A Partner for Family Immigration and Natualization
United States immigration law governs family immigration. A U.S. citizen or permanent resident can apply for family members to immigrate and work in the United States. If the application is approved, your family member will receive a “green card,” which is evidence of lawful permanent resident status.
Felhaber Larson understands the process and will guide you through it. We will counsel you on the documents you need, the steps that need to be taken and the amount of time that the process will take.
Once you receive your green card, we can then be your partner in the journey to becoming a citizen. There are several criteria to becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States and we can help guide you through this critical process. Making a small mistake early on in your immigration history, or in any of your past immigration applications, could prevent you from obtaining your U.S. citizenship – Felhaber Larson will help make sure this does not happen.
A Partner for Global Talent Solutions
Felhaber Larson recognizes that in the ever-changing global market corporations and institutional employers search all over the world for highly skilled talent. Our immigration law attorneys help employers navigate complex immigration laws and procedures as they seek to bring international personnel stateside.
Unlike law firms with more volume-based immigration practices, ours is characterized by an individually focused approach that gives equal, personal attention to both the highly skilled professionals we assist and the companies and organizations seeking to employ them.
We carefully listen to, analyze, and assess each individual client request to ensure we are fully attuned to our client’s needs, and are best-prepared to efficiently and cost-effectively address them.
Felhaber Corporate Immigration Law Experience
Felhaber Larson works with small and large business who require assistance with:
We help employers stay in compliance with the ever-changing USCIS regulations and Executive Orders affecting immigration. Employers must be more vigilant than ever about keeping their I-9 files in order and up-to-date. Previously, employers were low on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) list of enforcement priorities. Now, raids at every kind of business are the norm.
If an ICE officer visits your office or USCIS audits your I-9 files, you’ll face steep penalties for noncompliance. We can help you keep your files compliant while ensuring that you avoid charges of employment discrimination against a foreign national who is, in fact, authorized to work.
Temporary Employment Visa Options
These visa categories allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for a set period of time after which they must depart the U.S. Some temporary visa categories permit foreign nationals to work, while others are simply for training or business visits.
B-1/B-2 Visitors. These visas are available to people wishing to visit the U.S. for business or tourism on a short-term, temporary basis. A visitor entering with this visa may not work.
E-1/E-2 Treaty Visas. Business investors and traders (and their employees) from countries having treaties with the U.S. may obtain visas to conduct business in the U.S.
H-1B Specialty Occupations for Professional Workers. Employers seeking employees who hold a bachelor’s degree (or its foreign equivalent), or higher to work in the U.S, can hire foreign employees if they can show that the position requires specialized knowledge and that they will pay the prevailing wage determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
H-2A and H-2B Seasonal Workers. U.S. businesses needing help on a seasonal basis, can hire foreign labor through this program. The work can be agricultural or non-agricultural but employer must first obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before USCIS will issue a visa.
H-3 Trainees. Employers can bring their foreign employees for short-term additional training in the U.S. The employees must return to their foreign positions when the training is finished.
J-1 Trainees. Usually, an organization or employer operates an approved, J-1 training program. These programs offer exchange visitor programs in a variety of fields and for a variety of training purposes. Often, foreign medical graduates do their medical training in the U.S. through a J-1 program. Other J-1 visa holders work as au pairs, teachers, researchers and camp counselors. Because most J-1 programs require that the trainee return home after the training for two years, this visa offers temporary status in the U.S. In some circumstances, we can obtain a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.
L-1 Intra-Company Transferees. Executives, managers and employees having specialized knowledge of company practices or technical expertise can transfer to a U.S. affiliate of a foreign corporation. We must provide substantial proof of the relationship between the foreign corporation and the U.S. affiliate to meet USCIS requirements. This visa category also helps managers and executives qualify for permanent resident status in the EB-1 employment-based immigrant visa category.
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Workers. Interestingly, O-1 visa holders work in a variety of occupations, from entertainment to medicine. The regulations require that the foreign worker prove that they are extraordinary or distinguished, depending upon their occupation. The standard is lower for artists and entertainers. Using the O-1 visa can offer a creative alternative to long-term waits for immigrant visas.
TN Visas under the North American Free trade Agreement, or NAFTA. NAFTA provides for employment-based visas for both Canadian and Mexican nationals. It is similar to an H-1B but the foreign national can present the application at the border instead of filing it with USCIS. A company can apply for a TN visa for a foreign worker only if the job fits into a specific category.
Permanent Employment Visa Options Leading to a Green Card
The visa categories listed below lead to an immigrant visa or green card. While the standards are high and often involve determinations about the labor market and wages from the U.S. Department of Labor, the process is manageable. However, the length of time that it may take to obtain a green card can vary greatly among the categories.
One major reason that a foreign national may have to wait several years is that Congress allocates the number of visas available each year for each category. It also limits the number of visas by country of origin but is considering legislation to eliminate the per-country limits. Another reason for visa-processing delays is that the U.S. Department of Labor must certify, among other things, that no U.S. worker will be displaced by hiring a foreign worker. This labor certification process can often take several months.
EB-1 Visas for Foreign Nationals who have Extraordinary Ability in their fields, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Multinational Executives and Managers. If foreign nationals qualify for this visa category, they are able to skip the labor certification process. Each type of applicant in this category must provide substantial proof that they meet the extremely high and exacting standards entitling them to the visa. Multinational executives and managers have additional requirements.
EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability. For most applications, foreign nationals must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and go through the labor certification process. If the foreign workers duties are in the national interest, a foreign national may avoid the labor certification process or even avoid having to prove a job offer by filing what is known as a National Interest Waiver (NIW).
EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals and Other Workers. Professionals and non-professional workers (unskilled) all have visas available in this category. Traditionally, the professionals and skilled workers used up the visas, leaving unskilled workers with none for several years. Recently, we have seen some movement in the Other Worker category and have been able to apply for green cards for agricultural and seasonal workers who otherwise, would have no other way to immigrate to the U.S. They have full-time employment offers which make them eligible for a visa, subject to the labor certification process.