VISITOR VISAS

Choose the visa that’s right for you

B-1 Visitor Visas

The vast majority of Canadians entering the United States for business purposes are B-1 permit holders. The B-1 visa is a very fast and relatively simple means of visiting the United States for business purposes.

A B-1 Business Visitor is required for Canadians wishing to enter the United States to conduct general business-like activities. The typical B-1 applicant comes to the U.S to:

  • attend business meetings
  • consult with associates
  • attend business conferences and conventions
  • negotiate contracts
  • investigate business opportunities
  • purchase property in the U.S

Pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), people with B-1 status may perform the following activities:

  • Research and design, including technical, scientific, and statistical research.
  • Growth, manufacturing, and production, including harvest owners supervising harvesting crews and purchasing and production management personnel conducting commercial transactions.
  • Marketing, including market researchers and analysts and trade fair and promotional personnel attending trade conventions.
  • Sales, including sales representatives and agents taking orders and negotiating contracts for goods or services, but not delivering goods or providing services; buyers purchasing for an enterprise located in Canada.
  • Distribution, including transportation operators delivering to, or loading and transporting from Canada or the United States, with no intermediate loading or delivery within the United States; customs brokers performing brokerage duties associated with the export of goods.
  • After-sales service, including installers, repair and maintenance personnel, and supervisors possessing specialized knowledge essential to the seller’s contractual obligation, performing services or training workers to perform such services pursuant to a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery, including computer software purchased from an enterprise located outside the country, during the life of the warranty or service agreement.

What activities are NOT permissible under B-1 status? The answer is not that clear. Basically, activities, which “engage the U.S. labor market” are not permitted, that is, you are not supposed to engage in productive activities, which are normally performed by U.S. workers.

B-1 status is Temporary It is important to note that like the TN Visa and L-1 Visa (Link), B-1 status is for a temporary period and the applicant is required to leave the United Status when the B-1 activity is completed.

How do you obtain a B-1? Canadian Citizens may obtain a B-1 at a U.S/Canadian port of entry. B-1 applicants may be advised to present the following documentation in support of their B-1 case:

  • Evidence of ties to Canada such as bank records
  • Evidence of close family relatives
  • Property deeds and any other documentation that shows that the applicant will return to Canada before or upon the expiry of B-1 status.
  • Documents showing that the applicant will be engaging in permissible B-1 activities.

 

The B-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Participants to attend scientific, educational, professional, business, or religious conventions 
  • Persons to work on specific projects in the U.S. and paid by a foreign employer 
  • Business professionals to participate in commercial transactions (which do not involve gainful employment) such as negotiating contracts and consulting with business associates 
  • Persons to undertake independent studies such as feasibility studies, market research or any such activity 
  • Persons to attend professional or business conferences, workshops, or seminars 
  • Business professionals to explore possibilities to set up a subsidiary of a foreign corporation, or to make investments 
  • Personal or domestic servants to come to the U.S. with a U.S. citizen or nonimmigrant employer on B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, R, or TN status 
  • Technical personnel to install or service equipment pursuant to a contract of sale, or to provide after sales service 
  • Business professionals to attend meetings as a member of the Board of Directors of a U.S. corporation 
  • Persons to observe business, professional, or vocational activity as long as it does not involve any hands-on activity 
  • Professional athletes to compete for tournament money and not for a salary 
  • Professionals to conduct business consultations with business associates in the U.S. 
  • Purchasing agents of a foreign employer to come to the U.S. to procure goods, components, or raw materials for use outside the U.S. 
  • Foreign business persons coming to the U.S. in conjunction with Litigation 
  • Persons rendering professional services in the U.S. that would otherwise qualify them for an H-1B visa, but who are paid for those services by a source outside the U.S. 
  • Persons employed outside the U.S. who are paid from abroad, and who come to the U.S. to undertake an established training program that would qualify them for an H-3 visa 
  • Employees of foreign airlines who are engaged in productive employment in the U.S. and paid in the U.S. who are not eligible for E-1 treaty trader status 
  • Other persons such as for bona fide religious missionaries and crew members on yachts 
  • Special situations involving Canadians and Mexicans such as Canadian truck drivers who are paid by either Canadian or U.S. firms and who transport commodities across the Canadian Border 
  • Foreign companies to send their personnel to the U.S. to install or service equipment pursuant to a contract of sale or to provide after sales service 
  • U.S. companies to bring foreign business consultants for training or expert advice
  • U.S. universities to bring foreign guest speakers or lecturers
B-2 Tourist Visitors

