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Business Immigration Attorney

Our experienced business immigration attorneys help foreign nationals make their dreams of working in the United States come true. However, before these dreams can become a reality, foreign workers must complete the employment-based visa process.

With decades of experience, our business immigration attorneys assist immigrants seeking employment opportunities in the United States as well as employers who are seeking to hire a foreign worker. Let our knowledge of the law and passion to help our clients simplify the immigration process for you.

Immigration lawyers Vivian Khalaf and Omar Abuzir
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    family visa application

    What Is an Employment Visa?

    An employment visa, also known as a work visa, allows foreign nationals to legally work in the United States for a designated period of time. Employment visas are typically obtained through an application process and require approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Employment visas are granted based on various factors. The type of job or business, the employer’s sponsorship, and the individual’s qualifications and skills will be considered. These visas are separated into different categories, depending on the purpose and duration of employment.

    Employment visas enable individuals to pursue job opportunities, provide professional services, contribute to the workforce, and fulfill specific labor market needs in the United States. They provide legal authorization allowing foreign workers to engage in employment activities. They come with numerous conditions or restrictions, and are usually subject to renewal.

    Types of Employment Visas Our Business Immigration Attorneys Handle

    Our business immigration attorneys are experienced in handling various types of employment visas to assist clients in achieving their goals. Each visa has specific requirements, processes, and limitations. For example, foreign workers must meet specific criteria for the job they will be performing and the type of visa they are requesting.

    Employment-based immigration visa categories generally have limited and static numerical caps. In addition, before petitioning for a foreign worker, an employer is often required to obtain certification from the Department of Labor.

    Whether you are a foreign worker who is interested in bringing your skills and talents to the United States, or you are an employer that is interested in adding foreign workers to your team, our law firm can provide personalized guidance, assist you navigating the immigration system, and help you obtain the appropriate visas to meet your specific needs. We are experienced in helping clients with the following.

    application for permanent resident status

    Labor Certifications

    PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) labor certification is a prerequisite for employers seeking to sponsor foreign workers for employment-based green cards. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and involves a thorough recruitment process to ensure that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.

    To obtain a labor certification, the employer must conduct recruitment efforts, file a prevailing wage request, and submit a PERM application to the DOL. If the DOL approves the application, the employer can proceed with the subsequent steps of the green card process. While processing times may vary, the average time for a labor certification application to be approved is 6 to 12 months.

    Petitioners are required to submit form I-140, along with the labor certification, within 180 days of approval. If they fail to do so, the certification will expire and the DOL filing process will need to be repeated.

    Qualifications for workers depend on the type of visa the green card applicant is seeking. Workers seeking EB-2 visas must fall into one of three categories. They must have an advanced degree, an exceptional ability, or qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW).


    L Visas - Intra-Company Transferee

    L visas provide a valuable opportunity for multinational companies to transfer key personnel to the U.S. to manage operations, facilitate knowledge transfer, and enhance business growth. These visas allow the transfer of employees from a foreign branch or subsidiary of a company to its U.S.-based branch or subsidiary.

    The L-1A visa is for executives or managers, while the L-1B visa is for employees with specialized knowledge. To qualify, the foreign employee must have been working for the company abroad for at least one continuous year within the past three years.

    L visas allow visa holders to remain in the U.S. for between one and three years, depending on whether the applicable company is already established in the United States. Extensions may be available in two-year increments, allowing the worker to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of seven years.

    The spouse and children who are under the age of 21may be able to join the L-1 visa holder in the United States by obtaining L-2 visas.


    E Visas - Treaty Trader & Investor Visas

    E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas available to foreign nationals who are from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. These visas are designed for people who engage in substantial trade or make significant investments in the U.S.

    The E-1 visa, or Treaty Trader visa, allows individuals or companies to enter the U.S. to carry out substantial trade activities between the treaty country and the United States. The trade can involve goods, services, or technology. The visa holder must demonstrate that the trade is ongoing and substantial.

    The E-2 visa, or Treaty Investor visa, enables individuals or companies to enter the U.S. based on a substantial investment in a U.S. business. The investment must be active and at risk, and the investor must have control or ownership of the enterprise. The investment should also have a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

    E visas provide flexibility, allowing treaty traders and investors to enter the U.S. with their immediate family members and stay for extended periods, with the potential for renewal. These visas offer opportunities for international entrepreneurs and companies to conduct business in the U.S. market and foster economic growth and exchange between treaty countries and the United States.


    H Visas - Professional Degree

    H visas provide opportunities for foreign workers to contribute their skills to the U.S. workforce on a temporary basis. The specific requirements, duration, and limitations vary for each H visa category, and they require sponsorship from a U.S. employer. There are several types of H visas, each designed for specific occupations and circumstances.

