Which US Visa Is Right for You?
“Litwin & Smith immigration follows our US immigration roots: my grandparents were immigrants from the United Kingdom; Edward Litwin’s grandparents are from Lithuania.”, shares Donald Smith.
Believing that the diversity of American origins makes the US greater, Donald says: “Our heartfelt mission is helping people that are seeking to immigrate to the US and make their US immigration dreams come true. We have dedicated ourselves to provide immigration expertise.”
With the US having a wide selection of visas, Donald outlines the different types of visas and which is best for you.
The Best Visa for You
The reasons a person seeks to live and work in the US is different for each person, yet many individuals feel that immigration to the US is beyond their reach. But it isn’t. High wealth individuals, extraordinary persons, persons in the US national interest, advanced degree professionals, degreed professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers and their families have their reasons to come to America and US immigration have options available for them.
It is common that investors who come to us are themselves ‘extraordinary’.
While we assist wealthy individuals and families with their US immigration goals, we don’t always recommend the EB-5 program. Depending on the short-term and long-term goals of the individual investor, we may recommend other visa categories. Sometimes, interim nonimmigrant H, E, L, O, visas, TN, P, B & J visas and F & M student visas are available to the individual investor or employment-based immigrant categories are available that better suit their needs. Because the EB-5 immigrant investor three-step process: immigrant investor petition, temporary green card, and removal of condition for a permanent green card, is currently several years so long, individuals from some countries may find other immigrant categories to be faster and less expensive.
It is common that investors who come to us are themselves ‘extraordinary’. ‘Extraordinary persons’ sometimes have national or international reputations in their field, qualify as an outstanding researcher or a person in US national interest. It is in our experience that a record of achievement, the significance of which is corroborated by independent documentary evidence to establish some degree of influence on their field, may qualify one as extraordinary.
Employers sponsor professionals, skilled, and unskilled workers and the green card sponsorship by an employer through PERM labor certification is the most common employer-sponsored process.
Executive & Manager Transfer
Investors and a key person within a company outside the US may be transferred to the US as a professional employee. Obtaining a green card through intracompany transfer is a process consisting of two steps: immigrant petition and green card application. You might visit our website to find out more.
Common Green Card Employer Sponsorship
Employers sponsor professionals, skilled, and unskilled workers and the green card sponsorship by an employer through PERM labor certification is the most common employer-sponsored process. The green card process through labor certification consists of three steps: labor certification, immigrant petition, an immigrant visa or green card application. You may find an article on our website helpful as well.
A professional entrepreneur or investor may be sponsored by their US entity.
Special Immigrant Religious Workers
Individual entrepreneur and investors are rarely religious workers except those who come to the US to plant a religious organization in a community to grow a community of believers. More often, US religious organizations sponsor special immigrant religious worker as ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the US, for the purpose of performing religious work in a full-time compensated position.
The special immigrant category is one of several employment-based fourth-preference (EB-4) visa classifications that includes Religious Workers, Special Immigrant Juveniles, Broadcasters, G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members, International Employees of the US Government Abroad, Armed Forces Members Panama Canal Zone Employees, Certain Physicians, Afghan and Iraqi Translators, and Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of US Operations.
An entrepreneur or investor with an active business outside the US may establish or acquire a business in the US.
Nonimmigrant categories often provide investors, an extraordinary person, executives and managers, professional workers, skilled workers, and even the unskilled worker a quicker path to a lawful presence in the US. The HELO visas are the most common of these. Although, the P, B & J visa and other temporary worker visas are also available.
The H1B visas program permit entrepreneurs and investors to establish a US entity to temporarily employ professionals in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or equivalent. A professional entrepreneur or investor may be sponsored by their US entity.
The H1B1 professional employment is available to persons from Chile and Singapore with their own number of visas that are not regularly met. H-2A and H-2B visas allow US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. The H-3 is available for trainees.
On occasion, an internationally recognized athlete or entertainer is also an entrepreneur or investor.
Entrepreneurs and investors may establish a US entity to employ the entrepreneur or investor to direct the operations under a US treaty as E-1 traders or E-2 investors. E-3 professional employment is available to Australian entrepreneurs and investors. Treaty traders (E-1) carry on substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals. Treaty investors (E-2) direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money. E-3 Australian professionals perform services in a specialty occupation.