The B-2 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Tourists on a pleasure trip to the U.S.
  • People visiting friends and relatives in the U.S.
  • People coming to the U.S. for medical treatment

     

  • Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder, upon establishing to the consular official and the INS that after the marriage, they will depart from the U.S., even though intending ultimately to immigrate

     

  • Amateur athletes, musicians etc. who participate in their respective activities in the U.S. without remuneration

     

  • People coming to participate in the conventions of social organizations
  • Dependents of alien members of the U.S. armed forces temporarily assigned duty in the U.S.
  • Dependents of crewmembers (D visa holders) or B-1 visa holders solely to accompany the principal foreign national

     

  • Dependents of nonimmigrant for whom no derivative classification is available. For example, the elderly parent of an E visa holder

     

  • Persons to enter the U.S. to apply for special naturalization benefits on the basis of U.S. military service

     

  • Persons seeking a change to another visa status if they so advise the U.S. Consulate, and if the consulate is fully appraised of the circumstances
  • U.S. citizens, green card holders and nonimmigrant visa holders to invite their friends and relatives to the U.S.
J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign medical graduates or physicians to pursue graduate medical education or training at accredited schools of medicine or scientific institutions
  • Foreign students participating in exchange programs to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences
  • Research scholars to teach, conduct research, observe, or consult on research projects
  • Au Pairs to live with an American host family
  • Foreign nationals to pursue business and industrial training programs in the U.S.
  • Professors to teach, lecture, conduct research, or consult at educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar institutions in the U.S.
  • Employees of International Communication agencies
  • Research assistants sponsored by the national institute of health
  • Foreign nationals to serve as counselors in U.S. summer camps
  • Foreign nationals to obtain further academic qualifications or gain practical experience/training in a specific area of knowledge or expertise
  • Foreign nationals who are recognized as potential leaders or experts to engage in observation tours, discussions, consultation, professional meetings, and training
  • U.S. organizations authorized by the Department of State (DOS) to sponsor foreign nationals for training
Brothers / Sisters Of A U.S. Citizen

Green Card – Family Fourth Preference is Suitable For:

  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens
  • U.S. citizens (age 21 or older) to sponsor the Green Card application of their brothers and sisters
Fiance / Fiancee Visa

The K-1 Fiancee Visa is Suitable For:

  • Fiance or Fiancee of US citizens to enter the U.S. and marry the U.S. citizen within 90 days
  • U.S. citizens to bring their fiance or fiancee to the U.S.
Marriage To A U.S. Citizen

Green Card – Marriage is Suitable For:

  • Spouses of U.S. Citizens to obtain permanent resident status in the U.S.
Removal of Conditions

Removal of Conditions is Suitable For:

Conditional permanent residents who obtained such status through marriage, to remove the conditions on their residence, including:

  • Permanent residents who are still married to the same U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith
  • Permanent residents who entered into a marriage in good faith where the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment
  • Permanent residents who entered into a marriage in good faith, but either the spouse or the child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse
Spouse / Children Of Green Card Holders

Green Card – Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens is Suitable For:

  • Foreign nationals married to U.S. citizens
  • Recent widows or widowers of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 who have at least one U.S. citizen parent
  • Stepchildren of U.S. citizens, if the marriage creating the parent-child relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday
  • Stepparents of U.S. citizens, if the marriage creating the parent-child relationship took place before the U.S. citizen’s 18th birthday
  • Parents of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. citizen is over the age of 21
  • U.S. citizens to sponsor the Green Card application of their foreign spouse
  • U.S. citizens to sponsor the Green Card application of their unmarried children under the age of 21
  • U.S. citizens (age 21 or older) to sponsor the Green Card application of their parents
  • Foreign nationals married to U.S. Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)
  • Unmarried children (any age) of U.S. Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)
  • Unmarried stepchildren of lawful permanent residents, if the marriage creating the stepchild relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday
  • U.S. Permanent Residents to sponsor the Green Card application of their foreign spouse or unmarried children (any age)
E-1 Trade Investment Visa

The E-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Personnel including executives, managers and specialists of a treaty nation company operating in the U.S.
  • Nationals of treaty countries seeking to enter the U.S. to carry out substantial trade
  • Immediate family members of E-1 visa holders
  • Companies in treaty countries to send key personnel to manage the U.S. affiliate or branch
  • Companies in treaty countries to send personnel to setup a U.S. company
E-2 Essential Employee Visa

Where the E-2 visa applicant is an employee rather than an investor that employee must be of the same Nationality of the investor OR Company/Enterprise that has majority ownership of the business/enterprise. The Employee can be a manager/supervisor or a worker with special skills making him or her essential to the running of the business.

