By Sanwar Ali
US visas can be difficult to obtain, with the options for entry somewhat limited. If you wish to live and work in the US and entry is not based on family, then usually you need to have a job offer or you need to start a business. Even with a job offer it can be difficult obtaining a work visa for the US. It has become more difficult under Donald Trump to obtain non-immigrant work visas such as the L1 visa, E2 visa, H1B visa, B1 in lieu of H1B visa and H2B visa. Below we cover briefly details for some popular US visa categories:
L1 Visa for Intra-Company Transfers:
- To come under L1 visa need to have worked for the business outside the US for one year in the last three years.
- Need to be transferred to the US office to work in a management, executive under L1A visa or specialized knowledge worker under L1B visa.
- The business outside the US needs to continue operating.
- Can be used by business owners.
- No real investment requirement in the US.
- No Quota.
- Unless under blanket filing or unless you are a Canadian citizen, difficult to obtain with extensive documentation requirements.
- Spouses can easily work with work authorisation.
E2 Visa for Treaty Investors
- E2 Treaty visa based on treaties between the US and various Countries around the World and so based on nationality.
- E2 Registration is required initially which can be a difficult and complicated process.
- Available for Management, Executive, Supervisory Level and Essential Skills employees.
- If Registration is yet to be obtained, may need to show that investment has been made and that “money has been put at risk” even before the visa is granted.
- Under the Trump administration it seems that the E2 visa category is more difficult to obtain with a greater risk of refusal than before.
- No Quota.
- Spouses of the main applicant can easily work with work authorisation. Can be any nationality.
- Unless entry based on being family members, Indians and Chinese and many other nationalities are unable to apply.
B1 in Lieu of H1B visa
- B1 in lieu of H1B visa allows entry for degree or “degree equivalent” level staff being sent over to the US.
- Fast processing, hopefully within about two weeks.
- Limited entry for six months at a time probably for up to one year.
- May be difficult to obtain further visas after the first year under Trump administration.
- No Quota.
H1B Visa for Specialty Occupations
- Heavily oversubscribed Quota makes the H1B visa difficult to obtain.
- Meant for degree level applicants or “degree equivalent” applicants.
- H1B visa quota typically runs out near the beginning of April each year.
- For new H1B visa applicants you cannot start work until October in the same year.
- Salary rates are heavily regulated and you need to pay the prevailing wage.
- H1B visa has been targeted by Donald Trump so is becoming more difficult, especially for Indians.
- In most cases spouses find it difficult to gain the right to work in the US.
H2B Visa for non-agricultural skilled or unskilled work
- H2B visa can be used for a wide range of work that is non-agricultural.
- Quota means that it is frequently unavailable.
- Requires Temporary Labour Certification.
- Can be difficult to obtain.
- Likely to be valid only for short periods of time.
Further US Visa information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com’s team of specialists has over 30 years of experience in immigration services, helping thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a US qualified lawyer.