The United States immigration laws have become more restrictive than ever, meaning that you may be searching for some immigration help. In order to maintain or achieve a status as an American citizen, you have a few options to consider. One of which involves getting the company you work for to offer you a sponsor citizenship. There are other options for you to garner a U.S. Citizenship such as becoming an investment, the Diversity Visa lottery program, or apply for refugee or asylum status. However, being sponsored by your employer might be the easiest and less stressful route. An immigration lawyer in Orlando such as those at the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A can guide you through the proper route to take in order to understand and obtain a work visa through your company.
Does My Company Sponsor Citizenship?
In order to determine if your company sponsors citizenship in the U.S., you must become familiar with the different types of work visas available in the U.S. Each set of visa comes with their own set of criteria. Typically, you are expected to meet at least one of the requirements, if not all of them. Each work visa lasts for various amount of times from as little as eighteen months under the J-Visa to as long as seven years under the Intra-Company Transfer Visas. You will have to ask your employer about the status of their involvement with U.S. companies for some of these visas as well. Feel free to contact an immigration lawyer in Orlando to learn which visa option your company might fall under.
Different Forms of U.S. Citizenship for Immigrant
Lawful Permanent Resident: The US Green Card: This usually means you are looking to obtain full permanent residency in America. This is an extremely difficult goal not only because it is so highly coveted by others coming to the States, but because of the steps it takes to achieve this card. It can take many years to get full residency in the U.S. The technical term is “lawful permanent resident”, but the card is no longer physically green. Because this takes so long, your immigrant will probably suggest getting you a non-immigrant work visa for temporary residency. You can work through the steps of getting your Green Card (if that is your primary goal) once you are working in the U.S. temporarily.
Citizenship Through Parents: According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “The law in effect at the time of birth determines whether someone born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) is a U.S. citizen at birth. In general, these laws require that at least one parent was a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen parent had lived in the United States for a period of time.:
Word-Based Visas: These visas grant temporary U.S. residency to foreign civilians. These visas only grant you temporary residency in America, though most of them can extended through proper documentation and reasoning. You will need to have specialized training in your specific field or your employer must have a substantial amount of business with a U.S. company in order to grant you an American residency. You must be coming to the U.S. to utilize your skills as a worker in your particular field and/or learning a trade that you will use once you return to your home country.
Different Types of Work-Based Visas
There are a few types on staple temporary work visas in the U.S. They include the H1B, the L-1 and the E.
H1-B Specialty Occupation Visas
This is for immigrant coming to the U.S. for a professional-level job. The visa lasting standard is three years, but it can be upgraded to as long as six years. If a company offers you a job in a specialty position, you must fit one of the following criteria:
– You have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university.
– You have a foreign degree in this specialty occupation that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher.
– You have received training for this specialty area. You have been educationally full-filled or have enough experience for this position to be considered equivalent to obtaining a degree. You have proof of your recognition and expertise and you have held positions that directly relate to the specialty.
– You have a state license registration, or certification that is unrestricted. This license must state the authorization for you to fully practice said specialty occupation and are currently practicing your specified arena of expertise.
For professions in medical, law, real estate, and other relevant field, you are required to obtain separate licensing under the State you reside in.
E Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor Visas
If your company or potential company is registered as a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor, then you may be able to obtain this type of visa. These companies are substantially invested or in trades with particular U.S. companies. This visa is for employees of such foreign trading or investing companies. It typically holds immigrant residency for two years, but can be renewed indefinitely. Some requirements for the E Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor visas include:
– For the E-1 Treaty Trader, you must own or work for a company that is in agreement for a substantial amount of continuous trade with the U.S. Keep in mind that the amount of trade must exceed a certain amount and you or your foreign employer must have substantial business to justify your residency. Generally, you or your foreign company will have most of your trading services delegated with US companies and prove that your presence on US soil is vital to the overall operations of trade.
