In order for you to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily in the United States your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS. A temporary employment based visa allows you or your employee to temporarily reside in the United States to work for a specified employer, specific job position, specific time limit, and in many cases for a specific minimum annual salary. The main types of employment based temporary work visas we help our clients obtain are as follows. Please click on each visa type for complete and specific requirements for each visa. Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced immigration attorney for a free consultation on which work visa you or your employee is best qualified to apply for. Call us toll free at 800.993.9097 or via email at

H1B Specialty Occupation Visa

The H1B is a non-immigrant visa category allowing U.S. employers to seek temporary employment from skilled foreigners who have the equivalent U.S. Bachelor’s Degree education who will be temporarily employed in a “specialty occupation”. The visa requires the applicant to have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The number of H-1B visas issued per year is limited to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 for those with U.S. graduate degrees and there is no limit for universities and non-profit and government research laboratories.

The H1B visa is valid for a maximum period of six years at a time. After that time an alien must remain outside the United States for one year before s/he qualifies for another H1B visa. There are two exceptions for:

  • One Year Extensions:
    • Individuals who have filed for PERM labor certification more than ONE YEAR prior to reaching the six year limit
    • Individuals who have filed for I-140 Immigrant Visa more than ONE YEAR prior to reaching the six year limit
      • Please note that extension under this provision may be denied, if any of the following has occurred: the PERM application has been denied or its approval revoked; the I-140 has been denied or approval revoked; and the adjustment of status has been granted or denied.
  • Three Year Extensions:
    • Individuals with approved I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions who are presently unable to file for Adjustment of Status due to per country limit

An alien may change H1B employers without affecting status, but the new H-1B employer must file a new Form I-129 petition for the alien before he or she begins working for the new employer. An H-1B alien may work in full or part-time employment and remain in status. An H-1B alien may also take a valid leave of absence without affecting his or her status. As long as the employer/employee relationship exists, the H1B visa will remain valid.

L1A/L1B Intra-Company Transferees

Intra-Company Transferees are essential executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge. L1 visas permit foreign companies with branches or affiliated offices in the United States to transfer needed employees to the United States. To qualify for an L1 visa, the foreign employer must demonstrate:

  1. the employee is an executive or managerial position who perform an “essential function of the business” (L1A) or is employed in a position that requires specialized knowledge about the company’s product, service, research, equipment, management or advanced knowledge or expertise in the company’s procedures and processes (L1B);
  2. the employee has been employed in the foreign office for at least one year during the three years prior to admission to the United States; and
  3. the employee will assume comparable duties in the United States with the same employer, an affiliate, or subsidiary of the same employer.

The company should carefully consider whether to classify the employee as either an L1A or an L1B especially if the company, in the long-term, may sponsor the employee for permanent residence. The L1A visa is valid for up to seven years and the L1B is valid for up to five years. Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) qualify for L2 visa status. Spouses with L2 visa status is eligible to apply for work authorization with USCIS.

O1: Outstanding Visa

The O-1 visa petition requires extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, athletics, or the motion picture or television industry. You may prove your ability in the field by showing specific evidence of your qualifications and international recognition of your extraordinary ability and that you have received an internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize. You can also document at least three of the following:

  1. Internationally or nationally recognized prizes or awards;
  2. Published material about your work;
  3. Membership in an association that requires members to have outstanding achievement;
  4. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  5. Authorship of scholarly articles published in any type of major media or professional journals;
  6. High salary or any other type of compensation;
  7. Participation on a panel, or as a judge for other people’s works;
  8. Evidence of past employment for organizations or establishments that have a high reputation.

O-1 visa cannot be self-petitioned. You require an employer to petition on your behalf. An O-1 visa may be granted for up to three years. O-1 visa status may be renewed in one year increments, or until the project is finished. Spouses and dependents are eligible for O-3 visa status upon showing their familial relationship.

B1 Business Visa

B1 visas are available for those businessmen who intend to temporarily visit the US to conduct business on behalf of their foreign employers. The B1 visa holders are limited on what business activity s/he can perform—i.e. negotiate contracts, sell products, develop business contracts, and attend conferences for the benefit of their foreign employer. The B1 visa holder must clearly perform services that benefit the foreign employer. The B1 visa holders cannot be employed in the US; cannot receive salaries or other compensation while in the US other than reimbursement for incidental expenses. The B1 visa holder is allowed to remain in the US for a 6 month period that can be extended for an additional 6 month period so long as circumstances require.

J1 Exchange Visitor/Trainee Visa 

J visa students, researchers, and business or industrial trainees come to the US to participate in training programs authorized by the United States Information Agency (USIA). A company can even start its own J1 training program or use an organization that is already recognized for sponsoring training programs. The trainee can be engaged in any productive employment that gives him knowledge of specific company practices in the US or of US business practices in general. This visa is valid for a minimum of three months and for a maximum of 18 months. Note that a two year home residency requirement may be imposed by job type or funding source.