Non-Immigrant Employment Visas include the following:
- B-1 Visas for temporary business visitors;
- H-1B Visas for professionals with specialized knowledge;
- L-1A and L-1B Visas for intra-company international transferees (executives, managers, and employees holding specialized knowledge);
- O Visas for individuals demonstrating extraordinary ability in Science, Art, Education, Business, or Athletics;
- P-1A Visas for internationally recognized athletes, teams, and groups & P-1B Visa for internationally recognized entertainment groups; and
- E-2 Investor Visas.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NON-IMMIGRANT AND IMMIGRANT VISAS?
A non-immigrant visa is a temporary visa issued for specific periods depending on the classification. Non-immigrant visas allow you to arrive in the United States and (subject to inspection) and enter the United States during the period authorized. However, the actual time granted (the time you can stay) does not necessarily match the visa period.
For example, as a B-2 visa applicant, you may have a visa that indicates that the visa is valid for 10 years. However, this does not allow you to stay in the United States for 10 years. Instead, you may only stay for the period authorized by Customs and Border Protection (for B-2, a maximum of 6 months). If you come to the U.S. on an E-2 investor visa, you would normally be granted a 5-year visa, but you would only receive an authorized stay period of 2 years at each entry
An immigrant visa refers to permanent residency (“green cards”) and allows you to live and work in the United States perpetually, assuming you do not commit any acts that would put this status in jeopardy. Immigrant visas offer you permanent status and after a specified amount of time, typically 5 years, allows you the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. An immigrant visa can be obtained in the United States through an adjustment of status process OR abroad via consular processing.
Ultimately, our job at Estrella Law is to guide you along the correct path for you.
WHAT IS THE BEST NON-IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABLE?
We get this question a lot. It depends. Every case is different. You may or may not meet the criteria for the various visas. Someone with a professional background, such as having earned an MBA back home in England, or someone who is an accountant in Venezuela might qualify for an H-1B visa. They might have a sponsoring petitioner that wishes to file an H-1B visa on their behalf. Someone else might be an exceptionally talented chef in Bogota with press, awards, and the ability to show a high salary and qualify easily for an O-1 visa. Depending on their time frame, this same person might instead consider pursuing permanent residency through an EB-1 residency based on extraordinary ability. Our job at Estrella Law is to tailor the solution to the client’s needs and help you to figure out what is best for you.
I AM IN THE UNITED STATES AND CURRENTLY POSSESS VALID EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION PURSUANT TO MY OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT) PERIOD AFTER GRADUATION. CAN I SEEK OUT H-1B STATUS?
Yes, if you have a professional degree such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree, or its equivalent. In addition, you also must be offered a position in a “specialty occupation.” Generally, the H-1B visa has a cap of 65,000 new visas per federal fiscal year. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available to those individuals who have obtained a Master’s degree at a U.S. institution.
CAN I USE AN O-1 VISA TO GO TO CASTINGS?
No. The O-1 Visa is strictly granted to those individuals who have a petitioning sponsor and a set production itinerary. The visa is not granted for speculative work. The nature of proposed events and engagements is beginning to be rigorously enforced by USCIS.
I AM FROM VENEZUELA. CAN I SEEK AN E-2 INVESTOR VISA?
No. E-2 visas are available to those individuals who are nationals of countries who signed treaties that enable their citizens to apply for investor visas. Venezuela, at this moment, has not signed such a treaty. However, if a Venezuelan possesses dual citizenship and if that second citizenship is with a treaty country, such as Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, or Italy, then that dual citizen could seek out an E-2 investor visa. At Estrella Law, we are prepared to help you in this endeavor.