Permanent Visas
  • Extraordinary individuals
  • Outstanding Researchers
  • National Interest Waivers
  • Labor certification
  • Family immigration
  • Lottery

EMPLOYMENT BASED CATEGORIES
IMMIGRANT STATUS

EB1 First Preference:
a. An alien of extraordinary ability in sciences, art, education, business or athletics proven by sustained international or national acclaim.
b. An outstanding professor or researcher with at least three (3) years experience in teaching or research
c. Certain multinational executives or managers

EB2 Second Preference:
A professional holding advanced degrees or exceptional ability in science, arts, education, business or athletics. Waiver of requirement of job offer available for certain aliens of exceptional ability.

EB3 Third Preference:
A skilled worker/labor certification (at least two years experience or training); a professional with baccalaureate degree or equivalent experience in short supply in U.S.
- Form ETA 750 A and B
- Form I-140

EB4 Fourth Preference:
Minister of religion or Religious Worker

EB5 Fifth Preference:
Millionaire Investor - Investment of $1,000,000 or 500,000 dollars targeted high unemployment areas.


Employment Based Categories
EB1 - First Preference

a. An alien of extraordinary ability in sciences, art, education, business or athletics proven by sustained international or national acclaim.

An "Extraordinary Ability" alien can self-petition to obtain this visa when the following requirements are present:

The alien possesses a level of expertise indicating that he or she is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of a field of endeavor (8 CFR Section 204.5 (h) (2));

The alien has sustained national or international acclaim and his or her achievements have been recognized; if this is not the case, one should consider the second employment-based (EB-2) preference for a person of "exceptional ability" whose admission is in the "national interest";

Three of the following ten criteria must be met or an explanation of why the criteria do not apply, with supporting evidence:
(8 CFR Section 204.5 (h) (3) (i-x):

  1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized porizes or awards;
  2. Membership in associations;
  3. Published material;
  4. Judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
  5. Original scientific,, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  6. Authorship of scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  7. Display of the alien's work;
  8. Has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  9. Has commanded a high salary;
  10. Commercial successes in the performing arts

Additional criteria and evidence:

  1. Is at the top of the field;
  2. Expert testimony;
  3. Testimony from a federal or state government agency;
  4. Testimony from prominent professors, professional or trade associations, successful business people and prospective employer;
  5. Letter submitted by counsel with petition explaining in detail why the applicant qualifies as a person of extraordinary ability and how he or she meets the regulatory standards


EB-1
First Preference

To qualify applicant must have ten years of experience met through a combination of teaching and research. The Immigration and naturalization Service also allows research or teaching experience gained while working on an advanced degree to count toward the three-years' experience requirement, provided the alien actually acquired the degree.

To qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher, the alien must be coming to the United States to conduct teaching or research at a university in a tenured, tenure-track, or comparable position, or to fill a similar high-level research position with a private employer.

In recognition that many research positions at universities are not tenured or tenure-track positions, the Immigration and naturalization Service rules permit a job offer to qualify for first preference consideration of the university offering a "permanent research position" to the alien.

A "permanent" position is one which is for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.

b. Certain multinational executives or managers

This visa is highly recommended because after a year of substantial business activity a corporation can petition for Corporate Executive or manager for a "Green Card".

A Corporate Executive or manager can transfer to the United States to engage in a position involving executive, managerial or specialized skills.
The employer must be transferring him to a subsidiary or branch of the parent company and he must have at least one year's experience with the parent company before he is eligible for a transfer.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED?

Parent Company:

  1. Certified copy of current individual and corporate tax return
  2. Documentary evidence showing a number of employees at the foreign location and nature of business
  3. Current financial statements
  4. Documentary evidence showing address of foreign company
  5. Articles of incorporation of foreign firm
  6. Current corporate financial statement
  7. Bank letter (evidence to show that the foreign firm is presently in operation and viable)
  8. Invoices, brochures, contracts, etc.


Subsidiary:

  1. License/permits to operate a United States company
  2. Lease/deed for United States premises
  3. Employer's wage and tax report and copy of quarterly income tax return for United States location (Form 1120 and Form 941)
  4. Stock certificate or documentary evidence showing the exact ownership of the United States and foreign company and evidence establishing the claimed affiliation. The foreign corporation or parent must own over fifty-one (51%) percent of the shares of the U.S. corporation
  5. Bank letter (evidence showing authorization and/or transfer of funds to the United States from the foreign branch). (Proof of one year business activity)
  6. Articles of incorporation and State Charter Number
  7. Current financial statement
  8. Invoices, brochures, contracts, etc.