  • A supervisory position grants the employee ultimate control and responsibility for a large proportion of the enterprise’s operations or a major component of the enterprise. It does not involve the supervision of low-level employees. The supervisory element of the employee’s position must be a principal and primary function, and not an incidental or collateral function.
  • The essential nature of an alien’s “special skills” is determined by assessing the degree of proven expertise of the alien in the area of specialization, the uniqueness of the specific skills, the length of experience and training with the firm, the period of training needed to perform the contemplated duties, and the salary the special expertise commands.
  • Unlike the H1B, there is no quota on the number of employees permitted.
  • The E-2 employee visa can be filed directly at the Consulate of the Home Country of the applicant without the prior approval of the USCIS or can be filed as a change of status if the applicant is in the United Sates.
  • The E-2 visa can be approved in a matter of a few weeks if the applicant is filing under premium processing in the United States.
  • The Spouse of the E-2 Investor is eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (Work Permit) allowing the spouse the ability to work legally in the United States at any legal job.
  • The E-2 visa must be extended every Five (5) years however there is NO limit in extensions and an applicant may remain in E-2 visa for an indefinite time, as long as the investment enterprise is ongoing.

Countries with Treaties for E-2 Visas:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldavia, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia Montenegra, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republc, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

E-3 Australian Professional Visa

The E-3 Visa:

The E-3 visa is a United States visa for which only citizens of Australia are eligible[1]. It was created by an Act of the United States Congress as a result of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), although it is not formally a part of the AUSFTA. The legislation creating the E-3 visa was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on May 11, 2005.

The E-3 visa is similar in many respects to the H-1B visa. Important differences include the fact that spouses of E-3 visa holders may work in the United States without restrictions (unlike other US non-immigrant visas, even the TN visa issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens), and that the E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two-year increments). Australian citizens applying for an E-3 visa are also no longer subject to the 65,000 annual visa limit for H-1B visas; although there is a separate annual quota of 10,500 E-3 visas, this is believed to be much more generous to Australians than requiring them to compete with all other nations for H-1B visas. Visas issued to spouses and children are not included in the E3 quota and spouses and children do not need to be Australian citizens.

E-3 visas are non-immigrant visas. Accordingly, E-3 visa holders must prove their intent to return to Australia when the E-3 job is finished. This is significantly different from an H-1B visa, which is also a non-immigrant visa, but allows dual intent. Thus, although an H-1B visa holder may apply for permanent residency (a green card) while working on an H-1B visa, an E-3 visa holder may not. However, an E-3 visa holder may apply for permanent residency under an alternative category, for example if their spouse is an American citizen. Also, E-3 visas may be renewed indefinitely (in theory) whereas any one H-1B visa is valid only up to six years (unless the H-1B holder begins the green card process in which case the H-1B is extended during the time the green card application is pending).

The regulations for applying for an E-3 visa were published in the United States Federal Register on September 2, 2005. Following these procedures will allow an Australian citizen to apply for an E-3 visa at a US embassy or consulate.

Similar to an H-1B visa, the prospective employer of the E-3 visa holder will first apply for a “Labor Condition Application” (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor, with a note at the top of the form indicating it is for an E-3 visa for an Australian citizen. After the LCA is granted, the Australian citizen will then apply for the actual visa at a US consulate and then enter the US. Australians who are already in the United States on another type of temporary/non-immigrant visa may also apply to change their status to an E-3 visa. Change of visa status is not possible if the applicant has entered the country under the visa waiver program.

