For some people, the H-1B visa might be the only option available. Others might be fortunate enough to have a second or third visa option. Each year, many others are left out of the H-1B Visa process when they are not selected in the H-1B Visa lottery. But even if your employee wasn’t selected, there might still be hope.
Whether you or your employee failed to obtain an H-1B Visa, or you are simply looking for additional visa options, here are eight alternatives to consider.
1. Optional or Curricular Practical Training.
- International students who graduate from a US post-secondary institution may be eligible for a 12-month period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) and employment in a field related to their degree. Those who have graduated with a degree in a STEM field may extend the initial period of OPT for an additional 24 months.
- Students still enrolled in school may qualify for employment authorization through a period of Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Qualifying students should coordinate with their school’s Designated School Official to seek OPT or CPT work authorization.
2. Work Visas based on nationality.
- TN Visas through employer sponsorship are an option for citizens of Mexico and Canada, who are coming to the United States to perform work in certain “Professional Occupations.”
- H-1B1 Visas are available to citizens of Chile and Singapore. The requirements for the classification are similar to an H-1B.
- E-3 visas are granted only to citizens of Australia who will work in specialty occupations.
3. E-1 Visas and E-2 Visas for Traders & Investors from treaty countries.
Nationals of certain countries are party to a qualifying treaty with the United States and may be eligible for an E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa.
- The E-1 Visa classification is appropriate for individuals who are coming to the US to engage in substantial trade in goods, services, or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country.
- The E-2 Visa classification is appropriate if an individual or their company invests a substantial amount of capital in a US enterprise. Certain essential employees of a company with the same nationality may also qualify for an E-2 visa.
4. L-1 Visas for Business Expansion into the US.
The L-1 Visa enables qualifying foreign entities to expand their operations into the United States through the creation of a new office. This can be done by sending a qualifying executive, manager or specialized knowledge professional to the US, granting them an L-1 Visa to establish, set up, manage, run, and/or work in the new office.
5. O-1 Visas for Extraordinary Ability or Achievement.
The O-1 Visa classification is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. O-1 Visas have several sub-classifications worth exploring.
6. “Parole” for international entrepreneurs.
The “International Entrepreneur Rule” allows lawful entry into the United States and work authorization for employees and/or. part owners of certain start-up companies that have received qualifying investments or grants.
7. Employment-Based Green Cards.
If none of the nonimmigrant options is a good fit, the best route to employing a foreign national might be an immigrant petition filed by a prospective employer or self-petitioned by the individual. If sponsored by an employer, it may be necessary to first request certification from the USDOL.
8. Family Sponsorship.
Obtaining immigration status through a qualifying relationship with a US citizen or permanent resident must also be considered. You may benefit from family sponsorship if you are a parent, spouse, child, or fiancé(e) with a qualifying relationship.
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