Employment Based Categories
EB2 - Second Preference

Exceptional Ability (Self-Petition)

  • limited to those working in the sciences, arts, or business (8 CFR Section 204.5 (k) (3)),
  • exceptional ability which is beneficial to the U.S. economy,
  • evidence of three of the following six criteria must be presented: (8 CFR Section 204.5 (k)(3)(ii)),
  • academic record showing the alien has a degree relating to the area of exceptional ability,
  • letters from current or former employers showing alien has at least ten years full-time experience in the occupation for which he or she is being sought,
  • license to practice the profession,
  • evidence alien has commanded a salary demonstrating exceptional ability,
  • membership in professional organizations,
  • recognition of achievements by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations
    Additional criteria and evidence:
  • prominent expert testimony about the applicant's outstanding work and attributes.

National Interest:

Applies to professionals with advanced degrees and people of exceptional ability who seek waivers of the job offer requirement if their immigration could be deemed in the "national interest".


Employment Based Categories
EB4 - Fourth Preference

Minister of Religion or Religious Worker

An alien who, for at least the two (2) years immediately preceding the time of application for admission via Form I-360, has been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States, may be admitted temporarily to the United States to carry on the activities of a religious worker for a period not to exceed five (5) years.

The alien must be coming to the United States for one of the following purposes: solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of the religious denomination; to work for the religious organization at the request of the organization in a professional capacity, or to work for the organization, or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination, at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation.

  1. Certification of the alien's status as minister, priest, rabbi, etc,
  2. Certification of alien's membership in the denomination,
  3. Proof of the non-profit status of the religious organization.

Additional criteria and evidence:

  1. Financial report of the religious organization,
  2. Photographs of religious services showing alien's presence,
  3. Statements of religious work experience,
  4. Certification of alien's membership and work in the religious organization or denomination.

Employment Based Categories
EB5 - Fifth Preference

The "Investor Visa" is also known as the "Millionaire Visa" and is one of the "employment creation" visas because its purpose is to permit investors to immigrate to the United States to enhance employment opportunities for United States workers.

General Requirements:
An investment of $1,000,000.00 or more and the employment of 10 or more U.S. workers; or an investment of $500,000.00 or more and the employment of 10 or more U.S. workers when the location of the investment is in a targeted employment area, e.g. Dade County, Fl. (i.e. Miami, Fl.).

Investor Visa Checklist:

  1. The investor must have invested or be in the process of actively investing the required amount (one million or $500,000.00,
  2. The investment must benefit the U.S. economy,
  3. The investor must have at least 10 workers (or in the process of hiring), depending on the investment amount; a qualifying investor will receive a two year conditional residency, which thereafter can be converted to a permanent residency upon proof of continued business activity by commercial enterprise.

New Commercial Enterprise:
To procure an employment creation visa, it is required that an alien establish a "new commercial enterprise" in one of the following ways:

  • starting an original and new business,
  • purchasing an existing business and restructuring its operations or organization enough to create a new business or
  • expansion of an already existing business within the U.S.

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

Immediate Relative
Spouse, children and parents of U.S. citizen (no limitations on visa issuance)

First
Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21 years) of U.S. Citizens

Second
a. Spouse and children of lawful Permanent Resident Alien;
b. Unmarried sons or daughters, any age, of Lawful Permanent Resident Alien

Third
Married sons or daughters of United States Citizen.

Fourth
Brothers and sisters of adult United States Citizens.


Temporary Visas
  • B-1 business
  • B-2 tourists
  • E traders/investors
  • F-1 students
  • H Work
  • I Media/Journalist
  • J-1 scholars
  • L-1 executives
  • O Extraordinary ability

Tourist for Business/Pleasure

B-1 Visitor for business
B-2 Visitor for pleasure
B-1 / B-2 Visitor for both Business and Pleasure

This Visa is obtained at the American Embassy nearest to your home.

What documents are required ?

  1. A passport valid at least 6 months beyond intended stay
  2. An "Application for Non-Immigrant Visa" - OF 156(Appendix "A")
  3. One recent photo
  4. One proof of ties to home country, e.g. savings account, proof of employment, property, family ties
  1. If B-1, letter from employer outlining temporary nature of business trip
  2. If B-2, letter of invitation from friend or relative in united States, including round trip ticket or a notarized affidavit of support.

