Trying to obtain a work visa or green card through work?
While there are many options for working in the United States, immigration laws are complex. Furthermore, policies are constantly changing, sometimes closing doors and other times opening them for immigrant workers. That is why it is important to consult with an immigration attorney who is knowledgeable of current laws and regulations. At Compass Immigration P.A., our goal is to give you clear and honest advice of your chances for obtaining a U.S. work visa or employment-based green card.
Employment-based immigration can be for temporary visas and non-temporary visa. It is important to understand that many employment visas do not lead to permanent resident status (a green card). Depending on the type of employment opportunity and your qualifications, you may be eligible for different employment immigration options.
The process is more complicated than many might expect. In order to come to the United States and work, you must be sponsored by a qualified employer or you must invest in or open your own business.
Temporary Worker Visas
Temporary worker visas through sponsored employment immigration do not grant permanent residence (like a “green card”), but they can be a path to it. Some work visas allow your employer to eventually sponsor you for permanent residence while others just allow you to remain in the United States legally for a set amount of time. With a temporary work visa, you can also open your own business and be your own boss while having your company serve as your sponsor for employment immigration. Temporary work visas offer real opportunities to take part in the American Dream.
Permanent Worker Visa
Permanent worker visas allow you to live and work in the United States permanently, and your employer can apply for permanent residence status on your behalf. A wide range of individuals working in the United States may be eligible for permanent residency sponsorship through employment immigration. These individuals include those hired by U.S. employers or those already working in their home country and who are relocating to the United States for their company. Some examples of these documents include H-1B and L visas.
Interested in starting your own business? Or even investing in a US business?
Investing in the United States is a great way to live here. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need half a million dollars to start your own business or get a visa. Of course, there are serious monetary requirements to the EB-5 visa, which requires five hundred thousand to a million dollars depending on what region they’re in. However, an E-2 visa is much more accessible for investors or people interested in owning smaller businesses.
The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (see the list below) to be admitted to the United States when investing in or creating a US business.
In order to apply for an E-2 visa, you must be coming to the United States to:
- develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.
An enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:
- Relationship between the organizations is established
- Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills
- Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.
Contrary to an E-5 Visa, you don’t need half a million dollars to start your own business. We have assisted foreign nationals and entrepreneurs in setting up small-business investments for as little as $15,000 using the E-2 visa.
Additionally, certain family members of the investor and of the employee’s (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) may be eligible for an employment visa.
Perhaps you import or produce goods in your home country and want to sell them in the United States? The E-1 visa allows citizens of countries that have treaties with the U.S. (see the list below) to be admitted to the U.S. to participate in international trade.
The individual must engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country. This means, the individual’s principal trade (more than 50%) must be between the U.S. and the country that qualified the individual for the visa.
Qualifying trades include technology, transportation, goods, services, tourism, news-gathering, international banking, and insurance. To be considered substantial, the trade must be continuous for the duration of the visa, although there is no minimum amount or monetary value required.
Those who are granted an E-1 visa may petition for their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to be admitted to the U.S. as well.
List of Treaty Countries for E-2 or E-1 Visas
|Albania||E-2||January 4, 1998|
|Argentina||E-1||October 20, 1994|
|Argentina||E-2||October 20, 1994|
|Armenia||E-2||March 29, 1996|
|Australia||E-1||December 16, 1991|
|Australia||E-2||December 27, 1991|
|Austria||E-1||May 27, 1931|
|Austria||E-2||May 27, 1931|
|Azerbaijan||E-2||August 2, 2001|
|Bahrain||E-2||May 30, 2001|
|Bangladesh||E-2||July 25, 1989|
|Belgium||E-1||October 3, 1963|
|Belgium||E-2||October 3, 1963|
|Bolivia||E-1||November 09, 1862|
|Bolivia||E-2||June 6, 2001|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Brunei||E-1||July 11, 1853|
|Bulgaria||E-2||June 2, 1994|
|Cameroon||E-2||April 6, 1989|
|Canada||E-1||January 1, 1993|
|Canada||E-2||January 1, 1993|
|Chile||E-1||January 1, 2004|
|Chile||E-2||January 1, 2004|
|China (Taiwan) 1||E-1||November 30, 1948|
|China (Taiwan) 1||E-2||November 30, 1948|
|Colombia||E-1||June 10, 1848|
|Colombia||E-2||June 10, 1848|
|Congo (Brazzaville)||E-2||August 13, 1994|
|Congo (Kinshasa)||E-2||July 28, 1989|
|Costa Rica||E-1||May 26, 1852|
|Costa Rica||E-2||May 26, 1852|
|Croatia 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Croatia 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Czech Republic 2||E-2||January 1, 1993|
|Denmark 3||E-1||July 30, 1961|
|Denmark||E-2||December 10, 2008|
|Ecuador||E-2||May 11, 1997|
|Egypt||E-2||June 27, 1992|
