Now that the H1B visa lottery is coming to a close, we are receiving questions about alternative visa categories for working in the United States. Unfortunately, the H1B visa may be the only option available depending on level of education, job duties, and country of citizenship. Others may have multiple alternative option available. If you were not fortunate to obtain an H1B under the lottery or you are simply looking for additional visa options, the following is a short list of visa options to consider:
- E-3 Visa for Australian Professionals – The E-3 visa category is reserved for Australian citizens working in specialty occupations. If you are able to qualify for an H1B then you will more than likely also qualify for the E-3 visa. E-3 Visas are issued for up to two (2) years at a time with no maximum number of extensions. If you are Australian seeking work authorization in the U.S. the E-3 visa is a great alternative to the H1B visa.
- L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferees – The L-1 visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer qualifying managers, executives and employees with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to a U.S. office. The L-1 visa requires a qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities, the foreign worker must have worked for the foreign entity for at least one (1) in the last three (3) years, and the employee must be in a qualifying executive or managerial position, or possess specialized knowledge about the organization. The L-1 visa is a viable alternative to the H-1B for those that qualify.
- O-1A Visa for those with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement – The O-1A visa is often overlooked as an alternative to the H-1B visa. The O-1A visa is reserved for those than can demonstrate that they have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The O-1A visa is issued in three (3) years increments with no maximum number of extensions.
- TN NAFTA – The TN visa category is reserved for Mexican and Canadian citizens working in designated NAFATA professions. Some professions that fall under NAFTA are computer professionals, consultants, engineers, accountants, graphic designers, statisticians, social workers, pharmacists, veterinarians, biologists, chemists, and teachers. The TN visa is issued three (3) year increments with no maximum number of extensions. Despite recent conversation surrounding NAFTA, it remains in full force and is a viable option for many Canadian and Mexican citizens.
- Family Sponsorship – Obtaining immigration status through a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident must also be considered. You may benefit from family sponsorship if you are a parent, spouse, child or fiancé with a qualifying relationship.
The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have extensive experience with the business immigration and are able to explain the H1B alternatives that may apply to you. Contact us today to speak with a qualified U.S. Immigration Lawyer.