Even if alien submits all of the above documentation, can VISA be denied?
Yes. All consular action is discretionary. The counsel official will be focusing on the alien’s intent. Is he really visiting or does he intend to stay permanently? It is up to the alien, through documentation and personal presentation, however brief, to convince the consular officer of the temporary nature of the business or visit.
*A visa beginning with an alphabetical letter is a temporary or Non-Immigrant Visa. A visa for permanent residency is an Immigration Visa or “Green Card” (Form I-551).

If VISA is granted, what is the next step?
With a Visa officially stamped in the passport, the next step will be to gain entry at the port of admission. Whether the alien comes by plane, land or boat, he will have to be inspected by a United States Immigration Inspector at the United States border. If the papers are in order and he is convinced of the alien’s true intent he will stamp the passport with the date and place of entry and issue an “Arrival-Departure Record” – Form I-94. The form I-94 states the alien’s name, date of birth and country of citizenship. On the right hand side of the card, the United States Immigration Officer will place a stamp with the port of entry status, e.g. “B-2”, date of admission and date when stay expires. The inspector will affix this card to aliens passport and allow him to enter.


BUSINESS / EMPLOYMENT VISAS
TEMPORARY VISAS – E-1 / E-2
Treaty Trader / Investor

E-1 Treaty Trader
At the present time Treaty Trader (E-1) status is available under treaties of commerce and navigation to nationals of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brunei, Canada, China, Taiwan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France (includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Reunion), Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands (includes Aruba and Netherlands Antilles), Oman, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Zaire.

Alien must be entering the United States solely to carry on substantial trade (more than 50%), principally between the United States and the foreign state of which alien is a national. Substantial trade does not refer to monetary value but rather volume of trade.

Hint:
Trade has been interpreted to include:

  • International banking
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Communications
  • News gathering activities
  • Services

E-2 Business: Treaty Investor
Treaty Investor (E-2) status is available for nationals of Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Ireland, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri-Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Congo, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Zaire.

Alien must establish that he seeks to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital ($100,000.00 + at risk).

The investment cannot be alien’s only source of income. He must have invested or be in the process of investing capital in a bona fide enterprise and cannot be seeking to proceed to the United States in connection with the investment of a small amount of capital in a marginal enterprise solely to earn a living or he must be employed by a treaty investor in a responsible capacity and that the employer is a foreign person or organization of your same nationality and he intends to depart from the United States upon termination of status.


Temporary Visas - F-1/M
Student/Vocational
F-1 Student Visa
M Vocational Visa

How does alien qualify?
To qualify for a student status the alien must be a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study. He cannot pursue part-time studies. It is important to choose a school that is registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service because they are authorized to issue student Eligibility Form I-20.

Where does alien obtain this VISA?
If he is in the home country, the American Embassy will stamp the F-1 Visa in his passport. 7If he is visiting the United States, and decides he wants to stay and study, he can apply for a "Change of Status". This procedure permits him to change from a B-1 or B-2 visa to an F-1 visa.

What documents are required?

  • Form I-20 - Furnish a "Certificate of Eligibility" - Form I-20 (Appendix "E") from the school which he wishes to attend in the United States.
  • Form I-864 - Furnish a completed "Affidavit of Support" - Form I-864 (Appendix "F"). This form should be completed by the person who actually will be supporting the alien during his stay in the United States and should be accompanied by suporting documentation to establish means of support.
  • School Application - Provide the date on which alien initially applied for admission at the school listed on the Form I-20. Furnish documentary evidence.
  • Completed student application for admission, signed and dated by the corresponding accepting college/university
    If English is his second language, must have the TEFL with a minimum score of 500 on a paper-based test or a minimum score of 173 on a computer-based test. If you are in the U.S. you must take an English Placement Test along with a writing sample which is given in place of the TOEFL. An official letter of the results of your English test must be attached or on file in the International Admissions Office at the Downtown Center before your application for admission will be considered.
  • Confidential Financial Statement Form with a signature from your sponsor, along with a bank letter showing U.S. funds available. A minimum of S16,000 per year (US$5,800 for tuition and books and US$10,200 for living expenses).
  • Copies of all your educational records through the highest level completed. University records must be translated into English by an official translation service. High school transcripts do not have to be translated, with the exception of Asian, Hebrew or Arabic.
  • A US$75.00 non-refundable check or money order application fee.
  • Evidence of health insurance. After admission you may either purchase health insurance through an approved insurance vendor or, if using another insurance company, you must provide us with a compliance form to verify equal coverage

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER STUDENTS
When transferring from any other educational institution, the requirements for admission are that copies of ALL previous education transcripts MUST be submitted in addition to the application, the US$75.00 application fee, a copy of your I-20 form from the previous school you attended and all other requirements.

