Babel Immigration Law works with U.S. based employers in all types of work authorization for the U.S. With our strategic location in Canada, our focus is on cross-border applications for Canada, extensions with USCIS and Consular applications.
U.S. Immigration Services
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U.S. CORPORATE IMMIGRATION SERVICES
The pathway to permanent residency and citizenship can take many different forms.
We provide the following U.S. Corporate Immigration services:
A TN visa, also known as a NAFTA Professional Visa, is a non-immigrant visa category that allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States in certain professional occupations. The TN visa was created as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has since been replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
To be eligible for a TN visa, the applicant must:
- Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
- Have a valid job offer from a U.S. employer for a position that falls under one of the listed TN-eligible professions.
- Possess the necessary qualifications and credentials for the specific profession.
TN visa holders can work in the United States for an initial period of up to three years and can seek extensions if their employment continues. It’s important to note that the list of eligible professions is limited to specific occupations such as engineers, scientists, teachers, and healthcare professionals, among others. The requirements and application process may vary depending on the specific profession.
TN visa holders are considered non-immigrants, which means they are expected to maintain a foreign residence and demonstrate that their stay in the U.S. is temporary. Family members of TN visa holders (spouses and unmarried children under 21) can also accompany them to the U.S. under the TD visa category.
An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows individuals from certain countries to invest in and manage a business in the United States. The E-2 visa is also known as the “Treaty Investor Visa” because it is typically available to individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation or a bilateral investment treaty with the United States.
Here are some key features and requirements of the E-2 visa:
- Investment: To qualify for an E-2 visa, an applicant must make a substantial investment in a U.S. business. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the success and viability of the business.
- Nationality: E-2 visas are typically available to nationals of countries that have a qualifying treaty with the United States. Not all countries are eligible, so it’s important to check if your country is on the list of treaty countries.
- Ownership and Control: The E-2 visa applicant must have a significant ownership stake in the U.S. business and must also be actively involved in its management or operations.
- “At Risk” Investment: The funds invested must be at risk, meaning that they could be lost if the business fails.
- Business Plan: Applicants are required to submit a comprehensive business plan that outlines the nature of the business, the investment amount, and how it will create jobs and contribute to the U.S. economy.
- Substantial Investment: The definition of a “substantial” investment can vary depending on the type of business, but generally, it must be a significant amount of capital.
- Renewable Visa: E-2 visas are typically issued for a period of up to five years and can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the business continues to meet the visa requirements.
Spouse and Dependents: E-2 visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. as dependents. The spouse may also be eligible for work authorization.
The E-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification for individuals who wish to enter the United States to engage in international trade. This visa is specifically designed for individuals from countries that have a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation, or a Bilateral Investment Treaty, with the United States. The primary purpose of the E-1 visa is to facilitate and promote substantial trade between the United States and the treaty country.
Key features of the E-1 visa include:
- Treaty Country Eligibility: To qualify for an E-1 visa, the applicant must be a national of a country that has a qualifying treaty with the United States. The list of eligible countries can change over time, so it’s essential to check with the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information.
- Substantial Trade: The individual or the business entity employing them must engage in substantial trade between the United States and the treaty country. Substantial trade generally means a continuous flow of substantial international trade items (goods, services, banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology, and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities) that involves numerous transactions over time.
- Principal Trader: The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive role, or possess essential skills that are critical to the management and operation of the trade. They should also be an employee of the treaty trader (the business engaged in substantial trade), or they can be the owner or a controlling shareholder of the business.
- Reciprocity: The applicant must demonstrate that their home country extends reciprocal privileges to U.S. citizens involved in trade.
E-1 visas are generally issued for two years initially, but they can be extended in two-year increments as long as the trade relationship continues. E-1 visa holders can also bring their dependents, including spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, to the U.S. These dependents can apply for E-1 dependent visas.
The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa specifically for Australian citizens who wish to work in the United States. It is a unique visa category that is available exclusively to Australians due to the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Here are some key details about the E-3 visa:
- Eligibility: To be eligible for an E-3 visa, you must be an Australian citizen with a legitimate offer of employment in the United States. The job must require specialized skills or qualifications.
