Visa Types

Nonimmigrant (temporary) Visas – Employment based

H-1B. Professional employment. Requires four-year academic degree and a job requiring that degree. The employer must attest to certain labor conditions, including payment of the prevailing wage.

H-1B1. Requires the same as H-1B but requires no preceding application to the immigration service. Instead the applicant applies directly to a US consulate abroad. Currently only Chile and Singapore have these visas pursuant to Free Trade agreements with the U.S.

E-1 or 2.  Treaty trader or investor. Limited to citizens of countries having qualifying treaty with the U.S. and is based on very specific requirements concerning the trade or investment.

E-3. Specialty visa for Australian citizens.  Functions like the H-1B1 Free Trade visa.

L-1A. Executive or managerial employment.  Requires transfer from an affiliated corporate entity abroad after one year in a similar position. Particularly advantageous because similar to an EB-1 immigration category. L-2 spouses can apply for derivative work authorization.

L-1B. Specialized knowledge corporate transfer.

TN. Requires Canadian citizenship, employment in a listed category under the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] and corresponding occupational credential.

There is also a B-1 visa for business activities not constituting “employment”

Immigrant (aka “green” card) Visas – Employment based

EB-1A. Persons of Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

EB-1B. Outstanding Professors or Researchers

EB-1C. International Executives or Managers

EB-2.   Persons of Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, business or athletics or possessing an advanced degree. If the person’s immigration is also in the “National Interest” then this category is exempt from “labor certification”.

EB-3.   Professional or Skilled worker.  Requires a preceding test of the labor market known as “labor certification”.

There are also Family-Based Immigrant visas, a “Green Card” lottery known as the Diversity Visa Program, and other nonimmigrant visas such as those for students and exchange visitors. See:

The Immigration Service website at uscis.gov

The Department of State website at travel.state.gov

The American Immigration Lawyers Association [AILA] website at aila.org