Transferring students are provisionally accepted until their transcripts are received and their full-time status and grade point average of 2.0 are verified. Students must maintain full-time status and a grade point average of 2.0 or they will be administratively withdrawn. If you fail to do this, you will be out of status with the immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
International Students must meet all of the following academic regulations and standards of performance to remain enrolled:

  • International students must register as a "full-time student'. In a minimum of 12 semester hours during the fall and winter terms. If the summer term is your first term, you must also register for a minimum of 12 semester hours in that term.
  • International students must make satisfactory progress toward their degree objective each term (You must maintain a "C" average 2.0)
  • International students must enroll continuously in appropriate English language courses as prescribed by the English Department until all English requirements for the degree are completed.
  • International students may not be enrolled more than 3-1/2 consecutive years

International students who do not meet all the above academic regulations and standards of performance for any term will not be permitted to attend the following term. They will be administratively withdrawn from the college and a 100 percent refund will be given to the student for any fees paid for the term following the violation of the academic regulations and the standards of performance.

International Students must meet all the following academic regulations and standards:

TOEFL Test Date - Provide the date alien applied to take the TOEFL exam. Furnish documentary proof.

Funds in the U.S.A. - Submit documentary evidence to show what funds, if any, alien presently has in the U.S.A., e.g. bank statements, copies of savings books, etc.

Educational Background - provide a statement regarding the previous educational training alien has received; including names of school or universities, dates of attendance and degrees earned including transcripts.

Reason for Schooling - If the application indicated that alien has not been a student for many years, provide a statement regarding his reasons for returning to school at this time and an explanation regarding how such schooling would benefit upon his return to the home country.

Valid Passport - Alien's passport must be valid for a period of six months beyond the requested stay.

 

If applying for a change of status, submit "Application for Change of non-Immigrant Status" - Form I-539 (Appendix "D"), Form I-94 and filing fe of $75,00 with above documents.

EVEN IF ALIEN SUBMITS ALL OF THE ABOVE DOCUMENTS, CAN VISA BE DENIED?
Assuming alien meets all the requirements, a change of status to an F-1 Visa will be denied if it appears that alien's intent is not to visit but to study. For example, he visits the school, registers and receives the I-20 one day after entry with a tourist (visitor's) visa (B-1/B-2).

Obviously, alien had the "preconceived" intent to study. If so, that is grounds for denial because he misrepresented his true intent when he entered as a visitor. This is a classic denial situation and a majority of intending students fall into this trap. If alien is in the States visiting for several months and then decides to study, it will be difficult to prove preconceived intent. Similarly, if alien is in his home country and assuming all documents are in order, the counsel officer will deny the application if his intent appears to be to permanently reside in the United States.

IF VISA IS GRANTED WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Alien must commence full-time studies to maintain his status.

HOW LONG WILL ALIEN BE GRANTED?
Unlike other visas that have a final expiration date, a student visa is granted for a duration of status or "D/S". With this status he can transfer to a new school upon completion of one course of study.

CAN STAY BE EXTENDED?
Alien can stay and study for as long as he is a bona fide student or for "duration of status".

EVEN IF ALIEN SUBMITS ALL OF THE ABOVE DOCUMENTS, CAN VISA BE DENIED?
Assuming alien meets all the requirements, a change of status to an F-1 Visa will be denied if it appears that that alien's intent is not to visit but to study. For example, he visits the school, registers and receives the I-20 one day after entry with a tourist (visitor's) visa (B-1/B-2).

Obviously, alien had the "preconceived" intent to study. If so, that is grounds for denial because he misinterpreted his true intent when he entered as a visitor. This is a classic denial situation and a majority of intending students fall into this fall into this trap. If alien is in the States visiting for several months and then decides to study, it will be difficult to prove preconceived intent.

Similarly, if alien is in his home country and assuming all documents are in order, the counsel officer will deny the application if his intent appears to be permanently residing in the United States.

