B-1 AND B-2 VISITORS

B-1 visitors are those who enter the U.S. temporarily for business purposes, but not U.S. based employment. Some examples of B-1 activities include attending seminars or meetings, negotiating contracts, representing a foreign employer for future projects with a U.S. business, purchasing property, taking orders for goods manufactured abroad, etc. B-2 visitors enter the U.S. for pleasure, vacation and tourism purposes. B-1 and B-2 entrants are admitted for no more an one year, and may extend their stay in no more than one year increments. Visitors who come on a visa waiver are admitted for 90 days. They cannot extend or change their status to a different nonimmigrant status.

E-1 AND E-2 TREATY TRADERS AND INVESTORS

E-1 entrants are treaty traders (those involved with import or export of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country). They are citizens/nationals of countries that have a treaty with the United States for trading purpoes. The goods or services they trade in must be with the U.S. to the extent of at least 50%. E-2 entrants are treaty investors. These are investors in active businesses. They make a substantial investment that is not marginal (not just to support themselves and their families). E-1 and E-2 entrants are granted their status for one or more years, depending on where they’re from, and their status can be extended for as long as they manage or direct their business.

E-1 AND E-2 TREATY TRADERS AND INVESTORS

E-1 entrants are treaty traders (those involved with import or export of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country). They are citizens/nationals of countries that have a treaty with the United States for trading purpoes. The goods or services they trade in must be with the U.S. to the extent of at least 50%. E-2 entrants are treaty investors. These are investors in active businesses. They make a substantial investment that is not marginal (not just to support themselves and their families). E-1 and E-2 entrants are granted their status for one or more years, depending on where they’re from, and their status can be extended for as long as they manage or direct their business.

H-1 SPECIALTY OCCUPATION WORKERS AND FASHION MODELS

H-1 aliens are mostly specialty occupation workers, which are professionals, many workers in the computer field, and others who will occupy positions that normally require a minimum of a bachlelors degree to perform, as well as holding the degree, or the equivalent in terms of education or experience. Normally, one year of education missing can be substituted with three years of experience. Other H-1 workers include registered nurses and fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. H-1 aliens are admitted for a maximum of three years initially and can have their status extended for an additional three years. In limited circumstances, extensions beyond the total six years may be possible in one year increments.

I INFORMATION MEDIA

Representatives of information media are admitted to the U.S. for the duration of their employment with a particular media outlet. These are employees of foreign press, radio, film or other information medium with its home office in a foreign country.

J-1 EXCHANGE VISITORS

There are various types of exchange visitors. They are scholars, some students, but can also come to receive other training, from business to medical, or participate in programs that have an exchange component like summer camp counselors and au pairs. Some J-1s are required to return to their country of citizenship (or last residence) for two years before switching to some of the other nonimmigrant categories, or all of the immigrant categories. Their status is for the duriation of their program. These entrants are given a special paper when they qualify for the program. They should be sure to have an extra copy of it when they come to the U.S. because when they present their passport and visa, this paper is sometimes taken. It contains valuable informtaion required for future entries or if you want to change to a different status.

K-1 FIANCEES OF US CITIZENS AND THEIR CHILDREN

The K-1 status is given to fiance(s) of U.S. citizens and the K-2 is for children under 18 years of the fiance(e). Employment authorization can also be applied for upon entrty, and the wedding is supposed to take place within 90 days. When entering on a K-1 or K-2, it is not possible to change to another status, and marriage to a different person does not permit adjustment of status to permanent residence. In my opinion, the K-1 will be used more often in the future than it has in the past. It is a timeconsuming and duplicative status, because the process to get it is almost the same as that required of spouses of U.S. citizens. But with stricter scrutiny of the immigration laws in general since 9/11, visitors who marry soon after marriage may be viewed as having committed entry fraud, which would necessitate a waiver. This means that the fiance would be viewed as inadmissible for failing to be honest (since their intention was to marry and not simply visit for a limited time). If this application is required, there is the unlikely possibility that it not be approved, and if not approved no adjustment of status is possible. This would lead to the need to visa process, and a lengthy process abroad through immigrant visa processing, and a waiver there too. To avoid all this, the K-1 would be the least risky choice.

K-3 SPOUSES OF US CITIZENS AND THEIR CHILDREN

The K-3 status is given to spouses of U.S. citizens whose petitioners have already filed immigrant peitions on their behalf. The benefit of the K-3 is that it permits faster processing and quicker reuniting of the family when the processing times for the immigrant petition are backlogged. Upon entry to the U.S., an application for permanent residence is then filed.

