Alternative Options to the H-1B Visa

What are some alternatives to the H-1B visa?

By now you know that the H-1B cap has been reached for Fiscal Year 2019. But what happens if you were not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

In this post, we will discuss some alternatives to the H-1B visa that will allow you to stay and work in the United States.

  1. The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa:

This visa type is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, motion picture, television, or arts industries who have received national and/or international acclaim in their field. An alien on an O-1 visa may live and work in the United States for a period of up to three years.

An O-1 visa is a great visa for people in the start-up world and technology sector. This visa is for people holding an advanced degree (at least a master’s degree) who have either started their own business, have patented inventions, are leading experts in their fields, and/or have gained notoriety in their fields as evidenced by awards and other national recognitions.

  1. TN Visa for Mexican and Canadian Nationals

The TN visa allows nationals of Mexico and Canada to work in the United States, provided their profession is on the NAFTA list. The maximum period of initial admission to the US is three years, but visa holders may apply for extensions in amounts of one year.

  1. E-3 Visa for Australian Nationals

Similar to the H-1B visa, the E-3 classification allows Australian nationals to travel to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to qualify and must work in a specialty occupation often associated with the STEM occupational fields. The E-3 visa is issued for an initial period of no more than 2 years, with extensions granted in 2-year increments.

  1. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa:

The E-2 visa is for nationals of a foreign country that has a qualifying treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation, or a similar agreement with the United States. With the E-2 visa you can start your own business or invest in an existing business in the United States. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must commit funds necessary to start business operations (lease the space for the business, purchase equipment for the business, set up the business). The funds required for investment purposes will depend on the visa type, but in general the foreign national should commit at least $100,000.

  1. L visa:

If you worked in a company abroad and that same company petitioned for your H-1B visa, and you can prove that you were either an executive or an essential employee in the company, the L visa may be the best option for you. To qualify for this visa, you must be working in an executive or managerial capacity for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition, for the same company that has an affiliation or a subsidiary in the United States.

  1. Cap-Exempt H-1B Visa:

If you are working for a university, or a non-profit affiliated with a university, your company can petition for your H-1B visa without being subject to the cap.

For more information about these visa types please visit our website or contact our office for a consultation.

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