- Occupational Requirement: The job you’re offered must fall within a specific occupational category. E-3 visa holders typically work in professional occupations, which may include positions in fields like engineering, computer science, medicine, education, and more. It’s important that the job requires a high level of skill and is not a temporary or seasonal position.
- Employer Sponsorship: Your employer in the United States must sponsor your E-3 visa application. This involves filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor and subsequently submitting the E-3 visa application on your behalf.
- Renewable: E-3 visas are typically granted for up to two years at a time and are renewable indefinitely, as long as the job and eligibility criteria are met. There is no specific limit on the number of renewals.
- Spouse and Dependents: E-3 visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. These family members can apply for E-3D visas, which allow them to live and work in the United States for the duration of the primary E-3 visa holder’s status.
- No Annual Cap: Unlike the H-1B visa, which has an annual cap and a lottery system, the E-3 visa does not have an annual cap. This makes it a more attractive option for eligible Australian professionals.
- Dual Intent: E-3 visa holders can maintain the intent to return to Australia after their U.S. employment, but they may also pursue permanent residency (a green card) if they wish.
An L-1 intra-company transfer work permit is not a separate type of work permit or visa; rather, it refers to a specific category of work visa issued by the United States for intracompany transferees. This category is commonly referred to as the L-1 visa.
The L-1 visa is designed for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company in the United States. There are two main types of L-1 visas:
- L-1A Visa: This is for intracompany transferees who hold managerial or executive positions. L-1A visa holders can work in the United States for a maximum initial period of up to 3 years, with the possibility of extending it to a total of 7 years.
- L-1B Visa: This is for intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge or expertise. L-1B visa holders can work in the United States for a maximum initial period of up to 3 years, with the possibility of extending it to a total of 5 years.
To qualify for an L-1 visa, you need to meet specific criteria, including having a qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company, and you must have been employed by the foreign company for a certain period of time. Additionally, you need to be coming to the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge role.
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it allows for temporary work in the United States. It does not lead to permanent residency (a green card) by itself, but it can be a stepping stone if you’re looking to transition to permanent residency through employment-based categories.
The term “work permit” is often used interchangeably with a visa in this context, but it’s important to note that the L-1 visa itself is the authorization that allows an intracompany transferee to work in the United States.
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States that allows employers to temporarily hire foreign workers in specialized occupations. These visas are typically used by U.S. employers to hire foreign professionals in fields such as information technology, engineering, mathematics, science, and other specialized areas where there may be a shortage of qualified American workers.
Here are some key points about the H-1B visa:
- Specialty Occupations: H-1B visas are primarily intended for jobs that require specialized knowledge and a high level of education or expertise. This can include roles in engineering, computer programming, medicine, finance, and other technical or professional fields.
- Employer Sponsorship: To obtain an H-1B visa, an employer in the United States must petition on behalf of the foreign worker. The employer must demonstrate that the position is indeed a specialty occupation and that the foreign worker possesses the required qualifications.
- Numerical Cap: There is an annual numerical cap on the number of new H-1B visas that can be issued. As of my last update in September 2021, the general cap was set at 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 visas available for foreign workers who have earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. These numbers can change based on U.S. government policy.
- Duration: H-1B visas are initially granted for up to three years and can be extended for up to six years in total. In certain circumstances, extensions beyond the six-year limit may be possible.
- Dual Intent: H-1B visa holders can have “dual intent,” which means they can seek lawful permanent residence (a green card) in the U.S. while on an H-1B visa without jeopardizing their non-immigrant status.
- Dependents: H-1B visa holders can bring their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) to the United States on H-4 visas. H-4 visa holders can also attend school but generally cannot work, although there have been changes to allow limited work authorization in some cases.
An O-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in specific fields, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. This visa allows foreign nationals to work in the United States for a specified employer or in a specific job for a temporary period.
There are two types of O-1 visas:
- O-1A: For individuals with extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics.
- O-1B: For individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, including performers, actors, musicians, and other artists.
To qualify for an O-1 visa, applicants must demonstrate their extraordinary ability or achievement through a significant body of work, recognition, awards, and acclaim in their respective field. They must provide evidence that they have achieved a high level of expertise and recognition that sets them apart from their peers.
