National Interest Waiver.

EB-3 Skilled Or Other Workers

A green card category available to skilled workers and professionals looking to fill a job position that requires a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent. Unskilled workers who perform positions that are not temporary or seasonal in nature are also eligible.

H-1B Person In Specialty Occupation

A commonly used work visa that allows FNs in specialty occupations, such as engineers and computer developers, to seek temporary employment in the United States. This visa category is very popular and, as a result, it’s subject to a cap on the number of new visa applications processed each year.

85,000 = The H-1B cap

The government accepts slightly under 65,000 petitions each year and an additional 20,000 petitions for individuals who possess a U.S. master’s degree.

H-1B1 Free Trade Agreement Professional From Chile Or Singapore

A subset of the H-1B category that offers a special visa classification for the U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Chile and Singapore. Nationals of these countries in specialty occupation roles may seek temporary employment in the United States under the H-1B1.

J-1 Internees and Trainees

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for foreign nationals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.

L-1A Intracompany Transferee For Executives Or Managers

A visa classification available to employers wishing to transfer managers and executives from a foreign entity to a U.S. branch and who have been employed with the foreign entity for at least one year.

During the L-1A and L-1B application processes, the employer must establish a relationship between the foreign and U.S. entities. To save time, HR professionals can apply for Blanket L certification before filing the L-1 visa petitions to get a head start on the application process.

L-1B Intracompany Transferee For Employees With Specialized Knowledge

A visa classification available to employers wishing to transfer individuals with specialized knowledge within foreign entities who have a corporate relationship with the U.S. entity and who have been employed with the foreign entity for at least one year.

O-1 Individuals With Extraordinary Ability Or Achievement

A visa category for individuals employed in the sciences, education, business and athletics who display an extraordinary ability or achievement, or those who have an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.

P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete

This visa category is available to internationally known athletes wishing to travel to the United States to perform at a specific event or competition.

P-3 Artist Or Entertainer Coming To Be Part Of A Culturally Unique Program

A visa category available to internationally known entertainers traveling to the United States either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, coaching or teaching a unique cultural program, such as a traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical or artistic performance or presentation.

TN NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) Professionals

A special visa classification for citizens of Canada and Mexico as part of the NAFTA. Professionals who are eligible to seek admission in TN status include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists and teachers.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), one of Envoy’s U.S. law firms.

Content on this web page is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.