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F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign nationals qualified to attend a full course of study at colleges, universities, conservatories, or academic high schools in the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals coming to attend a full course at U.S. institutions with language training programs
H-1B Professional Working Visa

The H-1B Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign professionals with specialized knowledge, such as scientists, engineers, programmers, research analysts, management consultants, journalists, accountants, and others with Bachelor’s or equivalent degree
  • Foreign nationals entering the U.S. to offer exceptional services relating to cooperative research and development projects administered by the U.S. department of defense
  • Professional Nurses entering the U.S. to perform complex job duties or supervise nursing operations
  • Distinguished fashion models
  • U.S. companies to bring in qualified foreign professionals for jobs that require a bachelors degree and specialized skills

H-3 Professional Working Visa

H-3 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign nationals to receive training which is not available in their country
  • Foreign nationals as special exchange visitors to receive training in educating children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities
  • Multinational companies to send their foreign employees to the U.S. for on-the-job training
Inadmissibility Waiver

An alien who is ineligible to be admitted to the United States as an immigrant or to adjust status in the United States, and certain nonimmigrant applicants who are inadmissible, must file a form to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.

WHO MAY FILE?

  1. An immigrant visa applicant;
  2. Any applicant for adjustment of status;
  3. A K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant visa applicant;
  4. A K-3, K-4, or V nonimmigrant visa applicant;
  5. A Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applicant;
  6. A Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) applicant;
  7. A Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) applicant;
  8. A Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner who is inadmissible to the United States pursuant to the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) section 212 and who seeks a waiver of the following grounds of inadmissibility:
  • Health-related grounds
  • Certain criminal grounds
  • Immigrant Membership in Totalitarian Party
  • Immigration fraud or misrepresentation except that a waiver under INA section 212(i) is not available, if you are inadmissible based on a false claim to be a U.S. citizen and if you made your false claim on or after September 30, 1996;
  • Smugglers and Being Subject of Civil Penalty
  • The Three-year or Ten-year bar;
  • Certain ground of inadmissibility, if filed by an applicant for TPS;
  • INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(Aliens Previously Removed) and (9)(C)(Unlawfully Present After Previous Immigration Violations), if filed by a NACARA or HRIFA adjustment applicant;
  • INA section 212(a)(9)(C)(Unlawfully Present After Previous Immigration Violations) for a VAWA self-petitioner.

NOTE: Except as provided in Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 204.313(g)(1)(ii) for convention adoption cases, if you seek a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility in connection with your application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status and the waiver is granted, the waiver is valid indefinitely even if you do not obtain your immigrant visa, immigrant admission, or adjustment of status, or if you otherwise lose your legal permanent resident status. If you obtained the waiver in connection with an application for lawful permanent residence on a conditional basis pursuant to section 216 of the Act, the validity of the waiver automatically ceases with the termination of such residence; no separate notification of termination of the waiver is needed, and the termination of the waiver cannot be appealed. However, if the immigration judge determines that you are not removable based on the termination of your conditional resident status, the waiver will become effective again. Also, a waiver granted in relation to a TPS application is only valid for the TPS application

J-1 Academic Trainee Visa

The J-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign medical graduates or physicians to pursue graduate medical education or training at accredited schools of medicine or scientific institutions
  • Foreign students participating in exchange programs to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences
  • Research scholars to teach, conduct research, observe, or consult on research projects
  • Au Pairs to live with an American host family
  • Foreign nationals to pursue business and industrial training programs in the U.S.
  • Professors to teach, lecture, conduct research, or consult at educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar institutions in the U.S.
  • Employees of International Communication agencies
  • Research assistants sponsored by the national institute of health
  • Foreign nationals to serve as counselors in U.S. summer camps
  • Foreign nationals to obtain further academic qualifications or gain practical experience/training in a specific area of knowledge or expertise
  • Foreign nationals who are recognized as potential leaders or experts to engage in observation tours, discussions, consultation, professional meetings, and training
  • U.S. organizations authorized by the Department of State (DOS) to sponsor foreign nationals for training
L-1 International Company Transfer Visa

L-1 visas are for those persons who:

  • have worked outside the United States for one continuous year within the proceeding three years on a full time basis
  • have worked for a “qualifying organization” outside the United States as an executive, manager or in a “specialized knowledge”
  • are being transferred to the United States on to work for a subsidiary, branch or affiliate business in the United States.

L-1A visas are issued for employees working in an executive or managerial capacity whereas L-1B visas are those persons with specialized knowledge.

What is an Executive?

Executives are defined as persons who:

  1. direct the management of an organization or major component or function of an organization;
  2. establish goals and policies of the organization, component or function;
  3. exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
  4. receive only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the directors or
    shareholders of the organization.

What is a manager?

