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We have many years of experience processing applications for employment visas, immigrant visas, and labor certification. Please call us toll-free at 919-788-9996 to get a lawyer working for you as soon as possible.

Visa Categories for Workers

H-1B Visa for Professionals
The H-1B visa is for professionals working in specialty occupations. This visa is issued for three years, and can be extended for an additional three years. If a permanent residence petition has been filed by the employer and has been pending for more than one year, this visa can even be extended in one year increments beyond the six years. This is a very popular visa for educated workers. Because the U.S. government will only issue a limited number of these visas each year, most employers have their H1B applications ready to file the first week of April, which is when the application period begins. In 2014, all H1B visas were taken within the first week after CIS began accepting applications. The visas do not issue until October. There are exceptions to the quota for universities and non-profit research organizations.

Company Trainee (H3)
This visa is for the person coming to the US seeking training that is not available in the applicant's country.

Intracompany Transferee (L1)
This visa is for specialized knowledge, or executive or managerial level employees at a multinational and has worked for a period of more than one year for the company outside the US. Such employees can be transferred to the US counterpart of their company or a sister concern. This is an excellent visa for any foreign company that wants to open offices in the United States. If you have a business outside the U.S., and would like to move to the U.S. to expand your business, call us about an L1 visa.

TN Professional Visas and E Visas Under NAFTA
The TN visa is for Canadian and Mexican professionals to work in the U.S. The E visas are for treaty traders, investors, intra company transferees and professionals to work in the US.

Agricultural Worker (H2A)
This visa is issued to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers where US agricultural workers are unavailable

Seasonal Worker (H2B)
This visa is only available for work that is temporary in nature. It is one option available to employers of foreign non-professionals. To qualify for this visa, the employer must demonstrate that the foreign national is coming to the U.S. to peform work that is for a peak or seasonal need only. For example, ski resorts that operate only in the winter can use the H2B visa to bring in workers. Once ski season is over, however, the workers must leave the U.S. This visa is for less than one year.

H-1B Specialty Workers

1. What is an H-1B?
An employer seeking to employ a foreign worker temporarily in a specialty occupation uses the H-1B program. Specialty occupations require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Examples include architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, medicine and health, education, and business specialties, etc. H-1B is also used for fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

2. How do I apply for an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa classification requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. The employer must file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor. The application includes declarations including payment of prevailing wages for the position and working conditions offered. The employer must then file a petition with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) and, unless specifically exempted under law, pay filing fees. Based on CIS petition approval, the foreign worker may apply for the H-1B visa, admission or a change of nonimmigrant status.

3. Can an H-1B worker change employers?
Yes, if the H-1B worker has a new petitioning employer. The H-1B employee cannot change employers, however, until the new employer has filed its petition.

4. How long can a foreign worker remain in an H-1B status?
Under current law, a foreign worker may be in H-1B status for a maximum period of six years. Extensions can be granted beyond six years if a permanent residence petition has been approved or if a permanent residence petition has been pending more than one year.

5. Must an H-1B worker be employed full time?
An H-1B worker may work full or part-time and remain in status, depending upon the attestations made on the LCA.

6. Can an H-1B status worker immigrate permanently to the U.S.?
An H-1B foreign worker may be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition, apply for adjustment of status, or take other steps toward lawful permanent residence in the U.S. This is known as "dual intent" as has been recognized in immigration law since passage of the Immigration Act of 1990.

H-2A temporary labor certification (agricultural)

1. What is an H-2A certification?
The H-2A labor certification program establishes a means for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

2. How long is an H-2A valid?
The H-2A certification is valid for up to 364 days. As temporary or seasonal agricultural employment, the work is performed at certain seasons of the year or for a limited time period of less than one year when the employer can show that the need for the foreign worker is truly temporary.

3. What constitutes a temporary need for H-2A temporary labor certification?
The employer's need for a worker must be of a seasonal or other temporary basis. A seasonal basis is the kind exclusively performed at certain seasons or periods of the year and which,from its nature, may be continuous or carried on throughout the year. A temporary basis is for a limited time only or is contemplated for a particular piece of work, usually of a short duration.

4. What is the required time frame for filing an H-2A temporary labor certification application?
Employers are advised to file requests for H-2A certifications at least 45 days before certification is needed. Conversely, SWAs have been instructed to return H-2A certification applications filed more than 120 days before the worker is needed.

5. If the Department of Labor (DOL) denies the application, can I still file with CIS?
Yes. The DOL decision is only an advisory to BCIS in H-2A cerification applications.

H-2B temporary labor certifications (Nonagricultural)

1. What is an H-2B certification?
The H-2B labor certification program establishes a means for U.S. nonagricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers, to bring temporary nonimmigrant foreign workers into the U.S. H-2B eligibility requires that the job and the U.S. employer's need for the foreign worker be of a temporary nature. The need must be for one year or less and can be either a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peakload or intermittent. Temporary employment should not be confused with part-time employment which does not qualify for temporary (or permanent) labor certification.

2. How long is the H-2B labor certification valid?
The H-2B labor certification application shall be valid for the period of employment indicated on the petition; in no event, however, shall the validity period exceed 364 days. The employer may apply for re-certification for an additional two years, but on each new application, the employer must justify the reason for the renewal request. H-2B certification is not transferable from one employer to another. Certificaiton is issued only or a specific job opportunity, for a specific number of workers, and for a specific employment period.

3. What constitutes a temporary need for H-2B temporary labor certification?
The job must be temporary in nature and the need is for one year or less. The employer's need cannot be ongoing or continuous. The employer has the burden of establishing the facts necessary to support a finding that the need is either a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peakload or intermittent need.

4. What is the required time frame for filing an H-2B temporary labor certification application?
Employers are advised to file requests for H-2B certifications no more than 120 days but at least 60 days before certification is needed. State Workforce Agencies (SWA's) have been instructed to return H-2B certification applications filed more than 120 days before the worker is needed.

5. What if my Department of Labor (DOL) application is denied, can I still file with CIS?
Yes. The DOL decision to grant or deny certification is only an advisory to CIS.

D-1 crewmembers certification

1. What is a D-1 crewmember certification?
Performance of longshore work at U.S. ports by D-1 crewmembers on foreign vessels is generally prohibited with few exceptions. One such exception requires an employer to file an attestation stating that it is the prevailing practice for the activity at that port, there is no strike or lockout at the place of employment, and that notice has been given to U.S. workers or their representatives.

2. Are there other exceptions?
Another exception requires that, before using alien crewmen to perform longshore activities in the State of Alaska, the employer will make a bona fide request for and employ U.S. longshore workers who are qualified and available in sufficient numbers from contract stevedoring companies, labor organizations recognized as exclusive bargaining representatives of United States longshore workers, and private dock operators.

Araneda Law Firm, P.C.
  Important notice: This site contains an overview of current immigration law. But laws can and do change rapidly. Every situation is unique and it may not be possible for you to fully understand your options without competent legal assistance. Please call us with confidence; we have the experience to help you at all levels of the immigration process, including deportation or removal proceedings.


Attorney Jorgelina E. Araneda also defends Federal criminal cases in the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina.
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