Practice Areas


The H-1B visa is a temporary employment visa allowing the alien to work in the United States for a specified employer. This visa is given to qualified individuals in a “Specialty Occupation”. It is usually given for a period of up to three years at a time (maximum), and the alien cannot exceed six years maximum on H-1B status. Accordingly, the H-1B visa allows employers to hire qualified foreign individuals, including foreign students studying in the United States. Similarly, foreign students studying in the United States can adjust their status from F-1 to H-1B while in the United States.

Steps Involved in receiving an H1-B VISA:

  1. The employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor in the region the alien will work. The employer must show that the salary the alien will be paid is not lower than the prevailing wage for the occupation, thus ensuring that American workers are not undermined. 
  2. Upon approval of the LCA from the Department of Labor, petitions filed with the Immigration and Naturalization Service for the approval of the H-1B petition. Once this is approved, the approval is forwarded to the requested U.S. Consulate abroad.
  3. The alien if outside the country is interviewed at the Consulate and if accepted, granted a visa. If the alien is in the United States in a legal status (such as B1/B2, L1, L2, H-4 and Student/F-1), their visa status is adjusted within the United States.




The L non-immigrant visa is for employees of multinational companies with offices in the United States and abroad. This visa allows qualified individuals to be transferred from a foreign office to an American office of the company. This visa is issued for an initial three year period. The visa is also available to individuals of foreign companies coming to the United States for the purpose of opening up an (American)office of the company.



The transferee must have worked abroad for the Overseas Company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years. Note that the employee should have been in the United States prior to the application, each day in the United States during the preceding year adds one day to the total time that the alien must have been employed by the overseas company.

The overseas company in an “Executive or Managerial” position or in a position involving “Specialized Knowledge” further must have employed the employee.



The transferee must be coming to the United States to fill one of the three aforementioned positions and provide proof that they are qualified for the position.



Accompanying family members (spouse and children) will be issued an L-2 visa. The family requires a valid passport(s) and proof of relationship with the principal applicant. Should the family not be applying for their visa at the consulate at the same time as the student, they will also require a copy of the principle applicant’s approved L-1 visa, his I-94 card and a recent letter from the employer of the L-1 employee indicating that he is currently employed with the company per the terms of the L-1 visa.




The O non-immigrant visa is for Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in the any of the following areas:

  • O-1A: Sciences, Education, Business or Athletics
  • O-1B: Arts, Motion Picture or Television Industry


  • The applicant must demonstrate extraordinary by sustained national or international acclaim, or a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry, and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
  • Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that you are one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of the field.
  • Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts. This is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that you are prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.


  • O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance.
  • O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.





The P non-immigrant visa is for Individuals coming to the United States for the purpose of performing or teaching as an artist or an entertainer:

  • P-1A: Individuals coming temporarily to the United States solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition as:
  • An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance; 
  • Part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance; 
  • A professional athlete; or 
  • An athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association. 
  • To perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour, individually or as part of a group.
  • P-1B: Individuals coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been established for a minimum of one year and recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
  • P-2: Individuals coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country.
  • P-3: Individuals coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.



Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may obtain P-4 nonimmigrant status. P-4 status does not authorize them to work in the United States, but they may attend school or college. If these family members are already in the United States. 






The R non-immigrant is an alien who is coming to the United States temporarily to work at least part time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation



The individual must be employed by a:

  • Non-profit religious organization in the United States;
  • Religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or
  • Non-profit organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.

To qualify, you must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before filing the petition.



Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for R-2 classification. An R-2 dependent is not authorized to work based on this visa classification.






An American employer can sponsor aliens for permanent residence in the United States. Approximately 140,000 employment-based permanent residency visas are granted each year. Generally, the alien is sponsored to fill a specific employment position for which the employer is unable to find an American or permanent resident to fill. These positions are specialty occupations requiring skilled individuals. There are three employment-based categories; each allotted 40,000 visas a year, which have differing requirements:



The first preference category does not require labor certification for the position the alien is going to fill. This category is open to:

  1. Managers and executives subject of international transfer to the United States.
  2. Outstanding professors and researchers with universities or employers with established research departments.
  3. Aliens of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics. Note, this category does not require an employment offer. It is explained in detail at the end of this section.



