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From corporations to nonprofit entities, many organizations may benefit from hiring an individual foreign worker or a team of employees from overseas to work in the United States on a temporary basis. However, the necessary documents and procedures to secure a visa can be complex and overwhelming, which is why sponsors may need the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled immigration attorney to help you navigate the legal process.
Contact us today at (843) 800-2750 to schedule a consultation. Serving clients in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Types of Temporary Nonimmigrant Employment Visas
Temporary work visas offer foreign nationals a limited stay of employment in the United States. There are many types of nonimmigrant employment visas that apply to various occupations.
The following are the types of temporary work visas our firm handles:
B-1 Temporary Business Visitor
This is a temporary business visitor visa that’s used to allow foreign nationals to attend business-related meetings, conferences, conventions, short-term training, and negotiations on the behalf of a foreign employer.
Qualifying for this visa requires one to state the purpose of their trip, intend to stay for only a limited time, have sufficient funds to pay for one’s stay in the U.S., have no intention of abandoning a residence held outside the U.S., and be otherwise admissible to the U.S.
H-1B Specialty Occupations
This visa applies to specialty occupations and immigrants with highly specialized knowledge, particularly relating to cooperative research and development projects for the Department of Defense or service as a fashion model who has distinguished merit or ability.
H-1B workers can be admitted for up to three years initially and extended to last a total of six years. If an employer terminates an H-1B worker for any reason, the employer is liable for return expenses.
H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers
This visa allows U.S. employers or agents to bring foreign nationals into the country for the purpose of filling temporary agricultural jobs. Employers themselves must petition for this visa as a person self-employed, a corporation, partnership, or an agricultural association.
The maximum period of stay possible on an H-2A visa is three years, including the initial authorized period of time and any extensions. After three years, workers must leave the U.S. and wait three consecutive months before readmission to the U.S. on an H-2A is possible.
H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
This visa is for seasonal workers who aren’t working in agriculture. U.S. business owners can use these visas to hire foreign laborers to perform seasonal, intermittent, peak-load, or one-time work in an industry other than agriculture. The annual cap for this visa is set at 66,000, which is divided as 33,000 visas distributed for Oct. 1 through March 31 and 33,000 visas distributed for April 1 through Sept. 30.
E-1 Treaty Traders
This visa covers a businessperson from a qualifying treaty country that plans to either work for a substantial trade company in the U.S. or engage in such business. An E-1 employee can work for the employer or one of their subsidiaries as long as there is an established relationship between the organizations; the employment as the subsidiary requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills; and the terms and conditions of employment haven’t changed otherwise.
Once admitted into the U.S., qualified treaty traders can stay for up to two years initially. Extensions and changes of status can be granted for up to two additional years, but there is no limit on the number of extensions for which one can receive. Despite this, visa holders must maintain an intent to leave the county when their status expires or is terminated.
E-2 Treaty Investors
This visa allows foreign nationals of a treaty country to move to the U.S. to invest in and direct a business they own. The visa permits an initial stay of up to two years with an unlimited number of possible extensions, each lasting two years. E-2 visa holders must intend to leave the U.S. when their status expires or is terminated.
Events that could adversely affect E-2 status include mergers, acquisitions, sale of a division where the immigrant investor is employed, or another event that affects the previously approved relationship with the treaty enterprise. USCIS must approve of substantive changes such as these to avoid revocation of the visa.
L-1 (L-1A & L-1B) for Intracompany Transferees
This visa covers “intracompany transferees,” which are executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge of a foreign company to work in a branch, affiliate, parent, or subsidiary of the corporation in the U.S.
Foreign employers must file a petition on behalf of these workers. They must also demonstrate 1) proof of a physical location in the U.S. for the new office, 2) that the employee was an existing executive or manager for at least one year in the three years prior to filing, and 3) that the new office in the U.S. will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the petition’s approval.
O-1 & O-2 for Persons with Extraordinary Abilities & Those Accompanying Them
Immigrants who wish to come to the U.S. because they possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics can apply for an O-1 visa. The purpose of one’s stay must be to continue their work in the area of extraordinary ability.
“Extraordinary ability” means that one is among a small percentage of people who have risen to the top of their respective fields. Examples include top athletes competing in a U.S.-based elite sporting event, such as the Olympics, or someone who wishes to claim a Pulitzer Prize.
Those who wish to accompany persons with extraordinary abilities during their visit to the U.S. must apply for an O-2 visa.
P-1A for Athletes
Athletes who wish to perform at a specific event in the U.S. can also apply for a P-1A visa. The athlete must be internationally recognized, be a member of an internationally recognized team, be considered a professional athlete, or be an amateur athlete associated with a league consisting of 15 or more amateur sports teams.
P-2 for Individual Performers or Members of a Group
Temporary stays in the U.S. can be authorized for artists or entertainers who are part of a reciprocal exchange program under a P-2 visa. These individuals can perform individually or as part of a group.
Currently, five P-2 reciprocal agreements are in place for the following organizations:
- The American Federation of Musicians (U.S.) and the American Federation of Musicians (Canada)
- Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association
- Actor’s Equity Association (U.S.) and the British Actors’ Equity Association
- The International Council of Air Shows and the Canadian Air Show Association
- The Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Screen Actor Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
R for Nonimmigrant Religious Workers
An R Visa permits foreign religious workers to enter the U.S. for temporary employment with a religious organization or to do other kinds of work for such an organization. The work performed must amount to at least 20 hours per week as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation.
Those who qualify must have been a member of a religious denomination with a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two years before filing for the R Visa.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), TN visas cover citizens from either Canada or Mexico, while TD visas allow immediate family members of TN visa holders to stay in the U.S.
Professionals who can seek admission as TN nonimmigrants include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
Additional TN requirements include the following:
- Citizenship in either Canada or Mexico
- Your profession qualifies under the regulations
- The position in the U.S. you intend to fill requires a NAFTA professional
- You have already arranged a full-time or part-time job with a U.S. employer (self-employment isn’t allowed)
- You are qualified to practice in your profession
Each visa requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Additionally, some temporary work visas require prospective employers to obtain a labor certificate.
Once a petition is approved, the employer may apply for a work visa. Keep in mind, some categories are limited in the total number of petitions approved on an annual basis.
How Long Do Temporary Work Visas Last?
Depending upon the type, a temporary work visa can remain valid for one month (such as a B-1) to several years (such as an HB-1). Some visas can be extended, adding to the amount of time a foreign national could legally remain in the U.S.
Can I Get a Green Card with a Temporary Work Visa?
Temporary work visas are nonimmigrant visas. This means that although they allow a foreign national to work in the U.S., they neither offer a green card nor a path toward citizenship. A condition of many types of nonimmigrant visas is that the holder only intends to stay in the U.S. for a limited time. In other words, some temporary work visas can be revoked if the holder has a “dual intent” to use it as a means of obtaining a green card.
That said, there are some temporary work visas where dual intent is OK, such as in E, O, and P visa applications. Still, consult with our temporary work visa attorney in North Charleston to learn more about your options if you are ultimately seeking a green card.
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Call (843) 800-2750 today to speak with our North Charleston temporary work visa lawyer!
Given the amount of skill and experience this team has, we pledge to leave no stone unturned and going above and beyond to provide the best immigration services tailored to your needs.
With a large team on hand and English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Farsi language-speaking services available, we aim to provide all the resources you need to make the immigration process easier.
As an immigrant herself, founding attorney Ameneh Maghzi understands the difficulties of immigration and she has made it her mission to make the process as smooth as possible for her clients.
With our sole focus on immigration law, our firm is well equipped to handle a wide range of immigration services.