Nonimmigrant Work Visas | H1B, L1, O1, E1, E3
H1B Visa for specialty occupations
The H1-B visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability. Your H1B spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification.
H1-B visa quota caps are quickly used up within days of release on April 1st of each year. For 2018 Congress mandated a regular cap of 65,000 H1 B visas and a further H1B Master’s Exemption cap of 20,000 visas available for Master’s degree or higher applicants.
Congress caps the quantity of H-1B visas that can be issued each year as follows:
- H-1B Regular Cap: 65,000 (Less the Chile-Singapore Cap)
- H-1B Master’s Exemption: 20,000 (Requires a U.S. Master’s degree or higher)
- Chile-Singapore Cap: 6,800 (Deducted from the Regular Cap as used under the U.S. Chile and Singapore Free Trade Agreements)
For 2017, USCIS reached the quota on April 7th after receiving 236,000 applications in 5 days for the 85,000 available visas. The separate 6,800 H-1B petition quota for nationals of Chile and Singapore has never been exhausted. While this separate quota is deducted from the Regular Cap, any unused quota is added back to the Regular Cap the next fiscal year.
The earliest start date for Chudnovsky Law April 1st applicants is October 1st of each year.
Cap-exempt H1B visa for specialty occupations
Congress has carved out exemptions from H-1B cap limitations for workers employed at certain qualifying institutions. These institutions are free to employ as many H-1B workers that otherwise qualify. The USCIS definition of cap-exempt employers includes workers employed by or at:
- Higher education institutions
- Non-profits related to or affiliated with higher education institutions
- Nonprofit research or governmental research organizations
E1 Treaty trader visa
The E-1 nonimmigrant visa classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the US solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf. Employees of such a person or qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
- Be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. List of US Treaty countries.
- Carry on substantial trade with continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time.
- Carry on principal trade between the US and the treaty country where over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the US and the trader’s treaty country that qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.
L1 Visa intracompany transferee
The L1A and L1B nonimmigrant classifications enable a US employer to transfer an executive, manager or 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 US. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated US office to send an executive or manager to the US with the purpose of establishing one.
To qualify for L-1 classification the named employee must:
- Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the US; and
- Be seeking to enter the US to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity or to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
O1 Visa extraordinary ability worker
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses 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. An advisory consultation letter from a qualified peer group is generally required to qualify. O2 and O3 visas are available for assistants and family members accompanying O-1 visa recipients. O-1 criteria and classifications.
TN Visa NAFTA professionals
The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the US to engage in business activities at a professional level as authorized under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The initial period of stay can be up to 3 years and may be extended upon application.
Among the types of professionals who are eligible to seek admission as TN nonimmigrants are accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. The TN nonimmigrant classification is available to qualified citizens of Canada or Mexico who have prearranged a full-time or part-time job with a US employer. Any accompanying or “following to join” spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible for TD nonimmigrant status. Spouses and children are not permitted to work while in the US, but they are permitted to study.
E3 Visa specialty occupation from Australia
The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia coming to the US solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The 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 for entry into the occupation in the US. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not your children.