Hint: Preconceived intent is the principal cause of a denial.

The Exchange Visitor Program

Alien must present a Form IAP-66 to the U.S. Embassy nearest his or her home. Once this form is processed by the consular official and the "J" Visa is stamped in the passport, it will permit him to enter at the U.S. port of entry.

The form IAP-66 will be issued to alien by your U.S. sponsor, either an organization or international agency with offices in the United States.

This visa brings applicant as an exchange visitor to the United States to learn skills that can be taken back to his home country. Certain "J" visa holders have a "Two Year Residency Requirement". This requires that the J-1 visa holder and his dependents return to their home country (or their last country of residence) for a two year period before they can change to another temporary visa, e.g. "H" or "L" or apply for a permanent residency.

An alien may apply to enter the United States as a Fiance or Fiancee to marry a United States citizen with the following accompanying evidence:

  • documentation that the parties have met within the two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition and that both parties have the legal capacity to marry within the ninety days of entry including termination of prior marriage.

Multinational Executive or Manager of Foreign Corporation
FOREIGN EMPLOYER (CORPORATION) WOULD LIKE TO OPEN AN OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES
L-1 Intra-Company Transfer

This visa is highly recommended because after a year of substantial business activity it can be converted to a "Green Card". An executive or manager can transfer to the United States to engage in a position involving executive or managerial skills. The employer must be transferring him to a subsidiary or branch of the parent company and he must have at least one year's experience with the parent company before he is eligible for a transfer.

This visa permits him to work in the United States for at least five to six years and has the potential, if entered as an executive or manager, to be converted to lawful permanent residency or "Green Card". This approach will be explored in a later chapter.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED?
Parent Company:

  • Certified copy of current individual and corporate tax return,
  • Documentary evidence showing number of employees at the foreign location and nature of business,
  • Documentary evidence showing address of foreign company,
  • Articles of Incorporation for foreign firm,
  • Current corporate financial statement,
  • Bank letter (evidence to show that the foreign firm is presently in operation and viable),
  • Invoices, brochures, contracts, etc.

Subsidiary:

  • License/permits to operate a United States company.
  • Lease/deed for United States premises.
  • Employer's wage and tax report and copy of quarterly income tax return for United States location.
  • Stock certificate or documentary evidence showing the exact ownership of the United States and foreign company and evidence establishing the claimed affiliation. The foreign corporation or parent must own over fifty-one (51%) percent of the shares of the U.S. Corporation.
  • Bank letter (evidence showing authorization and/or transfer of funds to the United States from the foreign branch).
  • Articles of incorporation and State Charter Number.
  • Current financial statements Invoices, brochures, contracts, etc.
Hint: If alien is eligible for an "E" or an "L" visa, apply for the "L" since it gives him the benefit, in the future, of applying for lawful permanent residency.

HOW LONG A STAY WILL HE BE GRANTED?
L-1 visas are given for up to seven years duration. Initially for a new company it is granted for one year. Any company can receive an L-1 for three years, then another three years, and, finally, one final year.

L-2 spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of an L-1 holder are eligible for L-2 visa. An L-2 visa does not grant work authorization.


Alien with Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 is available to aliens who can demonstrate "extraordinary ability" in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; and to certain aliens accompanying assisting those aliens and their family members.

There are three different standards for the O-1 category:
The most exacting standard applies to aliens who work in the sciences, education business, and athletics; a less rigorous standard applies to individuals in the arts; the intermediate standard applies to aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industries.

"O-2" VISA: For alien seeking to accompany an O-1 applicant who are integral to the performance and have critical skills and experience with the O-1 alien.
"O-3" VISA: For spouses and children of O-1 and O-2 aliens.
The "O" VISA category allows a stay for the duration of the event but not beyond a ten year period.
"P-1" VISA: For internationally recognized athletes and entertainers having a foreign residency.
"P-2" VISA: For athletes and entertainers seeking entry under the reciprocal exchange program.
"P-3" VISA: For artists and entertainers seeking to enter under a program that is culturally unique.
"P-4" VISA: For spouse and children of "P" Visa Holders. The "P" Visa classification permits an alien to remain in the U.S. for the course of the event but not exceeding five years.

An alien may obtain a "Q" Visa "…for the purpose of providing practical training, employment and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the country alien's nationality." 8 CFR 214.1 (Q) (2)

 



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