Temporary Visas (Visitor Visas B-1/B-2)

The following is a list of the significant temporary visas with the basic requirements and features of each.

1) Visitor for Business or Pleasure (B-1/ B-2)
A visa can be obtained at a U.S. Consulate abroad for the purpose of visiting the United States for pleasure (i.e. Travel, visit relatives, and other tourist related matters) or for business. Entry for business under this category does not allow the applicant to work or go to school, however, it would allow for the following common activities as well as numerous others; attending professional or business conventions, meeting with executives of a parent, branch or subsidiary company, making sales calls for foreign manufactured goods upon potential U.S. buyers (industrial and commercial sales only), exploratory visits to seek investment opportunities etc. Whether a business visitor qualifies for B-1 status or requires another type of visa requires a careful assessment by a person familiar with the law. A carefully drafted application can, in certain circumstances, facilitate the issuance of a B-1 business visa as opposed to another more costly and difficult to obtain work authorization. The duration of these visas is usually six(6) months from the date of entry unless otherwise specified.
EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS (U.S.)
There are numerous work visas pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act. A list of the most common visas have been described below.
Applicants are encouraged to complete a questionnaire in order to determine their eligibility for a work permit. (See the following text):
1) Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors (E-1/E-2)
Persons who are nationals of countries that have entered into a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States may be able to obtain a temporary visa to the United States which can be renewed indefinitely. The applicant can only work for his own business (or the business of another national of that country). The applicant must be coming to the United States to act in an executive or supervising capacity.
Treaty investors must make a substantial investment in an enterprise in the United States and must be coming to supervise and direct the enterprise. Substantial investment is not defined by usually an investment of $250,000 will be sufficient.
Treaty Traders must show substantial existing trade between the U.S. and the foreign company. Once substantial trade is established, employees acting in an executive or supervisory role would qualify.
Nations which have treaties of trade and commerce with the United States are:
1. Treaties applicable to treaty traders only
Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brunei, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany (FRG), Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
 
2. Treaties applicable to treaty investors only:
Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Cameroon, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, (FRG) , Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Luxemborg, The Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Zaire.
 
2) Specialized Workers (H-1)
Member of certain specialty occupations may qualify for this visa. This category encompasses persons with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) or equivalent experience in occupations requiring theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge. This category encompasses nurses, engineers, chemists, certain MBA’s and numerous other professionals holding university degrees. This visa is granted initially for a three year period and can be renewed for a maximum of six years. This visa requires a U.S. employer to petition the applicant. As in the L-1 situation the spouse and minor children can join the principal applicant however they cannot work. There are numerical limitations on the number of visas which may be issued each year. These limitations may cause lengthy delays in receiving approval. Currently there are no delays as the quotas have not been filed.
3) Trainee Visa (H-3)
Non-immigrants coming to the United States to receive on the job training, when combined with class room instructions, can obtain a work visa for up to three years. The employment should be geared toward training and not gainful employment. There are numerous factors which are weighed by the Consulate in making this determination. A carefully drafted proposal is essential to the success of an application in this category.
4) Intra Company Transferee Visa (L-1)
A foreign entity (i.e. corporation, joint venture, partnership, etc.) can transfer it’s executives , managers and employees with specialized knowledge to the United States to continue work for a branch, parent, subsidiary or affiliate. http://www.simonebertollini1.com/Immigration/Visas/L1-Visa.aspx
To qualify the following criteria must be met:  – a foreign employer carrying on business for at least one year prior to the application – a U.S. entity or office; – an employee who has been employed for one year outside of the United States by the foreign employer within the three years immediately preceding the application in one of the three above mentioned capacities.
If there is no existing U.S. entity, managers and executives can be transferred to the U.S. for an initial one year period to commence operations. To qualify for a transfer to a new office, the regulations require the lease or purchase of suitable premises, and evidence of sufficient funding to open the U.S. office. http://www.l1visa.me

The availability of this type of visa is not limited to employees of large multinational corporations and in fact the benefits are available to employees of small corporations with only a few employees. This type of visa is an excellent avenue by which potential immigrants can commence U.S. business and assess the desirability of immigrating in the future. This type of visa is usually obtainable in a few months and it requires minimal cash investment. The spouse and minor children cannot work, however, children may attend school. This visa can be renewed for a total of up to seven (7) years for executives and managers, and five (5) years for employees with specialized knowledge.
STUDENTS
Student Visas – All applicants who intend to study in the United States require an F-1 or M-1 Student Visa. Dependents may obtain an F-2 or M-2 status to accompany the principal applicant to the U.S.
STUDENT VISAS (F-1/M-1)
Persons attending U.S. schools require a student visa (F-1 for academic, M-1 for trade or technical). The potential student must have an approval from the U.S. school  (I-20). Only schools accredited by the Immigration and Naturalization Service can issue I-20’s. Potential students must satisfy the Consulate that they have sufficient funding to pay tuition and sustain themselves while in the U.S. Under the Act of 1990, students after one year of school, may obtain work authorization to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week. These visas are usually issued for the duration of the studies.
Employment Authorization (Students)
Students who secure employment on campus are legally permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. Off-campus employment is permitted but it is subject to certain restrictions. Practical Training Visas are obtained for a one year period immediately after the completion of the college or university program. Students are recommended to obtain an assessment for other employment visas that may be available immediately upon graduation from the program.