Temporary Work and Student Visas

The purpose of a temporary (non-immigrant) visa is to allow a person to enter the U.S. temporarily for a specific purpose and for a specific period of time.

Professional Visas

Professional visas are for individuals who have a job offer in the United States, hold at least a 4 year university degree or U.S. equivalent and seek to work in a professional or “specialty” occupation related to their field of study. Each visa classification has its own requirements and restrictions.

  • H-1B are visas are for specialty workers;

  • TN visa are for professional under NAFTA available for citizens of Mexico and Canada;

  • E3 visas are for nationals of Australia to perform a specialty occupation with a U.S. employer;

  • H-1B1 visas are available for citizens of Chile and Singapore to work on a specialty occupation with a U.S. employer.

Student & Exchange Visas

These temporary visas are for individuals who wish to study a full course of study or become a trainee/ intern in a specific field of study in the U.S.  Each visa classification has its own requirements and restrictions.

  • F1 visa are for students who want to pursue a course of study at an established private institution approved by ICE in compliance with SEVIS;

  •  M visas are for vocational students who wish to pursue an education in a junior/communicaty college to study a vocational/business school in a non-academic curriculum

  • J visas are available for professors, research scholars, foreign physicians, camp counselors, au pair, summer students, trainees/ interns  or  teachers who seek to enroll in a trainee program in the intern’s field of study for a limited period of time.

  • H-3 applies to trainees other than medical or academic. This category can be applied to practical training in the education of handicapped children.

Religious Visas

Religious visas are for religious workers who are members of a religious denomination for at least 2 years preceding the application and who seek to perform a religious vocation or traditional religious occupation in the U.S.

USCIS may grant R-1 status for an initial period of admission for up to 30 months. Subsequent extensions may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The  aaplicant’s total period of stay in the United States in R-1 classification cannot exceed 5 years (60 months).

USCIS counts only time spent physically in the United States in valid R-1 status toward the maximum period of stay.

The religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to accept employment based on this visa classification.

P, Q & O Visas

  • P visas are for temporary workers who seek to work in the U.S. as an entertainer, artists, or is part of a well recognized group of entertainers or athletic team.

  • O visas are designated for individuals who have an extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and motion picture or TV production.

  • Q visa are for individuals who seek to participate in an international cultural exchange program to provide practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the individual’s home country.

Investors & Intra-company transferees

E visas are reserved for treaty traders or investors. The U.S. must have signed a treaty/ bilateral investment agreement between the applicant’s country of nationality (treaty country) and the treaty national must own at least 50% of the company in the U.S.  To qualify, the applicant must:

  • seek to enter the U.S. for an indefinite period of time;

  • to carry on international trade between the U.S. and the foreign state of which the applicant is a national (E1 visa); or

  • to set up a company in which the applicant has invested/seeks to invest a “substantial amount” of money (E2 visa); or

  • be an “essential” employee of the company in the U.S.

L visas are designated for employees who have worked abroad for 12 months for a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the US petitioning company.  L1A visas are available for managers or executives who are coming to work in a managerial/executive capacity in the US company.   L1B applicants are eligible to work if she/he has special knowledge of the company’s product, service, research, techniques or has “advanced level” of  knowledge of processes and procedures of the company in the U.S.

Seasonal & Agricultural Visas

H-2B visas are given to temporary workers who seek to work in the U.S. temporarily for an employer who can show, through a labor certiifcation process, that:

  • there are not enough U.S. workers who are available to do the temporary work;

  • The H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers; and

  • the employer’s need is either seasonal, peakload, intermittent or a one-time-need.

This category is subject to a limited number of visas per year and is limited to nationals of certain countries. Nationals of other countries not designated by USCIS may still apply if it can be shown that it is in the  U.S. interest  to grant such a petition.

H-2A visas are reserved for agricultural workers seeking to work for a U.S. employer and the job offer is seasonal and temporary in nature. These visas are subject to a labor certification process from the U.S. Department of Labor.