The Law Offices of Robert Nadalin

Temporary Work Visas

The law as passed by Congress provides an alphabet soup of possible work visa options for foreign workers. The requirements for each category are detailed and precise. There is no overarching “work visa” applicable all situations. Restrictions imposed by the law as well as the realities of how specific visa programs are administered must be taken into account in developing a successful strategy for obtaining a lawful U.S. work authorized status. Factors include the type of work to be performed, the foreign worker’s qualifications, and in some case the ownership structure of the employing entity. Some types of visas, including E and TN visas, are based on treaties and are only available to citizens and nationals of specified countries. Other visas are available to all qualified applicants regardless of nationality. Further, timing may also be an important factor as in the case of H-1B and H-2B visas, which are only available at certain times of the year due to quota restrictions. Visas may also be limited a specific maximum duration of stay in the U.S. The maximum possible stay can range from a few months for some types of J-1 visas, to 6 years for the H-1B visa, to a much longer possible timeframe for E-1 and E-2 visas.

The B-1 business visitor visa and visa waiver categories DO NOT provide a U.S. work authorized status. Business visitors can come to the U.S. to sign a contract, to engage in meetings and consultations, or to attend a trade show as an attendee. Domestic employment in positions of a type normally filled on a competitive basis with U.S. workers is not allowed. A business visitor must remain on the foreign employer’s payroll for the duration of his or her stay in the U.S. Business visitors who enter on the visa waiver program must enter with evidence confirming an intent and an ability to depart the U.S. at the end of the stay, which is normally provided in the form of a pre-paid round trip ticket to facilitate a return abroad. Training or after sales service scenarios must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility.

Categories frequently used to facilitate U.S. employment include the following:

  • E-1 treaty traders engaging in substantial international trade (applies only to nationals of treaty countries)
  • E-2 treaty investors who have made a substantial investment (applies only to nationals of treaty countries)
  • E-3 professionals (applies only to Australians)
  • F-1 students with CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or OPT (Optional Practical Training) authorization
  • H-1B professionals (any nationality)
  • H-1B1 professionals (applies only to nationals of Singapore or Chile)
  • I visa – foreign media representatives
  • J-1 international exchange program participants
  • L-1 intracompany transferees
  • O-1 persons of extraordinary ability
  • P-1 performers
  • Q-1 cultural exchange program participants
  • R-1 religious workers
  • TN professionals (applies only to Mexican and Canadian nationals)
The Law Offices of Robert Nadalin

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