A foreign national has many temporary and permanent immigration categories available to them to enter the U.S. to engage in employment or to move permanently to the U.S. For most employment-based immigration, it is generally required to have an employer sponsor the foreign national. While foreign nationals outside the U.S. must obtain a work visa or an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate, those already in the U.S. may be able to change their status to a status that allows them work or adjust their status (I-485) and obtain a lawful permanent residency (a.k.a. Green Card). Employment based, nonimmigrant categories include, amongst others, H-1B (specialty occupation), L-1 (intracompany transfer), O-1 (professionals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement), E-3 (professionals from Australia), TN (professionals from Canada or Mexico), H-1B1 (professionals from Chile and Singapore), R-1 (Religious Workers), B-1 (Domestic Workers). Employment based immigrant categories include, amongst others, EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability), EB-1C (Multinational Manager or Executive), PERM (Labor Certification). Though not specifically an Employment Based category, some foreign nationals in the U.S. are also able to obtain lawful permanent residency via U Status.
- H-1B has an annual numerical limitation.
- The amount of time a worker may remain in the United States is limited and depends upon the visa category.
- Each visa category has different educational requirements.
- Employment offer from a U.S. employer is generally required.
- Individual’s spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany individual on a derivative visa.
- Some non-immigrant visas are considered “dual intent” which allows an individual to apply for U.S. permanent residency (green card). Other non-immigrant visas, however, require an individual to demonstrate non-immigrant intent.