Managers are defined as employees who:

  1. manage an organization or a department, function, or component of such organization;
  2. supervise and control the work of supervisory, professional or other managerial employees;
  3. have the authority to hire and fire those persons supervised. If no other employees are supervised, the manager must function at a senior level in the organization;
  4. exercise discretion over the daily operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.

What is “specialized knowledge”?

Specialized knowledge is defined as:

“Special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.”

Duration of L-1A and L-1B Visas

L-1A visas (managers or executives) are valid for a total period of seven years from the date of issuance. This visa may be extended if one resides in and commutes from Canada or Mexico to the United States for employment.

L-1B visas (specialized knowledge workers) are valid for a total period of five years. Again, if one is a commuter, this period may be extended.

Eligible L-1 Businesses

L-1 visas are available to employees working for companies outside the United States that have BRANCHES, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES OR JOINT VENTURE PARTNERS in the United States.

Each type of business relationship is precisely defined by the INS and legal advice is required to determine whether the business relationship complies with the INS definition

It is also important to note that the foreign business outside the U.S. must continue to operate during the L-1 transfer to the United States. This means that while the foreign worker is in the United States pursuant to the L-1 visa, the business outside the United States must be ongoing. The foreign business outside the United States should therefore retain at least one employee abroad during the duration of the L-1 visa status.

Getting a Green Card from an L-1A

Persons holding or persons who are eligible for a L-1A visa as an Executive or Manager may qualify for an employment based green card. In addition, you also can apply for a green card without having to undergo the rigorous process of Labor Certification which involves proving that
there are no U.S. workers who can fill the position offered by the U.S employer.

L-1 Visas for Canadians

Canadians have the benefit through NAFTA, of applying for L-1 visas at a U.S/Canadian port of entry rather than having to petition to an INS Service Center. This means that the Canadian employee can take all his or her documentation to a U.S. boarder and obtain his visa on the spot!

The L-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign national executives being transferred to the U.S. to manage an organization or a
    major function or division of an organization
  • Foreign national managers being transferred to the U.S. to supervise work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or who manages an essential function, department or subdivision
  • Specialized Knowledge employees of companies outside U.S. that have related U.S.
    branches, subsidiaries, affiliates or joint venture partners
  • Employees and partners of international accounting firms
  • Multinational companies to transfer foreign national executives to manage an organization or a major function or division of an organization in the U.S.
  • Multinational companies to transfer foreign national managers to supervise work of other
    supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or who manages an essential function, department or subdivision in the U.S.
  • Multinational companies to transfer employees with specialized knowledge such as, its
    products, research methods and marketing techniques.
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
The O nonimmigrant classifications are referred to as:

O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)

O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry

O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1

O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. The eligibility standards applicable to artists and entertainers are lower than those pertaining to scientists, educators, business people or athletes.

While extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor, extraordinary ability in the field of arts only means distinction – a far lower standard. Distinction means prominence or a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition “substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.”

The rules define the term “art” to include “any field of creative activity or endeavor such as, but not limited to fine arts, visual arts, culinary arts, and performing arts. Not only the principal creators or performers of art may be included in this definition. Also to be included are other essential persons such as, but not limited to, directors, set designers, lighting designers, stage technicians, sound designers, choreographers, conductors, voice or acting coaches, musical supervisors, costume designers and makeup artists.

Where the field of expertise in the arts is narrowly defined, and the applicant can demonstrate that s/he is renowned in that field at least in his or her own country, the O-1 should be obtainable. On this basis, I have successfully obtained  O-1 visas for many “artists” one would not ordinarily think of as artists.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1A

Evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence

Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought

Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B

Evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements

Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications

Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.

A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications

Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements

A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry). As there are so many different prizes awarded by a variety of artistic publications and organizations in individual countries, receipt of these prizes should be included in the submission.

P-1 Entertainer / Athlete Visa

The P-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams entering the U.S. to participate in an event of international standing
  • Entertainers and entertainment companies recognized internationally as outstanding to tour the U.S. or participate in events
  • Distinguished circus artists who wish to work in the U.S.
  • Support personnel of P-1 and P-2 visa holders
  • U.S. agents and companies to bring athletes, athletic teams and their support personnel to participate in events of international standing
  • U.S. agents and companies to bring in entertainers and entertainment companies recognized internationally as outstanding to tour the U.S. or participate in events
R-1 Religious Visa

