Work and live in the United States with help from a highly-skilled immigration lawyer in Windsor. Scarfone Law Firm offers a range of legal services for business and individuals to make the transition to work or to live in the United States. To learn how we can play a critical role in your smooth transition to U.S. temporary residence, permanent residence and citizenship, call today.
Marriage and Fiancé Visas
The K-1 is meant for fiancés of U.S. citizens (and children unmarried and under 21 years of age called K-2’s) who reside outside the U.S. Once the visa is issued overseas, the holder of the visa will travel to the U.S. and get married within 90 days of entering. Extensions can’t be guaranteed if the holder of the visa has not married within the 90-day period and has not applied to adjust their status to transition to permanent residency. They could then be required to leave the U.S. after the wedding and apply from outside of the U.S. While an applicant is waiting for adjustment, they may seek permission to work. Processing times vary but the adjustment process can take from 6 months to over 1 year.
The K-3 is for foreign persons already married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and are submitting a petition which in many ways is like the K-1 petition. (The K-4 is for children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age, sons & daughters over 21, brothers & sisters and mothers & fathers. Some of these categories are subject to long waiting periods for an available visa. Note that permanent residents can only file for unmarried children under 21 years, sons or daughters over 21 who are not married, along with their spouse. The applicant may seek entry into the U.S as a visitor while awaiting the approval of their K-3 petition, or K-1 petition, but this is at the discretion of the reviewing officer at the port of entry or the visa issuing office where they live.
Adjustment of Status
Upon entry under the K visa program, the next step would be to adjust one's status from that of a non-immigrant to an immigrant. As well, there are times when a person who marries a U.S. citizen and is already in the U.S. will be able to apply to adjust without traveling overseas for a visa. This process is complex and can be confusing. Close attention must be taken to the proper filing of all applications.
Immigrant Visa (IV)
An alternative to the K-3 visa is to bypass the adjustment of status stage of the application process. With an immigrant visa you enter the United States and become a permanent resident upon your first entry as you are in possession of the immigrant visa. This is a multi step process dealing with the USCIS, the Department of State and your U.S. Consulate in your country. This process is very complex and great care must be taken to avoid delays or rejection of your application.
Each of the above application processes are intricate in nature and require accurate completion of the required documents and a thorough understanding of the applicable immigration laws and processes in your fact situation. Errors in the interpretation of the law can result in a denial or extensive delays in the approval of the application and visa issuance.
Waivers of Inadmissibility
A Waiver is used for persons who cannot enter the U.S. because they have a criminal record. In order to be allowed to go back to the U.S. as a visitor, a spouse or a worker, a person with a criminal record must receive permission to go back to the U.S. Such applications can be difficult and require an understanding of U.S. immigration law to be able to present a strong case for consideration by the Admissibility Review Office. Processing times vary depending on the severity of the infraction(s) but can take between 6 months up to more than one year.
Non-Immigrant Work Visas
L-1A Intra-Company Transfer
This temporary work visa is meant for key employees of international companies looking to be transferred to the U.S. location where they will continue their work in the same capacity and with the same company. It is also suitable for key employees working for international companies who will go to the U.S. to open a new branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the company. There are numerous requirements that must be met in order to qualify under this category and is a complex process.
Requirements are as follows:
If you are coming to establish a new U.S. location, the visa is usually granted for a period of 1 year. It is possible to obtain extensions. A total of 5 years can be obtained by an employee possessing specialized knowledge and up to 7 years for managers or executors.
TN - North American Free Trade Agreement Visa
TN visas are for citizens or nationals of Canada and Mexico who wish to work in the U.S. in a designated profession. Set out under the NAFTA, professionals such as accountants, engineers, medical and health workers, scientists and teachers are eligible. In most cases a bachelor's degree and/or professional licence is required.
Examples where no degree is required include scientific technicians or technologists and in some cases, management consultants. Please note that these categories can be very difficult to obtain a work authorization for as the qualifications required for the job and the duties within the job are highly scrutinized by reviewing officers. The standards to be met are set high and only the most qualified persons will be granted a work authorization.
E-1 Treaty Trader Visa
The E-1 visa is a temporary work visa for treaty traders and certain employees of qualifying organizations to go to the U.S. and engage in international trade. Typical types of trade include:
To qualify for an E1 visa, the applicant must not only possess the qualifications as listed above, they must also be a citizen of a country that has a treaty with the U.S. for this type of visa. (Also applies to E-2 visas – investors)
In addition, a treaty trader must be coming to the U.S. to conduct substantial trade, principally between the U.S. and the applicant’s country of nationality. Substantial trade is considered to be a continuous flow of sizeable trade items and transactions over time and is not defined by a specific monetary value or volume.
Employees of organizations must be in the capacity of an executive or supervisor and will have ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s operations. To qualify, the organization must be at least 50% owned by persons with nationality of the treaty country and the applicant.
The applicant may be required to meet certain health and character requirements too.
An E-1 visa is usually granted for an initial two-year period and extensions may be granted for another two years. There is no outside maximum term for renewing the visas.
Spouses and children (under 21 years of age), may apply for an E visa to accompany their spouse or parent to the U.S. They may study in the U.S. but may not undertake any employment without an approved employment authorization.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
An E-2 investor visa is a non-immigrant visa for individuals who wish to enter the United States "solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested, or of an enterprise which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital."
(quoted from INA §101(a)(15)(E)(ii))
E-2 visas are only available to nationals from certain countries holding a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or a similar arrangement with the United States.
H-1B Specialized Knowledge Visa
H-1B visas are for specialty occupations in the U.S. Legislation caps the number of H-1B visas issued to 65,000 per year (October 1st - September 30th) and an additional 20,000 visas for foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees.
The Specialty Occupation designation requires theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge that usually requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. Usually specialty occupations include architecture, engineering, math, physics, science, medicine, health, education, business, accounting, law, theology, and arts.
Visa holders may live and work in the U.S. The visa is usually granted for a three-year period, however extensions may be granted. The visa holder may also maintain their visa status while applying for a U.S. green card.
Spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age), may apply for an H4 visa to join their spouse of parent in the U.S. They are entitled to study in the U.S. but cannot undertake any employment without obtaining the appropriate visa.
Other U.S. Work Visa Classifications