The window for filing a successful H-1B visa is small. If you do not submit your application for this popular visa on April 1, it is unlikely you are getting an H-1B visa this time around.
For the fiscal year 2021, the government is capping the number of H-1B visas it issues at 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university. Even if you submit on time, so many employers apply that you may not be successful.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to the H-1B visa that may still meet your needs, even though they are not quite as popular. Our New York City immigration law firm regularly assists clients in applying for other employment-based visas. The most popular options are the O and L visas, and EB Green Cards.
The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
Successful applicants include cutting-edge scientists and inventors, expert medical clinicians, distinguished research scholars, top international chefs, award-winning entertainers, and world-class athletes and coaches.
The various subtypes of this visa include:
- 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 the 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
L Visa for Intracompany Transferees
Companies that have branches in other countries may be able to transfer a worker to the United States on an L-1 visa.
- The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company that is located outside the United States.
- The L-1B visa is for intracompany transferees who work in positions that require specialized knowledge.
L-1 visas work well for employers who need the skill or expertise of an employee in another country at one of the company’s offices in the United States.
Employment-Based EB Green Cards
While non-immigrant visas allow immigrants to stay in the United States for a limited period of time, a Green Card recipient is classified as a lawful permanent resident and may stay as long as their status remains in good standing.
U.S. immigration law provides immigrants with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents through employment. These employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories include:
- First preference (EB-1) – priority workers
- Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
- Outstanding professors and researchers; or
- Certain multinational managers and executives.
- Second preference (EB-2) – aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers).
- Third preference (EB-3) – skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
- Fourth preference (EB-4) – special immigrants, including religious workers and juveniles
- Fifth preference (EB-5) – immigrant investors
Our firm has helped many individuals successfully apply for EB Green Cards, including a prominent film director. Because we are located in New York City, the financial capital of the world, and the attorneys at our firm have significant experience in the financial world, we are well equipped to assist with EB-5 visas.
Time Is On Your Side
Unlike with the H-1B visa, there is no specific time period applications for O or L visas, or EB Green Cards must be filed. This flexibility makes them excellent alternatives when an H-1B visa application is denied.
If you or your business needs assistance getting a visa or Green Card for yourself or a valued employee, the experienced immigration team at Heiferman & Associates is ready to help. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.