The R-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Members of religious group or community having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to work solely as the minister of a religious group or community
  • Nonprofit religious organizations in the U.S. to employ foreign religious workers to work in religious vocations such as liturgical workers, religious instructors or cantors, catechists, missionaries, religious translators, or religious broadcasters.
TN Professional NAFTA Visa

The TN Visa – Canada is Suitable For:

  • Canadian citizens with a bachelors degree and a job offer from a U.S. company
  • Canadian citizens in specialized occupations, such as scientists, engineers, programmers, research assistants, management consultants, social workers, and accountants
  • Canadian medical and allied personnel including dentists, dietitians, laboratory technologists, nutritionist, pharmacist, physical therapist, psychologist, registered nurses and veterinarians
  • Canadian companies to transfer employees to their U.S. parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate without the 1 year foreign employment requirement in the case of L-1 visa
  • U.S. companies to bring in qualified Canadian professionals for jobs that require a bachelors degree and specialized skills
EB-1 Multinational Executives

The EB-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Persons with extraordinary ability
  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Managers and executives in multinational companies
EB-2 Advanced Degree Professionals

The EB-2 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Professionals with advanced degrees
  • Persons with exceptional ability
  • Exceptional professors and researchersPersons with extraordinary ability
EB-3 Skilled Workers

The EB-3 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Professionals with a U.S. bachelor’s or foreign equivalent degree
  • Skilled workers
  • Unskilled workers
EB-4 Special Immigrants

The EB-4 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Religious Workers
  • Former employees of U.S. Government
  • Former employees of the Panama Canal Zone
  • Former employees of U.S. Armed Forces
  • Retired employees of International Organizations
  • Former employees of the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong
  • Employees of International Broadcasting Companies
  • Special agricultural workers
  • Foreign medical graduates
  • Abused spouses and children of U.S. Citizens or Green Card holders 
  • Permanent Residents who departed the U.S. for more than 12 months
  • Foreign children declared dependent in U.S. juvenile
    courts
EB-5 Investment

The EB-5 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign entrepreneurs who invest $500,000 in a commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 5 full-time U.S. jobs.
  • Foreign entrepreneurs who invest $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs
PERM Labour Certification

A permanent labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most instances, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must obtain an approved labor certification request from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are no qualified U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

PERM Labour Certification Qualifying Criteria:

  • Applications filed on or after March 28, 2005, must file using the new PERM process and adhere to the new PERM Regulations.
  • The job opportunity must be for a full time, permanent position.
  • There must be a bona fide job opening available to U.S. workers.
  • Job requirements must adhere to what is customarily required for the occupation in the U.S. and may not be tailored to the foreign worker’s qualifications.
  • The employer must pay at least the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
F-1 Academic or Language Students

The F-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign nationals qualified to attend a full course of study at colleges, universities, conservatories, or academic high schools in the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals coming to attend a full course at U.S. institutions with language training programs
J-1 Waiver

The J-1 Waiver is Suitable For:
Persons subject to two-year foreign residence requirement and want to change their status including:

  • Medical graduates who entered the U.S. on a J-1 visa and wish to remain in the U.S. beyond the authorized time for J status
  • Foreign nationals participating in exchange programs funded by the U.S. government, foreign government or an international organization
  • Foreign nationals in exchange programs for learning skills that are in short supply in foreign national’s home country
  • J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year home residency requirement
  • J-1 visa holders, if complying with foreign residence requirement would impose exceptional hardship upon their spouse or children (if such spouse or child is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident)
  • J-1 visa holders with a no objection certificate from their home country government
  • J-1 visa holders working on projects that are of interest to a U.S. Federal Government agency, and that agency has determined that the J-1 visa holder’s continued stay in the U.S. is vital to its programs
  • J-1 physicians or medical doctors, with a request for waiver from a designated State Department of Health, or its equivalent
J-2 Exchange Visitor

A J-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States for spouses and dependents of J-1 exchange visitors.

The J-2 Visa is suitable for:

  • A person admitted on a J-2 visa is not permitted to take up employment in the United States unless they are granted a work permit.
  • Visitors to the United States on the J-2 visa are permitted to study without having to apply for an F-1 (Student) visa.
  • The J-2 visa expires and becomes invalid at the same time as the corresponding J-1 visa.
M-1 Vocational or Non-Academic Students

The M-1 Visa is Suitable For:

  • Foreign nationals to attend a full course of non-academic study at colleges, universities, or conservatories in the U.S.
  • Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to attend a full vocational course

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