The second preference requires a labor certification for the position the alien seeks to fill. This can be waived in certain circumstances in the national interest (i.e. medical doctors who will work in medically under served areas). This category is open to the following:

  1. Aliens of “exceptional ability” in sciences, arts, or business. A National Interest Waiver may be obtained in this category as described on page XX.
  2. Advanced-degree professionals



The third preference also requires a labor certification for the position the alien seeks to fill. This category is open to the following:

  1. Professionals with bachelor’s degrees not qualifying in the second preference
  2. Skilled workers (filling positions requiring at least two years of training and experience
  3. Unskilled workers (only 10,000 visas per year).




Depending on the requirements, there are a few other non-immigrant visa types:

  • Q: Cultural Exchange
  • TN: NAFTA Professionals
  • I: Representatives of Foreign Media
  • H-2A: Agricultural Workers
  • H-2B: Non- Agricultural Workers
  • H-3: Non-immigrant Trainee
  • L-1B: Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge





Foreign nationals may enter the United States as non-immigrant in order to pursue academic studies. The student must be enrolled in an “academic” program, not a vocational-type program. Further, the student must be pursuing their studies at an accredited institution. In addition to universities, elementary and high schools, colleges, seminaries, conservatories and language training program also qualify for “academic” study




  • ACCEPTANCE: The alien before applying at the Consulate for a student visa must be accepted by an accredited institution. This will be proven by Form I-20, which will be sent to the student by the institution. This form should further denote it’s date of approval and INS number.
  • FULL COURSE OF STUDY: The alien student should be enrolled in the usual number of courses necessary to complete the degree in the usual period of time.
  • ENGLISH PROFICIENCY: The school must indicate that the student is proficient in English or will be pursuing English studies. This will be done on Form I-20 and will state one of the following:



  1. School is satisfied that the applicant is proficient in English usually through passing a test such as TOEFL.
  2. Student will be enrolled in courses in language in which he is proficient.
  3. Student will be enrolled in a full course of study consisting of both academic Courses and English training.
  4. Student is enrolled in a language training program constituting a full course of study.



  • SUFFICIENT FUNDS: The alien must demonstrate that he has sufficient funds available to him for the entire duration of his proposed period of study. Specifically, the student must demonstrate that he has funds currently available at his disposal for the coming academic year and will have academic funds available in the same amount throughout his academic program.
  • RESIDENCE ABROAD: The student must maintain a residence abroad and demonstrate that he has no intention of abandoning it, and further intends to leave the United States upon completion of his studies.



Accompanying family members (spouse and children) will be issued an F-2 visa. The family requires the same documentation as the student, including proof of family relationship, with the exception of Form I-20 A-B. Should the family not be applying for their visa at the consulate at the same time as the student, they will also require Form I-20 A-B issued by the school for them or page 4 of the student’s Form I-20. Note that the family members must also establish nonimmigrant intent, and sometimes consular officers are reluctant to issue such visas, as they believe that if the family is together, they will remain in the United States.





The J-1 Visa category is for individuals who enter the United States as “exchange visitors”, having be accepted in a U.S. government approved Exchange-Visitor Program for the purpose of gaining experience, studying or doing research in their respective fields. These individuals include foreign students, scholars, experts, medical interns and residents, “international visitors,” and business trainees.




  • PARTICIPATE IN EXCHANGE-VISITOR PROGRAM: The alien must have plans to participate in an exchange-visitor program. A government agency, educational institution, hospital, nonprofit association, business or industrial concern may sponsor these. Approval for the exchange visitor program rests with the United States Information Agency.
  • TWO-YEAR FOREIGN RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT: Upon completion of the Exchange-Visitor Program, certain aliens will be required to remain out of the United States and in their home country or country of last residence for a period of two years before being readmitted to the United States in an employment category. This rule is applicable to individuals who:


  1. Program financed, in whole are part, by home or U.S. governments
  2. Nationals of countries who the Director of the USIA (US Info. Agency) has determined that their home country requires their skills, expertise and training
  3. Aliens who have received graduate medical train (interns or residents). The USIA may waive this requirement. However, the alien must “good cause”.