The O-1 visa is typically employer-sponsored, which means the applicant needs a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor them for the visa. The visa is granted for an initial period of up to three years, with the possibility of extensions in one-year increments. O-1 visa holders can work only for the specific employer who sponsored their visa and in the specific job for which the visa was granted.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) are two related but distinct programs used by the United States to facilitate travel for citizens of certain countries who wish to visit the U.S. for short periods of time without obtaining a traditional tourist or business visa.
- Visa Waiver Program (VWP): The VWP is a U.S. government program that allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Travelers under the VWP must meet certain eligibility requirements and must arrive in the U.S. via an approved carrier. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there were 39 countries participating in the VWP, mostly from Europe, Asia, and Oceania. It’s important to note that travelers under the VWP are still subject to standard U.S. entry requirements, such as passport validity, no criminal record, and not violating the terms of their admission.
- Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA): ESTA is an online application system used by travelers from VWP-eligible countries to obtain authorization to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It is not a visa but rather an automated system that determines the eligibility of travelers to enter the U.S. under the VWP. Travelers need to apply for an ESTA online before their trip, ideally at least 72 hours before their departure. The application includes questions about the traveler’s background, travel plans, and other relevant information. Approval is usually granted quickly, but it’s recommended to apply well in advance of your travel date.
An F1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa that allows foreign nationals to enter the United States for the purpose of pursuing academic studies and programs at accredited colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. The F1 visa is one of the most common types of visas used by international students studying in the United States.
Key points about the F1 visa include:
- Student Status: The primary purpose of the F1 visa is to enable foreign students to study in the United States. It is not intended for immigrants or individuals seeking employment.
- Eligibility: To qualify for an F1 visa, you must have been accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school in the United States and be able to demonstrate that you have the financial means to cover the cost of your education and living expenses.
- Duration: F1 visas are typically issued for the duration of your academic program. Once you have completed your program, you are generally allowed to stay in the United States for an additional period of time for practical training (Optional Practical Training or OPT) related to your field of study.
- Work Restrictions: While on an F1 visa, you are generally allowed to work on-campus part-time during the academic year and full-time during school breaks. You can also apply for off-campus work authorization under certain circumstances.
- Dependents: F1 visa holders can request F2 visas for their spouse and minor children, allowing them to accompany the primary F1 visa holder to the United States. However, F2 visa holders are generally not allowed to work.
- Compliance: F1 visa holders are required to maintain full-time enrollment, make normal academic progress, and follow the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the school’s Designated School Official (DSO).
The EB-1 Immigrant Visa is one of the employment-based immigrant visa categories available in the United States. It is designed for foreign nationals with exceptional abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational managers and executives. There are three subcategories within the EB-1 visa category:
- EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability
- This category is for individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in their field, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. To qualify, you must provide extensive documentation of your achievements and recognition in your field.
- EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers
- This category is for professors and researchers who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their academic or research careers. To be eligible, you should have a job offer from a U.S. university, research institution, or similar organization.
- EB-1C: Multinational Managers and Executives
- This category is for multinational managers and executives who have been employed by a qualifying multinational company and are being transferred to a U.S. office of the same company. This visa is typically used by multinational companies to transfer high-level employees to the United States.
The EB-2 immigrant visa is a U.S. employment-based immigrant visa category. It is designed for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their respective fields. The EB-2 visa category has several subcategories:
- EB-2A: This category is for individuals with an advanced degree (typically a master’s degree or higher) and a job offer in the United States. They must have a labor certification from the Department of Labor unless they can obtain a national interest waiver.
- EB-2B: This category is for individuals with exceptional ability in their field of expertise. Exceptional ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered. It generally requires a significant record of achievement and recognition in the field. A job offer and labor certification are usually required, but a national interest waiver is possible for this category as well.
- EB-2C: This category is for physicians who will practice medicine in an underserved area of the United States. They must agree to work in this underserved area for a specified period.
One notable feature of the EB-2 visa is the possibility of obtaining a national interest waiver, which allows individuals to bypass the labor certification process. This waiver is available to those who can demonstrate that their work is of “national interest” to the United States. This is particularly relevant for those in the EB-2A and EB-2B categories.
