L-1A/B Transferred Employee Visas
Transferred employee visas are for those foreign nationals coming to the United States as intracompany transferees and who within the three years prior to their entry have been employed abroad continuously by an affiliate or subsidiary of the multinational employer for at least one year. In addition, they must have been employed in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity.
- The applicant must have worked continuously for an affiliate or subsidiary of a U.S. employer for one year of the last three years prior to entering the U.S. in nonimmigrant status.
- The applicant's employment with the foreign affiliate or subsidiary must have been in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
- If the U.S. employer is an affiliate, the foreign and U.S. employer must have the same or nearly the same shareholders or controlling block of owners.
- The applicant must be coming to the U.S. to work for the U.S. employer as a manager, executive or specialized knowledge employee
- The U.S. employer must have a commercial office or other commercial installations or facilities
If the U.S. employer has been in business for less than one year, additional requirements will apply. First, the U.S. employer must show the development and expected growth of the U.S. employer through the presentation of a detailed Business Plan. Second, the U.S. employer must demonstrate that a sufficient amount of capital has been invested in the enterprise to make it viable. Third, the applicant will only be granted a visa for only one year and must show at the end of that one year period that the U.S. employer has significant U.S. operations; otherwise, the visa will be canceled
Purchase of Business
The foreign employer may also purchase a business in order to establish an affiliate or subsidiary in the U.S.
Holders of an L-1A visa may reside in the U.S. for a total of seven years, at which time they are required to return to their country of origin or previous residence. For newly formed U.S. companies, the L-1A visa will be granted for one year, at which time the company will need to apply for an extension of the visa and must show that the company has developed, employs 5 to 10 employees and is operational. Holders of an L-1B visa may reside in the U.S. for a total of five years
E-1 Treaty Trader/ E-2 Treaty Investor Visas
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a nonimmigrant visa for the nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who is coming to the country to carry on substantial trade between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
Currently, the treaty countries are included in the following page:
Treaty Trader (E-1 Visa)
The requirements for the treaty trader visa are that (a) the applicant must be a national of a treaty country, (b) the trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must have the nationality of the treaty country, (c) the international trade must be "substantial" in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade. Typically, ongoing trade of $500,000 per year is considered to be substantial, (d) the trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality, (e) trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology (title of and to the trade items must pass from one party to the other), and (f) the applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm (ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify).
Treaty Investor (E-2 Visa)
The requirements for the treaty investor visa are that (a) the investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country, (b) the investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise (the percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise -typically, investments of between $150,000 and $200,000 will qualify for a startup business), (c) the investment must be a real operating enterprise (speculative, idle or passive investments do not qualify and uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment), (d) the investment may not be marginal (it must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States - this usually means that the investor must have other individuals employed in the enterprise), (e) the investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense (loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed, unless the investor provides a personal guaranty with other assets), and (f) the investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise (if the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity -ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify).
Purchase of Business
The treaty investor may also purchase a business without having to immediately invest the entire amount indicated.
Employees of E-1/E-2 Visa Holders
Key employees of E-1 and E-2 visa holders may also receive an E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant visa without the necessity of meeting the investment amounts. In fact, the principal investor need not to be in E status and must only show that he would be potentially "classifiable" as a treaty trader or treaty investor. The company must show, however, that the employee is a key employee that will occupy an executive position with the company and be part of the management team of the company.
Holders of E visas may reside in the United States as long as they continue to maintain their status with the enterprise. Normally, visas are given with five-year terms, which can be extended indefinitely, and two-year entry approvals.
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides for a nonimmigrant visa for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States. The H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. This classification requires a labor attestation issued by the Secretary of Labor. There is an annual numerical limitation on the number of visas that are allowed, which in the case of H-1B visas, the numerical limitation is 65,000 visas per year. However, if the candidate for the H-1B visa has a Master's Degree issued by a U.S. educational institution, then there are an additional 20,000 visas available for such persons.
H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa
- The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university in the U.S. or its equivalent and must be coming to the U.S. to work in his or her field.
- The U.S. employer must certify that it will pay the applicant the prevailing wage for the type of occupation.
Holders of an H-1B visa may reside in the U.S. for a total of six years, at which time they are required to return to their country of origin or previous residence. Usually, H-1B visa holders are granted a three-year period of stay, at the expiration of which they need to apply for an additional three years. However, the time period that an H-1B visa holder spends outside of the U.S. is not counted toward the total of six years and can be recaptured.