|Estonia||E-1||May 22, 1926|
|Estonia||E-2||February 16, 1997|
|Ethiopia||E-1||October 8, 1953|
|Ethiopia||E-2||October 8, 1953|
|Finland||E-1||August 10, 1934|
|Finland||E-2||December 1, 1992|
|France 4||E-1||December 21, 1960|
|France 4||E-2||December 21, 1960|
|Georgia||E-2||August 17, 1997|
|Germany||E-1||July 14, 1956|
|Germany||E-2||July 14, 1956|
|Greece||E-1||October 13, 1954|
|Grenada||E-2||March 3, 1989|
|Honduras||E-1||July 19, 1928|
|Honduras||E-2||July 19, 1928|
|Iran||E-1||June 16, 1957|
|Iran||E-2||June 16, 1957|
|Ireland||E-1||September 14, 1950|
|Ireland||E-2||November 18, 1992|
|Israel||E-1||April 3, 1954|
|Italy||E-1||July 26, 1949|
|Italy||E-2||July 26, 1949|
|Jamaica||E-2||March 7, 1997|
|Japan 5||E-1||October 30, 1953|
|Japan 5||E-2||October 30, 1953|
|Jordan||E-1||December 17, 2001|
|Jordan||E-2||December 17, 2001|
|Kazakhstan||E-2||January 12, 1994|
|Korea (South)||E-1||November 7, 1957|
|Korea (South)||E-2||November 7, 1957|
|Kosovo 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Kosovo 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Kyrgyzstan||E-2||January 12, 1994|
|Latvia||E-1||July 25, 1928|
|Latvia||E-2||December 26, 1996|
|Liberia||E-1||November 21, 1939|
|Liberia||E-2||November 21, 1939|
|Lithuania||E-2||November 22, 2001|
|Luxembourg||E-1||March 28, 1963|
|Luxembourg||E-2||March 28, 1963|
|Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Mexico||E-1||January 1, 1994|
|Mexico||E-2||January 1, 1994|
|Moldova||E-2||November 25, 1994|
|Mongolia||E-2||January 1, 1997|
|Montenegro 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Montenegro 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Morocco||E-2||May 29, 1991|
|Netherlands 6||E-1||December 5, 1957|
|Netherlands 6||E-2||December 5, 1957|
|Norway 7||E-1||January 18, 1928|
|Norway 7||E-2||January 18, 1928|
|Oman||E-1||June 11, 1960|
|Oman||E-2||June 11, 1960|
|Pakistan||E-1||February 12, 1961|
|Pakistan||E-2||February 12, 1961|
|Panama||E-2||May 30, 1991|
|Paraguay||E-1||March 07, 1860|
|Paraguay||E-2||March 07, 1860|
|Philippines||E-1||September 6, 1955|
|Philippines||E-2||September 6, 1955|
|Poland||E-1||August 6, 1994|
|Poland||E-2||August 6, 1994|
|România||E-2||January 15, 1994|
|Serbia 11||E-1||November 15,1882|
|Serbia 11||E-2||November 15,1882|
|Senegal||E-2||October 25, 1990|
|Singapore||E-1||January 1, 2004|
|Singapore||E-2||January 1, 2004|
|Slovak Republic 2||E-2||January 1, 1993|
|Slovenia 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Slovenia 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
|Spain 8||E-1||April 14, 1903|
|Spain 8||E-2||April 14, 1903|
|Sri Lanka||E-2||May 1, 1993|
|Suriname 9||E-1||February 10, 1963|
|Suriname 9||E-2||February 10, 1963|
|Sweden||E-1||February 20, 1992|
|Sweden||E-2||February 20, 1992|
|Switzerland||E-1||November 08, 1855|
|Switzerland||E-2||November 08, 1855|
|Thailand||E-1||June 8, 1968|
|Thailand||E-2||June 8, 1968|
|Togo||E-1||February 5, 1967|
|Togo||E-2||February 5, 1967|
|Trinidad & Tobago||E-2||December 26, 1996|
|Tunisia||E-2||February 7, 1993|
|Turkey||E-1||February 15, 1933|
|Turkey||E-2||May 18, 1990|
|Ukraine||E-2||November 16, 1996|
|United Kingdom 10||E-1||July 03, 1815|
|United Kingdom 10||E-2||July 03, 1815|
|Yugoslavia 11||E-1||November 15, 1882|
|Yugoslavia 11||E-2||November 15, 1882|
Country Specific Footnotes:
- China (Taiwan) – Pursuant to Section 6 of the Taiwan Relations Act, (TRA) Public Law 96-8, 93 Stat, 14, and Executive Order 12143, 44 F.R. 37191, this agreement which was concluded with the Taiwan authorities prior to January 01, 1979, is administered on a nongovernmental basis by the American Institute in Taiwan, a nonprofit District of Columbia corporation, and constitutes neither recognition of the Taiwan authorities nor the continuation of any official relationship with Taiwan.
- Czech Republic and Slovak Republic – The Treaty with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic entered into force on December 19, 1992; entered into force for the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic as separate states on January 01, 1993.
- Denmark – The Treaty which entered into force on July 30, 1961, does not apply to Greenland.
- France – The Treaty which entered into force on December 21, 1960, applies to the departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion.
- Japan – The Treaty which entered into force on October 30, 1953, was made applicable to the Bonin Islands on June 26, 1968, and to the Ryukyu Islands on May 15, 1972.
- Netherlands – The Treaty which entered into force on December 05, 1957, is applicable to Aruba and Netherlands Antilles.
- Norway – The Treaty which entered into force on September 13, 1932, does not apply to Svalbard (Spitsbergen and certain lesser islands).
- Spain – The Treaty which entered into force on April 14, 1903, is applicable to all territories.
- Suriname – The Treaty with the Netherlands which entered into force December 05, 1957, was made applicable to Suriname on February 10, 1963.
- United Kingdom – The Convention which entered into force on July 03, 1815, applies only to British territory in Europe (the British Isles (except the Republic of Ireland), the Channel Islands and Gibraltar) and to “inhabitants” of such territory. This term, as used in the Convention, means “one who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there”. Also, in order to qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty, the alien must be a national of the United Kingdom. Individuals having the nationality of members of the Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom do not qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty.
- Yugoslavia– The U.S. view is that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) has dissolved and that the successors that formerly made up the SFRY – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo and continue to be bound by the treaty in force with the SFRY and the time of dissolution.