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Immigration Law FAQs

Our office handles non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas. Below, are some of the most common issues regarding both. Please note that, the questions and answers herein are strictly informational and do not create an attorney client relationship. They are general questions and answers that do not apply in every case. For that reason, you should consult with an attorney before making any immigration decision

If I file for my work visa in the U.S. and I want to leave, what happens?
Assuming that you filed for a change of status and it was approved, then when you depart the U.S., you will need to go to a U.S. consulate and have the visa stamped in your passport before re-entering the U.S.
I am currently outside the U.S. and would like to apply for a work visa. Can I?
Yes, most work visas require USCIS approval prior to their issuance (the E visa can be issued without such at the U.S. consulate). Thus, you may apply for a work visa from outside the U.S. with consular notification. Once approved, you will make your appointment in the U.S. consulate for your visa interview.
How long does residency take?
Unfortunately, it all depends. There are several factors that influence the timeframe such as whether there are immigrant visas available for your classification, whether you have to file a labor certification, and whether there are any background issues.
Can I apply for my residency in the U.S. while on a work visa?
Yes. If you are on a work visa, then you can apply. Of course, you must always maintain a lawful non-immigrant status in the U.S. so that your adjustment of status application may be approved.
Can I apply for my residency while outside the U.S.?
Yes, you may remain outside the U.S. and apply for your residency. You will have an interview at the consulate and receive your residency if approved.
Can my children study?
Your children may study if on a dependent visa of a work visa (described above) or a student visa. They cannot study on a tourist visa.
What are the most common work visas?
  • E Visa:
    The E visa is utilized for nationals of a country (which is the same as the investing company/individual) that has a treaty with the U.S. involving trade and/or investment. There are two types E-1 and E-2. For both E-1 and E-2, the country must have a treaty with the U.S. The investing company/individual and the national coming to the U.S. must both be from the same country, unless, of course, it is a foreigner personally doing the investment. Then, the foreigner would qualify for E status as possibly the Principal Investor. Nonetheless, other employees could utilize the E visa as well. The distinction between the visas depends on whether the U.S. Company will be doing trade or investment. If the U.S. Company will be doing trade (E-1), then it must be substantial and principally between the U.S. and the home country. If the U.S. Company will be investing (E-2) in the U.S. to provide goods or services in the U.S., then the investment must be active, substantial, and create jobs.
  • H1B visa:
    The H-1B is for a person in a specialty occupation. This means that the person has at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. The USCIS allows a person to use three (3) years experience for one (1) year of college, satisfying the bachelor's degree requirement with twelve (12) years of experience. It is important to note that there is a limit on the amount of visas issued each year, and they are normally all used up by April each year.
  • L-1 Visa:
    There are two L-1 visas — L-1A and L-1B visas. To qualify for an L1A, you must have worked for at least one (1) year of the last three (3) years for a foreign company (the “Foreign Company”) as a manager or executive and be coming to the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive capacity. There is also the possibility of an L1B for an employee with specialized knowledge (though this can be challenging as a result of the most recent USCIS cases for this visa). The Foreign Company must have a relationship with the US Company. This relationship can be that of parent/subsidiary, sister, or affiliate. The rules can become somewhat complex, but as long as the Foreign Company owns at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the US Company, there should be no problem. There are other structures that can work but must be analyzed and discussed more fully. There is also the possibility of an L1B for an employee with specialized knowledge (though this can be challenging as a result of the most recent USCIS cases for this visa).
  • O-1 Visa:
    The O-1 visa is for a person with extraordinary ability in his/her field of endeavor such a business, athletics, or the arts. While a demanding standard, these are obtained with frequency and should you believe that you may qualify the option should be explored.
I am in the U.S. and would like to apply for a work visa. Can I?
Yes, you can apply for a change of status (provided you are lawfully in the U.S. and did not enter on a visa waiver). Once approved, you may work in the U.S. for the employer that sponsored your work visa.
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