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There are various non-immigrant workers programs for those individuals with professional degrees or equivalent.
The H-1B classification applies to employers seeking to hire foreign nationals as professional workers in specialty occupation. A “specialty occupation” is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent through experience. This program helps employers to obtain needed business skills and abilities by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.
The H-1B1 classification allows employers to temporarily employ Chilean and Singaporean professional workers in a “specialty occupation” as well.
The H-1B2 classification for researcher and development project workers authorizes temporarily these individuals of exceptional merit and ability to perform services of cooperative research and development project relating to a Department of Defense (DOD).
The E-3 classification allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers from Australia in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant basis in a specialty occupation.
The TN classification permits employers to bring qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
The H-1B3 classification allows foreign workers to come temporarily to the U.S. to work as fashion models. The visa petition must be filed by a U.S. employer or agent. Evidence must establish that the model is of national or international acclaim, and will perform in events of a distinguished reputation. Unlike other classifications fashion models are not required to have a bachelor’s degree.
The H-3 classification allows employers to file for foreign nationals coming temporarily to the United States as either a: trainee in order to receive training in any field of endeavor (other than graduate medical education or training) that is not available in the foreign national’s home country; or special education exchange visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
The I classification allows Representatives of Foreign Media (reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations) authorizes workers representing a foreign information media enterprise (such as press, radio, film, or other) coming to the United States to engage solely in this profession.
Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 classification is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
Extraordinary ability in the field of motion picture or television industry means extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.
The O-2 classification is for those individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist an “integral part” or “essential” to the completion of the production in a specific event or performance.
The P-1A classification applies to individuals that are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic event, competition or performance as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. Must demonstrate evidence by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country. The event in which the team will participate must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition.
Recognized Entertainment Group
The P-1B classification applies to individuals that are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. At least 75 percent of the members of the group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year, and must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production, is essential. Please note that individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.
Special Provisions for Certain Entertainment Groups
Alien circus performers and essential circus personnel are exempt the one year requirement and the internationally recognized requirement. The alien or aliens must be coming to join a nationally recognized circus. Certain nationally known entertainment groups may have the internationally recognized requirement waived if they can establish they have been recognized nationally as outstanding in its discipline for a sustained amount of time in consideration of special circumstances.
Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
The P-2 classification applies to those who are coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country.
The individual must be an artist entering the United States through a government recognized reciprocal exchange program, and must possess skills comparable to those of the United States artists and entertainers taking part in the program outside the United States.
Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
The P-3 classification applies to individuals that are coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique. These individuals must be coming to the United States either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. In addition, participating in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of the art form. The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers
The R-1 classification is for a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States, a religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption, or a non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States. These religious workers are dedicated to religious practices and functions as distinguished from secular members of the religion, and must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition.
Exchange Visitor programs in the United States
There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons who want to participate in Exchange Visitor programs in the United States.
The J classification is for individuals who wants to participate in educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. This is for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.
The Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science. Examples of exchange visitors, professors or scholars, research assistants, students, trainees, teachers, specialists, nannies/Au pairs, camp counselors, etc.
The Q classification is for individuals that are seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS. This is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States.
Conrad 30 Waiver Program
The Conrad 30 Waiver program allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver for the 2-year residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program. The program addresses the shortage of qualified doctors in medically underserved areas. The J-1 medical doctor must agree to be employed full-time in H-1B nonimmigrant status at a health care facility located in an area designated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or Medically Underserved Population (MUP); obtain a contract from the health care facility located in an area designated by HHS as a HPSA, MUA, or MUP; obtain a “no objection” letter from his or her home country if the home government funded his or her exchange program; and agree to begin employment at the health care facility within 90 days of receipt of the waiver, not the date his or her J-1 visa expires. There are specific rules from each State’s public health department.
The E-1 classification allows a “national” of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade with the United States. Certain “national” employees may also be eligible for this classification.
The E-2 classification allows a “national” of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. There is a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
Intra-company Transferee Executive or Manager
The L-1A classification authorizes a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliate or subsidiary foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also allows a foreign company (which does not yet have an affiliate or subsidiary U.S. company) to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing new office. The company abroad must be doing business for at least one year, and the employee to be transferred, must have been working with the company abroad, in executive or managerial capacity, for at least one year within the last three years.
Intra-company Transferee Specialized Knowledge
The L-1B classification authorizes a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with “specialized knowledge” relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also authorizes a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one. The company abroad must be doing business for at least one year, and the employee to be transferred, must have been working with the company abroad, for at least one year within the last three years.
Temporary Business Visitor
The B-1 classification is for individuals to be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to: consulting with business associates, traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates, settling an estate, negotiating a contract, participating in short-term training, transiting through the United States: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa. The person will remain in the United States for a specific limited period of time; will have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip while staying in the United States; and will not have the intention of abandoning his domicile which means to continue residing outside the United States.
Students and Employment
There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States.
F-1 Student Visa
The F-1 classification (Academic Student) allows individuals to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. The person must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and the school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students. The authorized period of stay will be for the duration of the program. The person or sponsor must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study, and maintain a residence abroad with no intention of giving up.
M-1 Student Visa
The M-1 classification (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs.
The F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. There are various programs available for F-1 students to seek off-campus employment, after the first academic year. The F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion), and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
The M-1 students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies.
For both F-1 and M-1 students any off-campus employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to starting any work by the Designated School Official (the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) and USCIS.