– For the E-2 treaty Investor visa, you or your employer must have significant investment in U.S. businesses or single business. The investor must have at least a 50% investment in the U.S. business. Investment in stocks or properties does not fall under this visa category. You or your employer must be invested in a current operating U.S. business and you must be able to more that this investment in sufficient enough to garner you being an employee in America.
L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visas
This L-1 visa grants the opportunity for you to transfer to a position in the U.S. if you work for a related foreign company that is affiliated, a parent of, or a subsidiary or branch of a U.S. based office. The two types of L-1 visas are the L1-A for Executive/Managerial staff and the L-1B for Specialist Knowledge staff. This visa lasts from one to three years. L1-A’s can be extended to a maximum of five years, while L1-B visas can be extended of up to seven years residency. Here are some requirements for this type of visa:
– You must work for the transferring company for a minimum of one year within the last three years.
– You must be coming to manage a U.S. branch office in a major subdivision if you are acquiring the L1-A executive and managerial staff visas.
– You must have a fair amount of knowledge in your particular field if you are coming to the U.S. under the L1-B specialist knowledge staff visa. You will be asked to confirm your in-depth knowledge of your company’s products, procedures, processes and any other relevant specialized field information.
J-Visas are exchange visas. Their purpose is to bring international visitors to the U.S. to learn a specialized skill that will help in the overall relations of their home country. These visas are only enabled for eighteen months through approved J-Visa programs only. There are fourteen different exchange program categories and each one has sponsoring organizations designated by the US Department of State. You must complete the overall objective of the program and meet certain criteria in order to get this type of visa. Each criterion is different depending on the line of work you are expected to work in. You can speak with one of our immigration lawyers in Orlando for more specific information on these types of categories.
You must be able to independently pay for round-trip airfare, living expenses in the U,S, and purchase proper and adequate health insurance (this part is mandatory in order to obtain the visa). Some examples of specific types of J-Visa work opportunities include:
The Private Sector
- Au Pair and EduCare
- Camp Counsellor
- Student, Secondary School
- Summer Work/ Travel
The Academic and Government Sectors
- Government Visitor
- International Visitor (Department of State)
- Short term scholar
- Professor and research scholar
- Student College/University
Work Based Visas Not Available in the U.S.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, and much of Continental Europe, an immigrant can work in the country under the status of a freelance contractor. An example would be an independent IT technician or a landscape designer. However, this is not an option available in the U.S. The reason for this is because freelance U.S. employees typically have to offer their services through service companies in order to claim tax liabilities. Even if they do not outsource a company to offer their services, they are still lawfully required to submit tax information. So they reason this is not available to immigrants has less to do with restrictions on visas and more to do with proper tax withholding.
What About My Spouse or Children?
Dependents or spouses of those applying for temporary U.S. work residency are not automatically granted U.S. residency through your one work-visa application. They must apply for their own visa separately, though it is not guaranteed that both applications will be accepted simultaneously to enable you and your spouse or child travel to the U.S. at the same time.
However, you can ask for immigration help and inquire if you can obtain sponsorship from your U.S. employer.
Your children can also obtain a visa if they will be enrolled as a student in the U.S. In these circumstances, your dependents will be granted visas at the same time you obtain your work visa so that you may travel together. Generally, the rules vary depending on the type of visa you apply for. For example, under the J-Visa the rules for bringing your child or spouse indicate that an applicant’s spouse and children should be able to obtain a J-2 Visa to accompany the applicant to the U.S as long as they submit their own J-2 application. They must submit at the same time or at a subsequent date.
If you are looking for further information, contact an immigration lawyer in Orlando. At the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A, we provide immigration help temporary U.S. residency such as work visas. After you obtain a temporary residency, we can walk you through your options for full U.S. residency, should that be your ultimate goal. Filling out the appropriate application as well as being able to supply the proper documentation to obtain your work visa is crucial. We can also help you determine whether or not your company sponsors citizenship.