H-1B Visa Alternatives

The H-1B Cap for fiscal year 2014 has already been met leaving many foreign nationals and their employers without valid work authorization. Although the H-1B visa is one of the better work visa options, it is not the only one. There are many alternative options available for working in the United States. Some of the alternative visa options include:

  • TN NAFTA – One of the best alternatives to an H-1B visa is the TN visa under NAFTA. TN visas are available to citizens of both Canada and Mexico that will be performing duties under qualifying NAFTA professions. The basic requirements for a TN visa are:
    • Citizen of Canada or Mexico
    • Have received an offer of employment within the United States
    • Will be working in a profession listed under NAFTA
    • Have obtained the necessary education/experience listed under NAFTA for the profession.
  • L1 Visa – The L1 visa is available to those that will be working in the United States for a company that has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate). The L1 visa is also available for companies that do not yet have a U.S. presence who are seeking to expand their operations. The basic requirements for an L1 visa are:
    • A qualifying relationship with a foreign company
    • Currently be, or will be, doing business in as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country
    • The employee must have worked for a qualifying organization abroad for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding the application
    • Must be coming to the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge role for the employer.
  • E3 Visa – Australian citizens can obtain U.S. work authorization under E-3 visa status. The E-3 visa is only available to Australian citizens and although it is subject to a Cap much like the H-1B visa, the Cap has never been met. The basic requirements for an E-3 visa are:
    • Proof of Australian citizenship;
    • Offer of employment in the United States;
    • Proof of necessary experience or academic degrees; and
    • The position offered is a specialty occupation.
  • O-1 Visa – The O-1 visa category is available for foreign workers that can demonstrate that they possess extraordinary ability in their profession and have received recognition for such achievements. The O-1 visa is a great option for those that have risen to the top of their profession. The O-1 visa is not limited to certain professions. As long as evidence of extraordinary ability can be demonstrated, the O-1 visa can be issued. The basic criteria for an O-1 visa are:
    • Evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:  
      • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
      • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field.
      • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought.
      • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
      • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought.
      • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
      • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought.
      • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

If you were not able to obtain a number under the FY2014 H-1B Cap, you might still be able to obtain U.S. work authorization. Contact us today so that we can review the details of your situation and identify what U.S. immigration options might still be available.

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