Law Office of Jennifer Lin Lieu Home Green Card Work Visas FAQ About Us
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506 N. Garfield Avenue, Alhambra, CA 91801
Phone: 626-576-5016
Work Visas
E1/E2 visa

The E-1 classification is designed for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the alien’s country of nationality. The trade involved must be international exchange (successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties) of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.

The E-2 classification is designed for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.

E1/E2 Visa Period of Stay

E2/E2 visas are granted for two year periods and are renewable.

E1/E2 Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children of E1/E2 workers may receive E1/E2 status.  Spouse of E1/E2 visa holders may obtain work authorization in the United States.  Children are not employment authorized but they can attend school without changing status.

H1B visa

The H-1B visa category is available for individuals employed in the United States in a "specialty occupation." A specialty occupation requires a bachelor's or higher degree in a specialized field of knowledge as a minimum for entry into the occupation.  The foreign national must have the required degree, or its equivalent, in a subject closely related to the position Specialty occupations include accounting, engineering, law, architecture, scientific research and many other types of jobs.

H1B Period of Stay

The H-1B visa is valid for three years and may be extended to a total of six years. The H-1B status may be extended beyond 6-year limitation in the following two circumstances:
  • If a person has filed a labor certification application or an achievement-based I-140 immigrant petition 365 days before the expiration of the six-year limitation, the H-1B visa status may be extended beyond six years in one-year increments until the employment-based permanent residency petition is approved or denied.
  • If a person has an employment-based I-140 petition approved, but per-country visa quotas prevent the person from obtaining his or her green card at this time, the H-1B status may be extended for a three-year period. To obtain this 3-year extension, you do not have to have filed your labor certification or achievement-based I-140 petition 365 days before the expiration of your 6-year H-1B limitation.

H1B Family Members

A spouse or unmarried child of a person with H-1B visa status may obtain an H-4 visa. Individuals with H-4 visa status cannot work in the United States, but may attend school.

H1B Visa Terminations and Layoffs

If an H-1B worker is terminated or laid off before the end of the visa term, the employer may have to pay the cost of transporting the employee to his country of origin.

H-1B workers who lose their jobs must either find another employer to petition on their behalf, change to a different immigration status or return to their home country.

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L1A/L1B visa

L-1 work visas are authorized for people transferring from a company abroad to work in the United States for a related company. L visas are usually used for multinational companies.  This L category requires that the employee holds an executive or managerial position (L1A), or has specialized knowledge (L1B) about company products or processes.

To qualify for an L-1 visa, you must have been employed in a foreign country for at least one year of the last three for a company related to the employer in the United States. Any time spent working in the United States will not count toward the one year of required employment.
In addition, the foreign firm and the U.S. firm must have a “qualifying relationship.” The foreign company may be a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the prospective U.S. employer. The U.S. and the foreign firm must have common majority ownership or common control by the same persons or entities. The employer may include corporations, non-profits, religious or charitable organizations.

Furthermore, you must be coming to work as an executive, manager, or employee with “specialized knowledge.” An “executive” directs the management of the company or a major part or function of the organization, such as a vice-president or controller. A “manager” directs the organization or a department, or supervises a core function of the organization. Specialized knowledge refers to employees with particular knowledge of the company's products and their applications in world markets, or proprietary knowledge of the company's processes or procedures.

Finally, you must intend to depart the United States when your stay is over. However, you may pursue permanent residency while holding an L-1 visa without negatively affecting your status.  In other words, the doctrine of dual intent applies to L-1 visas, just as for H-1B visas.
Unlike the H-1B visa, employers are not required to show that the employee meets the “prevailing wage” of similarly employed U.S. workers. Income in the United States must only be sufficient to prevent the employee from requiring public assistance.

L1 Visa Period of Stay

L-1 visas are granted for up to three year periods and are renewable. Executives and managers are granted L-1A status, and may remain in the United States for up to seven years.  Employees with specialized knowledge are given L-1B visas, and may stay in the U.S. for up to five years.

L1 Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children of L-1 workers may receive L-2 status.  Spouse of L1 visa holders’ may obtain work authorization in the United States.

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