We specialize in the following visa categories

The H1-B visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in "specialty occupations". Once the petition has been approved, the worker can be employed only by the petitioning company. If the employee is laid off or dismissed, the employer must notify the Service and the employee must leave the U.S. The employee may change employers ("PORT") if another petition is filed.

A "Specialty Occupation" by definition is one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent). This is the minimum for entry into a given occupation in the U.S.

The H1-B is good for a total of six years with extensions If a labor certification application is filed before the end of the 5th year, the visa may be extended indefinitely until the process is complete. If your H1-B visa expires and you promptly depart, the whole process may be started over again after a year.

The congressionally imposed cap of 65,000 visas has been very vexing. Indeed, in 2007 and 2008, the quota was exhausted within a few hours after it was opened. There is also a quota of 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees. This quota was also quickly exhausted. Visa renewals do not count against the yearly quota. Parts of the annual quota are reserved for citizens of Singapore and Chile.

If the applicant qualifies, the first step is to file a LCA (Labor Condition Application) and receive a "prevailing wage" determination from the Department of Labor. The applicant must not be paid less than the prevailing wage. Currently it takes about a week to get a LCA approved. It must also be determined that the prospective employer is able to pay the prevailing wage, and that the proferred position qualifies as a "specialty occupation". The applicant is qualified by holding the appropriate degree. See Labor Certification.

There is also the E3 visa limited to Australians which is very similar to the H1-B, but may be renewed indefinably.

E visas are based on sundry treaties of friendship, commerce, navigation, and/ or investment. Some of these are very recent, and others date from the 19th Century. Some countries have only E1 treaties (Treaty Traders) and others have only E2 treaties (Treaty Investors), but most have both. Only Australia has the E3 visa.

The E1 and E2 will be handled together and the E3 separately.

The E1 and E2 visas allow an individual to live and work in the United States based on an investment that person will be controlling while in the U.S. The visa must be renewed every two years indefinitely. There is no limit on renewals.

The amount of the investment is not prescribed; however, it is required that the business employ U.S. workers in addition to the investor. This office has seen cases approved in which only two U.S. workers were employed.

Derivative E visas are available for the spouse and children of the primary applicant. The spouse may also apply for employment authorization.

Applications may be made at a consulate having jurisdiction over the applicant's person or at a USCIS Service Center in conjunction with an application to change status.

The E3 visa is akin to the H1B visa but differs in several aspects. It is limited by treaty to Australians. Spouses may work without restrictions and it is renewable indefinitely in two year increments. Applications may be made at a U.S. Consulate or at a USCIS Service Center in conjunction with an application to change status. The quota of 10,500 E3 visas is very liberal. No more than a third of the available visas are used.

The L-1 visa is a work visa available for the purpose for transferring key employees of international companies with offices in the U.S. and at least one other country. The L-1 is also available to allow companies to transfer an employee to the U.S. for the purpose of opening up a branch or subsidiary. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the company's U.S. office after having worked abroad for at least one of the past three years.

The U.S. company may be a branch, subsidiary, sister or parent of the foreign company. To establish the parent/ subsidiary relationship, one entity must own more than 50% of the shares of the other and must also be able to control it. It's also possible for the U.S. and foreign entities to be owned by the same owner, or group of owners in similar proportions.

Spouses of L-1 holders are eligible for employment authorization and are actually allowed to work without authorization. Children are not allowed to work.

The L-1 visa has two categories: the L-1A for executives and managers, and the L-1B for specialized knowledge workers. The L-1A is a cherished prize because it may be used as a basis for an application for permanent residence. "Dual intent" is the rule. Thus making immigrant intent irrelevant. The L-1A, with extensions, is valid up to 7 years. The L-1B is valid up to 5 years. After the visas expire, the holder must leave the country for an aggregate of 365 days. If the individual continues to work for the same company overseas, they may reapply for a new L-1 visa.

L-1 visas may be applied for individually, or as part of a blanket procedure available to large companies involved in transferring many employees in any given year.

Applicants who are in status in the U.S. may apply by petitioning the local Service Center and requesting a simultaneous change of status to L-1. If the applicant is overseas, the petition is adjudicated at the local Service Center and the application for the visa handled at the appropriate consulate. The spouse and children may apply for derivative L2 visas. For new entities, the L-1 visa is issued for one year. Then the petitioning entity must apply for a two year extension. It will be required to prove that it is viable and progressively able to support the beneficiary as well as several "U.S. workers". There is no minimum investment requirement. It must be shown, however, that there exists enough capital to pay salaries and other expenses