L-1 INTRACOMPANY TRANSFERS

The L-1 status is being carefully examined in Congress lately because of abuse of this beautiful status by a small number of petitioners. It is used for managers, executives and those with specialized knowledge of their overseas employer to come to the U.S. quickly to work in a multi-national parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the same employer. It requires that the overseas company remain operational. The employee transferred must work for the employer outside the U.S. for at least one out of the past three years. The beauty of this status is that one the petition only takes 30 days and the manager or executive can apply for permanent residence without the need to go through a lengthy labor certification process first. Specialize knowledge L-1s typically go through the lengthier labor certification first before acquiring permanent residence. The status can be used by new companies, and in that situation the visa is good for one year. Otherwise, the status is good initially for three years. The maximum time a manager or executive may remain in the U.S. in L-1 status is seven years; for specialized knowledge aliens, the maximum is five years. Spouses and children under 21 can come as L-2s and may apply for employment authorization.

O-1 EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY AND ACHIEVEMENT

O-1s are nonimmigrants who are extraordinary in the fields of art, science, education, business, athletics or the motion picutre/television industries. These fields are quite broad in definition. Being extraordinary is not necessarily as difficult as it may sound. The person’s background and the work in the U.S. must require a higher level of stature than a garden variety position though. O-2 status is given to accompanying aliens coing temrporarily to the U.S. to assist in artistic or athletic performance. An agent may act as the petitioner for an O-1 alien, rather than the direct employer. Consultation with an appropriate U.S. peer group, labor or manengement organizaiton is required before approval of O-1 status. Spouses and dependents of O-1 or O-2 aliens are given O-3 status. O-1 extensions may be given in increments of one year each as needed to complete the event or activity pertaining to the status.

P- ARTISTS, ENTERTAINERS, ATHLETES

P-1 nonimmigrants include internationally recognized individual athletes, teams or a member of an internationally recognized entertainment group who come to the U.S. to perform. A P-1 athlete and his essential support staff may enter for one year initially, and can extend their stay for five years, twice for no more than 10 years. All other P visa holders can extend their stay in one year increments. An artist or entertainer coming under a reciprocal exchange program to perform is a P-2. P-3s come to perform, teach or coach as part of a culturally unique program. Essential support staff for all categories may also enter in the same category. Finally, P-4 is given to spouses and children under 21 of P-1s, P-2s or P-3s. All these individuals must maintain a residence abroad. The petition may be filed by the U.S. employer or a U.S. agent who can act on behalf of multiple employers, even foreign employers.. Consultation with an appropriate U.S. labor organization is required before approval.

Q – CULTURAL VISITORS

Q International cultural exchange visitors come to the U.S. temporarily to participate in a prgram approved by the Attorney General which provide practical training, employment and sharing of history, culture and traditions of the country of the alien’s nationality. The entry can be for 15 months. Before coming as a Q, the person must have resided abroad for the year preceeding entry as a Q alien.

R – RELIGIOUS WORKERS

An alien who for at least two years immediately preceding the application for admission has been a member of a religious nonprofit denomination may come to the U.S. to carry on religious worker activities for up to five years total. The initial admission is for up to three years. The kinds of jobs included as R-1s are ministers, professionals or in a religious vocation (for example, nuns, monks, religious brothers or sisters) or occupation (for example liturgical workers, religious instructors, religious counselors, cantors, catechists, workers in religious hospitals or health care facilities, missionaries, religious translators or religious broadcasters). R-2 is reserved for spouses and children under 21. After five years in the U.S. to re-enter as an R, the alien must reside outside the U.S. for one year.

V – SPOUSES AND CHILDREN OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS

For aliens whose petitions by U.S. permanent residents for immigrant status were filed on or before December 21, 2000 and hasn’t yet been able to secure permanent residence within three years, may enter the U.S. or change to V-1 (spouse), V-2 (child under 21) or V-3 (dependent child of spouse or child) status. The status can be used to await approval of the relative petition, the availabililty of the immigrant visa number or permanent residence through adjustment of status in the U.S. or an immigrant visa issued abroad. The period of admission may not exceed two years, and may applly for extensions up to two years. Once a child turns 21, s/he is no longer eligible for V status, so it’s important that the immigrant case be handled as quickly as possible. Under certain circumstances, children who turn 21 during the immigration process can still qualify for permanent residence even though they no longer qualify for V status. V aliens qualify for employment authorization when they make an application for employment. Note that aliens in the U.S. who are in unlawful status berfore getting V status, should not depart the U.S. before securing permanent residence.