To apply for an EB-2 immigrant visa, individuals typically need a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor them. The employer will often be responsible for initiating the application process.
The EB-3 Immigrant Visa is a category of employment-based immigrant visas for foreign nationals who seek to come to the United States to work and live permanently. This visa category is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. Here’s a breakdown of the different subcategories within the EB-3 visa:
- EB-3A: Professionals
- This subcategory is for individuals who hold a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent and have a job offer for a position that requires such a degree.
- EB-3B: Skilled Workers
- This subcategory is for individuals with at least two years of job experience or training and who have a job offer for a position that requires this experience or training.
- EB-3C: Other Workers
- This subcategory is for individuals with less than two years of job experience or training and who have a job offer for a position that requires such experience or training.
The process for obtaining an EB-3 Immigrant Visa generally involves several steps, including the following:
- Labor Certification: The employer must obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position being offered to the foreign national.
- Form I-140 Petition: After the labor certification is approved, the employer files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign national.
- Visa Bulletin: Once the Form I-140 is approved, the foreign national must wait for a visa number to become available, as per the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State.
- Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: If the foreign national is already in the U.S., they can apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. If they are outside the U.S., they will go through consular processing to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
EB-3 visas have annual numerical limits, and the availability of visa numbers may vary depending on the country of chargeability and the specific subcategory. The process can be complex and lengthy, and it often involves the cooperation of both the employer and the employee.
The EB-4 immigrant visa is a type of employment-based immigrant visa in the United States. It is designed for special immigrants who don’t fit into the categories covered by other employment-based visas, such as EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3. The EB-4 category is reserved for specific groups of individuals who are considered “special immigrants” and meet certain criteria. Some of the common groups that may qualify for an EB-4 visa include:
- Religious Workers: Ministers, priests, and other religious workers who have been working for a non-profit religious organization for at least two years may qualify for this category.
- Special Immigrant Juveniles: Certain foreign children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents and have been granted SIJ status by a state juvenile court in the United States.
- Broadcasters: International broadcasters, such as employees of the International Broadcasting Bureau, who have been working overseas for U.S. government-sponsored broadcasters.
- Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters: Individuals who have worked directly with the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan as a translator or interpreter for at least one year.
- Afghan or Iraqi Nationals Who Assisted the U.S. Government: People from Afghanistan or Iraq who have provided assistance to the U.S. government and meet certain eligibility criteria.
- Armed Forces Members: Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have served honorably for at least 12 years.
- Panama Canal Zone Employees: Individuals who worked in the Panama Canal Zone before its transfer to Panama and who meet certain criteria.
- Physicians: Foreign medical graduates who have been practicing medicine in underserved areas in the United States.
- International Employees of U.S. Government Abroad: Individuals who have worked for the U.S. government overseas and meet specific requirements.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is a United States visa program that provides a path to lawful permanent residency for foreign nationals who invest a significant amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers. Here are some key points about the EB-5 visa program:
- Investment Requirement: To be eligible for the EB-5 visa, an investor typically needs to invest a minimum amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise. The minimum investment amount can vary depending on the location of the business, with higher thresholds for investments in targeted employment areas (TEAs) or rural areas. As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, the minimum investment was $1.8 million, but it was reduced to $900,000 for TEAs. These amounts may have changed, so it’s essential to check the most current requirements.
- Job Creation: The primary purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the U.S. economy and create jobs for U.S. workers. The investor’s investment must lead to the creation or preservation of a certain number of full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. employees.
- Immigrant Visa: Successful EB-5 applicants and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) are granted conditional lawful permanent residency in the United States. After two years, the conditions can be removed, and they can obtain unconditional permanent residency (a “green card”).
- Regional Centers: Many EB-5 investments are made through “Regional Centers,” which are entities designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to facilitate the investment process and help create the required jobs. Regional Centers often focus on projects in specific industries or geographic areas.
- Source of Funds: EB-5 investors are required to demonstrate that their investment capital comes from legitimate sources and that it was lawfully obtained.
- Active vs. Passive Investment: EB-5 investors have the option to invest in a new commercial enterprise directly or through a regional center. In the direct investment route, they play a more active role in managing the business, while the regional center route typically involves a more passive role.
The EB-5 program was created to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth in the United States.