What’s an H-1B?

An H1-B1 visa is also known as “the professional visa”. An American corporation/company offers you a “professional job” related to your degree and/or working experience. An H-2 visa is another temporary visa for agricultural or seasonal work. An H-3 visa is related to training. An H-4 is given to the dependents of an H-1B.

What’s an L visa?

The L-1 is referred to as the “multinational transferee visa” for employees who are brought to a company’s American headquarters and who have been working for the subsidiary abroad at least 1 year. An L-2 is given to the dependents of an L-1. (See Antonia’s lines Fall 1999 issue).

What’s an E visa?

The E-1 or E-2 visa is the “investor’s visa” for nationals who are from countries that have signed a commercial treaty (for trade or investment) with the United States. (See Antonia’s lines Fall 1998 issue).

What’s an O visa?

A visa which enables foreign nationals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability or achievement to perform services for a US company in the field of ability. (See Antonia’s Lines Fall 2001).

What’s a P visa?

A visa which is available to foreign entertainment groups, athletes, or entertainers who wish to enter the United States temporarily to perform. (See Antonia’s Lines Spring 2002).

What if I come to the United States hired by a company in the US, how long do I work for this company?

The visa H and O are given for up to 6 years and the L visa is valid for up to 7 years. But if you don’t like your current job you can always quit. This means, however, that you loose your visa status.

When I graduate from University or College, how long can I look for work?

If you graduate from university you have 1 year of Practical Training, hence, 1 year to look for a good employer. If you completed vocational studies, then you only have 6 months of Practical Training.

What would happen to me if the company that hired me goes bankrupt?

You would have to look for another employer within 10 days after you were laid off.

If I have a work related visa and I have never worked for the company can I leave the country and re-enter the United States with this visa?

No, if you are not working, you don’t have a valid visa and every time you enter the country with this visa you are committing fraud.

Can I apply for the residency with an I visa?

Yes, of course you can. Most non-immigrant visas allow you to apply for residency.

How many types of visas are there? Which are the most “Popular”?

There is a long alphabet of visas and it is not a popularity contest, rather we need to analyze which is the best suited for your particular needs and qualifications. (See “The art of employing foreign nationals).

Do Canadians have some sort of privilege when applying for a visa? Is there a treaty with the United States?                                      Can they apply without a problem for any visa?

Canadians and Mexicans professionals have a visa called “TN” which is valid for a year and is renewable. It is directly obtained at the borders and is a rather quick and easy visa to obtain. Canadians in particular do not get stamped visas on their passports, the I-94 card act in lieu of a visa. They need a letter from an employer stating that a job offer is waiting for them in American territory.