O-1 (Creative Fields and General)

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To qualify for an O-1 visa, you must demonstrate that you possess extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, athletics, or the motion picture or  television industry. You must show that you have achieved sustained or international acclaim. You must be coming to the United States to perform temporary services for a U.S. employer relating to an event or  events.

Extraordinary ability means that  you have achieved a high level of  expertise such that you are one of  a small percentage at the top of  your field. Artists and entertainers  must show a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that  normally encountered, and is prominent, renowned, leading or well-known in  their artistic field.  The O-1 visa is available to foreign  nationals engaged in most creative fields, such as, but  not limited to, photography, culinary arts, hair and  make-up arts, and design.       

O-1 visa holders must be entering the United  States to perform temporary services for an American employer or an agent of an international employer. You must be entering the United States to  participate in a specific event or events which require your expertise. The O-1 visa petition requires specific evidence of your qualifications and international recognition of your extraordinary ability. You may prove your ability in the field by showing that you have received an internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize.

Oscar-Statue-blackwhiteYou can also document at least three of  the following:      

  • Internationally or nationally recognized prizes or  awards;      
  • Published material about your work;
  • Membership in an association that requires  members to have outstanding achievement;     
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related  contributions of major significance in the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles published in any  type of major media or professional journals; 
  • High salary or any other type of compensation; 
  • Participation on a panel, or as a judge for other people’s works; 
  • Evidence of past employment for organizations or establishments that have a high reputation.

If the above standards do not readily apply to the alien’s occupation, you may submit comparable evidence in order to establish your eligibility. Please Call for more information

Green Card or Immigrant Visa

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The most common routes to obtain a Green Card (also known as an immigrant visa) are through family based petitions and through employment based petitions. A family petition requires the foreign national to be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident family member. This family member is limited to spouses, children, parents and brother/sister. Depending on the specific circumstances, these petitions can take a few months, to several years to complete. Please inquire as to the particulars of your case.

An employment based petition usually requires a work sponsor and labor certification (PERM). Some professionals who have achieved a high level in their field or whose expertise would benefit the United States might me eligible to avoid labor certification though an “extraordinary ability” application or a “national interest waiver.” If labor certification is the alternative, the foreign national would need a work sponsor. The foreign national would also need to prove that there are no suitable U.S. citizen or permanent resident workers that are willing to fill the position. This is an involved recruitment process that must be carefully monitored. Once the labor certification is approved, the immigrant must wait for their priority date to become current to file for the Green Card. Often times, this is difficult because the immigrant must maintain status while the priority date is pending. The most suitable candidates for labor certifications are often H1-B and L visa holders because of this reason. Please inquire as to potential options for each of these routes.

L1 A Visa for Executives and Managers

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Foreign nationals who, in the three years preceding the filing of petitions for this classification, have been continuously employed for at least one year by a firm, corporation or other legal entity or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof, and who seek to enter the U.S. to continue to render services to the same employer in a capacity that is managerial or executive may seek classification as a Multinational Executive or Manager.

Individuals seeking classification as a “manager” must meet four criteria set forth by USCIS:

  • manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function or component of the organization;
  • supervise and control the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees or manage an essential function within the organization, or a department or a subdivision of the organization;
  • have authority to hire and fire or recommend those as well as other personnel actions, or is no personnel are supervised, function at a senior level in the organizational hierarchy with respect to the function managed and;
  • exercise discretion over the day to day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.

Individuals seeking classification as an “executive” must also meet four criteria set forth by USCIS:

  • alien must have an assignment within the company wher he/she primarily directs the management of the organization or a component or function;
  • alien must establish the goals and policies of the organization, component or function;
  • alien must exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision making and the alien must receive only general supervision from higher level executives, the Board of Directors or stockholders.

L- 1A visa holders may file a petition with the USCIS to request immigrant status (or permanent resident status) in the United States. There is no labor certification requirement for this special category. Upon approval of the immigrant visa petition, the individual, his/her spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for their immigrant visas either through adjustment of status in the United States or through consular processing at a U.S. Consulate outside of the United States.