    The most common type of H visa our business immigration attorneys handle is the H-1B visa, which is designed for foreign workers with professional degrees who work in specialty occupations. To be eligible for an H-1B visa, the worker must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a qualifying specialty field. This includes engineers, IT professionals, scientists, and healthcare workers.

    There are just 65,000 H-1B visas available to foreign workers every year. For professionals who hold a master’s degree or higher, an additional 20,000 visas are available. Exemptions to the cap exist, however. For instance, the petitions from government research organizations, institutions of higher education, and non-profit research organizations are exempt.

    H-1B visas have an initial period of stay of up to three years. An additional three-year extension may be available, however, that allows the worker to remain in the United States for a maximum of six years. Foreign professionals who are seeking green cards may be able to obtain additional extensions in one-year increments.


    P Visas - Entertainment

    P visas are designed to allow people who are internationally-recognized as outstanding in their field in the entertainment and athletic industries to temporarily come to the United States to compete or perform. Applicants who are athletes may be eligible if they are taking part in individual or group competitions, but entertainers must be performing as part of a group to qualify for P-1A or P-1B visas.

    Artists and entertainers may be eligible to enter the United States under the P-2 visa if they will perform under a reciprocal exchange program with the United States. Additionally, the P-3 visa may be available for foreign nationals who are entering the United States temporarily to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers, in a culturally unique program.

    The initial period of stay for P visa holders depends on whether you are planning to enter the United States as an individual, a member of a team, or support personnel. Extensions may be available in varying increments.

    Applying for a P visa is a complicated process that requires significant documentation, such as a written advisory opinion from a peer group or labor union. Our experienced employment visa lawyers can help you navigate the P visa process, anticipating the challenges that may arise and helping you overcome them in advance.


    O Visas - Athletes

    O visas are for foreign nationals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the entertainment industry. They are temporary work visas, and are not intended for people who are seeking permanent residency in the United States.

    There are various categories of O visas available to people who meet the eligibility requirements. They are:

    O-1 visas

    available for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics

    O-1B visas

    available for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry

    O-2 visas

    available for assistants of O-1 visa holders who have critical skills that cannot be performed by another person, and are an “integral part” of the O-1A visa holder’s activity or “essential” to the completion of the O-1B visa holder’s production

    O-3 visas

    available for the spouse and children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders


    R Visas - Religious

    The R-1 visa allows foreign nationals to enter the United States temporarily to work in religious occupations or roles. To qualify for an R-1 visa, the applicant must be a member of a legitimate religious denomination, have a job offer from a U.S. religious organization, and intend to work in a religious capacity, such as a minister, priest, nun, religious instructor, or missionary.

    Applicants for the R-1 visa may need to provide documentation demonstrating their qualifications, employment offer, and the religious nature of the organization. The sponsoring religious organization is required to demonstrate its tax-exempt status and provide evidence of its existence.

    R-1 visas are typically granted for an initial period of up to 30 months, with a maximum stay of 5 years. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old may accompany the R-1 visa holder to the United States on R-2 dependent visas.

    Our skilled employment immigration attorneys are familiar with the application process for obtaining visa extensions in Illinois and Texas. We can also help with obtaining a different type of visa if the applicant’s circumstances change. 

    Do You Need a Lawyer for an Employment-Based Visa?

    While it is not a legal requirement to hire a lawyer for an employment-based visa, ever-changing immigration laws and the complications that may arise on your journey to working in the United States necessitate the knowledge and skill of an experienced employment visa attorney.

    Our employment-based visa attorneys have up-to-date knowledge of the legal requirements, procedures, and documentation needed for a successful outcome. Our business immigration lawyers will evaluate your circumstances, including factors like your qualifications, job offer, and employer’s sponsorship, to determine the best visa category and strategy for your situation. By advising you on the most appropriate path to working in America, our legal team will increase your chances of success.

    We will help you gather and organize the required documentation, including employer support letters, educational transcripts, and relevant forms. Our law firm will ensure that your application is complete, accurate, and properly filed, reducing the risk of errors or omissions that could lead to delays or denials.

    If complications or issues arise during the application process, our attorneys will advocate on your behalf, communicate with immigration authorities, and handle any legal challenges that may arise. We will represent you in negotiations or administrative proceedings, protecting your rights and interests.

    Additionally, immigration laws and regulations can change frequently. Your attorney will keep you informed of any updates or changes that may affect your application and help you remain in compliance with all legal requirements throughout the process.

