Aside from general paths to work and do business in the U. S., there are special types of visas available to citizens of certain countries. Before going down a general path, check if you qualify for these, as they may be easier to qualify for and obtain than other general work visas.
All of these are temporary non-immigrant visas and require sponsorship from a U. S. employer and a DOL labor certification. A prevailing wage must be paid to holders of H-1B1 and E-3 visas.
Chile and Singapore: H-1B1
H-1B1 The H-1B1 program allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers from Chile and Singapore in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant basis in specialty occupations. The number of visas available annually is limited to 1,400 nationals of Chile and 5,400 nationals of Singapore. Unlike the H-1B visa (link), there is no lottery involved, since the demand is usually lower than the number of visas available. The H-1B1 status lasts for one year at a time but can be renewed indefinitely.
The E-3 program allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers from Australia in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant basis in specialty occupations. Current laws limit the annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued an E-3 visa to 10,500 Australian nationals. Initially, the E-3 visa is granted for up to two years, which can be renewed indefinitely.
Unlike the spouses of H-1B visa holders, spouses of E-3 visa holders can apply for employment authorization and work in the U. S.
Canada and Mexico: TN
The TN visa is available to citizens of Canada and Mexico. The TN status lasts for three years but may be renewed indefinitely. This visa is only available for temporary, qualifying NAFTA professions.
Canadian citizens do not need to apply for the visa at a U. S. consulate. They only need to present the following documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer upon entry:
- Proof of Canadian citizenship
- Letter from the prospective employer detailing the professional capacity, the purpose of employment, the length of stay, and educational qualifications
- Credentials evaluation (if applicable)
Alternatively, a prospective TN employer may choose to file on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is outside the United States by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS.
Mexican citizens should apply for a TN visa directly at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.
Citizens of certain countries are eligible for special temporary employment visas which may have advantages compared to other generally-available visas. Depending on your further plans, they may or may not be a good fit for you. Feel free to consult with us to develop an immigration strategy that works for you and your employees.