Two different types of visas are available to individuals with extraordinary abilities: the O-1 nonimmigrant visa and the EB-1 immigrant visa for permanent residency. Extraordinary Ability classification is available to immigrants who can evidence that they are at the top of their field of endeavor. This category is for persons who are in various fields, including science, arts, education, business, and athletics.
National Interest Waiver / NIW
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is open to foreign nationals possessing rare skills or an esteemed academic degree. Typically, when applying for a permanent job offer and labor certification there is an extensive process that can take months. However, individuals who qualify for the NIW are able to completely bypass that process by going through the second preference EB-2 employment based green card category. In order to be eligible to file an NIW petition, an individual most hold a higher academic degree or possess an exceptional skill within the arts, sciences, or business. Furthermore, the beneficiary must demonstrate their desire to work in a field or occupation that will add value to the U.S. and benefit to the national interest.
If you are a U.S. employer and wish to bring a foreign individual to the country on an employment-immigration visa, you will need to obtain a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Many employers will need to navigate the labor certification process before hiring immigrant workers, but there are exceptions available. We are dedicated to meeting the immigration needs of employers and employees. We can thoroughly explain the visa application process and protect your best interests through each step of the immigration process.
As an investor, you are likely wishing to come to the United States on the basis of for-profit activity. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created E-2 and EB-5 visas for the purpose of stimulating the U.S. economy through the creation of new jobs and capital investment by foreign investors.
• E-2 Nonimmigrant Visas
E-2 visas are the primary visa for investors. The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. This visa is issued for a 2 or 5-year period and can be renewed as long as the investor is actively running the business.
When employees have an E-2 visa, they get to enjoy certain privileges and benefits. Some of these include the ability to travel freely in and out of the U.S. during the time of their visa, the ability to bring their dependents, spouse, or accompanying relatives with them while in the U.S.
Furthermore, the spouse may be allowed to work in the states during your stay. The employee also gets to stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited extensions, so long as they still meet the E-2 qualifications.
• EB-5 Immigrant Visas for Permanent Residency
EB-5 investors will need to invest in a new commercial enterprise. This commercial enterprise will need to meet specific qualifications and must be a for-profit organization.
For EB-5 visas, the minimum investment required for “targeted employment areas” is $800,000. This includes most regional center projects. Targeted areas are considered rural or geographical areas that have an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average rate. All other projects require a $1,050,000 investment. It is important to understand your specific situation so that you can make sure you are prepared to invest properly.
H-1B Specialty Worker
The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology, and fields such as teaching and accounting.
Congress set the current annual cap for the H-1B category at 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrant visas are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas are set aside from the 65,000 each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore free trade agreements. Unused visas in this group become available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a 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 United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.