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    Immigration lawyer Omar Abuzir
    Omar A. Abuzir
    Immigration Lawyer
    Chicago immigration lawyer Vivian Khalaf
    Vivian Khalaf
    Immigration Lawyer

    Client Testimonials

    5 stars
    “Working with the lawyers at ImmigrationJD was an experience that was unexpected. It was a breeze obtaining my permanent residency and the attorney was with me every step of the way. The process was exactly as it was explained to me at the start and there were no surprises! I highly recommend this law firm”
    ~Juma Amin
    5 stars
    “It was very difficult for me to be separated from my husband while he was overseas waiting for the processing of his immigration papers at the U.S. embassy. My attorney made the process move quicker than I anticipated by being on top of it and making sure the documents were completed properly and efficiently. I was never kept in the dark and updated frequently. We will be back to ImmigrationJD as soon as my husband is ready to file for citizenship”.

    How to Get an Employment Visa

    To obtain an employment visa, you need to follow a series of steps. While the specific process can vary depending on the visa category and your individual circumstances, here is a general outline.

    Determine the appropriate visa category:

    Identify the employment visa category that aligns with your occupation, qualifications, and job offer. Common employment visa categories include H-1B for skilled workers, L-1 for intra-company transfers, O-1 for individuals with extraordinary ability, and EB-1 for priority workers.

    Secure a job offer:

    Obtain a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor your visa. The employer must be able to demonstrate the need for your skills or expertise and comply with relevant labor and immigration regulations.

    Labor certification (if applicable)

    Some employment-based visas, such as the EB-2 and EB-3 categories, require labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This involves the employer proving that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position being offered.

    File the visa petition

    The employer or their legal representative will typically file a visa petition on your behalf with USCIS.

    Wait for approval:

    After filing the visa petition, you will need to wait for it to be processed and approved by the relevant agency. Processing times can vary depending on the visa category and workload.

    Consular processing:

    If you are outside the United States, you will typically go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. This involves submitting additional documentation, attending an interview, and undergoing security checks.

    Visa issuance:

    If your application is approved, you will be issued an employment visa stamp in your passport, allowing you to travel to the United States and work legally.

    The specific requirements, documentation, and processing times can vary depending on the visa category and individual circumstances. Consulting with an immigration attorney or reviewing the U.S. Department of State or USCIS websites can provide more detailed information on the specific steps and requirements for the employment visa category you are pursuing.

    FAQs About Employment Visas in the United States

    Can I get a Work Visa in the United States Without Sponsorship?

    In most cases, obtaining a work visa in the United States requires sponsorship from a U.S. employer. The employer must demonstrate a need for your skills or expertise and be willing to sponsor your visa application. However, there are limited circumstances where you may be able to obtain a work visa without sponsorship. These might include through self-petitioning for certain visa categories like the O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary ability or the EB-1 visa for priority workers. These visas require demonstrating exceptional talent, achievements, or qualifications in your field.

    How Hard Is it to Get a Work Visa in the United States?

    Obtaining a work visa in the United States can be challenging. The difficulty level depends on the visa category, the job market, the individual’s qualifications, and the employer’s ability to meet sponsorship requirements. Certain visa categories, such as the H-1B visa, have limited annual quotas, making the competition fierce.

    The process often involves meeting strict eligibility criteria, providing extensive documentation, navigating government agencies, and dealing with potential delays or uncertainties. Additionally, changes in immigration policies and regulations can impact the process. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can help increase the chances of success, and ensure compliance with the requirements for obtaining a work visa in the United States.

    Who can Sponsor Me to Work in the United States?

    In the United States, an employer or a prospective employer is typically the entity that sponsors an immigrant for a work visa. The sponsoring employer must meet specific criteria and demonstrate a legitimate need for hiring a foreign worker. Common types of sponsors for work visas include:

    U.S. Employers:

    Employers in the United States can sponsor foreign workers by filing the appropriate visa petition, such as the H-1B visa for skilled workers or the L-1 visa for intra-company transfers.

    U.S. Branches/Subsidiaries:

    Multinational companies with branches or subsidiaries in the U.S. can sponsor employees for work visas under the L-1 visa category, allowing for the transfer of executives, managers, or specialized knowledge employees.

    Self-Employed Individuals:

    In certain cases, self-employed individuals with exceptional abilities or achievements in fields like arts, sciences, athletics, or business can self-petition for a work visa, such as the O-1 visa or EB-1 visa.

    The requirements and processes for sponsoring a work visa can vary depending on the visa category and the immigration regulations in place. Consulting with an immigration attorney ensures that you have accurate information regarding the sponsorship requirements for the specific work visa you are seeking.