An entrepreneur or investor with an active business outside the US may establish or acquire a business in the US. The L-1 nonimmigrant classification enables the US business to transfer the professional entrepreneur or investor who is an executive /manager / specialized knowledge employee employed abroad for at least one year from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign business which does not yet have an affiliated US office to send the executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.
Entrepreneurs and investors abroad who have been recognized nationally or internationally for achievements in their field qualify for an O visa. An O-1A nonimmigrant visa is available for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. O-1B individuals have extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. O-2 individuals accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.
The M-1 visa is a vocational student visa to enter the US in vocational or other nonacademic programs.
Entrepreneurs and investors who are citizens of Canada and Mexico may seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The P visa is available for an internationally recognized athlete or a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group. On occasion, an internationally recognized athlete or entertainer is also an entrepreneur or investor.
The B visitor visa is the most common visa for an entrepreneur or investor to visit the US. The visa is issued as B1/B2. The B-1 visa admission to the US permits the entrepreneur or investor to participate in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the US.
The B-2 visa permits the entrepreneur or investor to participate if various tourist activities. An entrepreneur or investor admitted to the US under the B visa may transition to an E treaty trader or investor visa if available, any other applicable non-immigrant visa, or any applicable immigrant category for US permanent residence including EB1. An extraordinary immigrant, EB-5 immigrant investor, or employer sponsorship through PERM labor certification.
Family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents living outside the US may be sponsored to become US permanent residents based on specific family relationships.
The J visa is an exchange visitor visa that serves many purposes and is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for many purposes from au-pair to teaching, from studying and conducting research to training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.
The F-1 Visa is an academic student to enter the US as a full-time student at an accredited college or university, seminary or conservatory, academic high school or elementary school. The first F-1 student visa is often an English language program. The most common path to US permanent residence is F-1 student to F-1 OPT, then employer sponsorship as an H1B professional and then green card sponsorship through PERM labor certification.
Where there are a long family preference category wait times, it is often advantageous to consider strategies that include non-immigrant and immigrant categories.
The M-1 visa is a vocational student visa to enter the US in vocational or other nonacademic programs.
The most common path to US permanent residence is M-1 student to M-1 OPT, then employer sponsorship green card sponsorship through PERM labor certification.
Family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents living outside the US may be sponsored to become US permanent residents based on specific family relationships. Persons who are not the spouse, minor child or parent of a US citizen are considered a preference relative; unlike the spouse, minor child or parent of a US citizen, preference relatives have limited immigrant visa numbers available. As a result of the limited visa numbers, some preference relative categories have long wait times. Where there are a long family preference category wait times, it is often advantageous to consider strategies that include non-immigrant and immigrant categories.
Donald E. Smith, J.D.
Litwin & Smith, A Law Corporation
Donald E. Smith is Shareholder and Managing Attorney at Litwin & Smith, ALC. Litwin & Smith is a prestigious business immigration law firm established in 1989. For 30 years providing excellent service at a competitive price. Litwin & Smith limits its practice to U.S. business immigration law and related filings. Our firm is nationally recognized as a premier immigration law firm. We are fanatically detailed in our filings and known for our expertise, availability, responsiveness, and history of successful filings for difficult matters. We have an impeccable record in successful business-based immigration filings, alternative strategies, and actions to achieve immigration goals from EB-5, EB1, EB2 NIW, EB3, and nonimmigrant H, E, L, and O visas as well as difficult RFEs, NOIDs, and Appeals.
Mr. Smith’s past and present professional affiliations, activities, and accomplishments include AILA, ABA, the Florida Bar. Mr. Smith has spoken in the U.S. and internationally before trade groups, associations, investment and professional groups on a variety of immigration topics. His publications and presentations include Professional Visas (H-1B) and Intracompany Transferee Visas (L-1), The E Visa, EB-5 Investment vs. L-1 Intracompany Transfer, and EB-5 investment Conference and Presentations.
Litwin & Smith experts provide advice to persons seeking to live and work in the US. Many individuals find US immigration regulatory requirements daunting. We at Litwin & Smith point the way how an individual entrepreneur, investor, employer, employee, or family can meet the evidentiary requirements of their U.S. immigration goals including EB-5, EB1, EB2 and NIW, EB3, nonimmigrant H, E, L, O and P visas, Family Based immigration, as well as non-immigrant and immigrant categories.