Note, the two year foreign residency requirement is also applicable to the spouse and children of the exchange-visitor. Accordingly, a spouse may not work in the United States (i.e. H-1B visa) during the two-year foreign residency period for the exchange-visitor spouse. Further note, the two-year period abroad cannot be transferred to time spent in another country outside the United States. It must be the exchange-visitor’s home country or country of residence.


  • FOREIGN RESIDENCY: As with other nonimmigrant visas, the alien must prove his nonimmigrant intent and maintain a foreign residence as proof of intention to return abroad.




Accompanying family members (spouse and children) will be issued a J-2 visa. The family requires the same documentation as the exchange-visitor, including proof of family relationship. Should the family not be applying for their visa at the consulate at the same time as the exchange-visitor, they will require a copy of the exchange-visitor’s Form IAP-66, I-94 card and a letter from the exchange-visitor’s program director indicating that he is currently pursuing his program.



Not all J-1 Exchange Visitors are subject to the two year home country requirement. This rule requires many J-1 visa holders to be physically present in their country of nationality or last residence for at least two years after termination of their J status before they can receive an H or L nonimmigrant visa or permanent resident status.


The two year foreign residence requirement only attaches to an exchange visitor who:


  • Enter the United States to participate in an exchange visitor program financed in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the United States Government or by a government of his or her nationality or last residence.
  • Is a national or resident of a country, which the USIA has designated on its “Skills List” as requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of, specialized knowledge or skill in which the exchange visitor was engaged. An exchange visitor who is not governmentally financed is subject to the two-year rule if his or her country of either residence or nationality appears on the Skills List at the time the J visa was issued or at the time a change of status to J-1 was granted.
  • Came to the U.S. or acquired J status to receive “graduate medical education or training.” However, a J-1 physician who engaged in research, teaching, consultation or non-clinically oriented training with only incidental patient contact is not subject tot he foreign residence requirement unless thy receive governmental funding or the Skills List applies to them.


There are four ways for a J-1 visa holder to obtain a waiver of his/her two-year home country requirement:

  • Interested Government Agency Waiver: A statement from a U.S. government agency to the United States Information Agency (USIA) in favor to a waiver. These “Interested Government Agency” waiver requests can come from any federal agency. Examples of Interested Government Agencies include, but are not limited to Department of Health and Human Services, Appalachian Regional Commission Waiver Request. Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Agriculture and Interior, Department of Education, National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce
  • No-Objection Waiver: A “No Objection” letter from the exchange visitor’s country of nationality or last permanent residence to the USIA, sent through official diplomatic channels, which states that the foreign government does not object to the granting of a waiver. Most embassies in Washington are familiar with No-Objection statements and they have a specific person assigned to such matters.
  • Hardship Waiver: A finding by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that the exchange visitor’s U.S. Citizen or permanent resident spouse or child would face exceptional hardship if a waiver were not granted.
  • Persecution Waiver: A finding by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that the exchange visitor will face persecution if forced to return to his or her home country.





The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.



Individual may apply in the M-1 visa category provided they meet the following criteria:

  • Must be enrolled in an “academic” educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program
  • School must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution
  • Must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
  • Must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
  • Must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up.



B VISA: B-1 (Business) / B-2 (Pleasure)


The B Visa nonimmigrant category is for alien visitors coming to the United States for the purposes of business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). The granting of a B Visa does not allow one to be employed in the United States. The B Visa is granted by the United States Consulate and can be given for a maximum of ten years with an unlimited number of entries to the United States. However, the Consulate often limits the visa to one visit to the United States for a limited period at their discretion.



  • The alien is entering the U.S. of a limited duration.
  • The alien intends to depart the U.S. at the expiration of his stay.
  • The alien must maintain a foreign residence which he has no intention of abandoning.
  • The alien must have adequate finances for his travel to and from and stay in the United States.
  • The alien must engage solely in legitimate activities relating to his business or pleasure.


Supporting Letter 

  • B-1 Visa: For business visitors, this letter must be completed by the applicant’s employer or own company and should explain the purpose of the trip, details of the itinerary and give assurances regarding the applicant’s continued employment by the company. 
  • B-2 Visa: For pleasure visitors, a letter from the employer is required indicating that the applicant is an employee of the company and will be returning to work following his vacation.

Supporting Documentation

  • Aliens are required to demonstrate that their trip to the United States is for a temporary period and that they will not remain in the country. Accordingly, the Consulate often requires evidence that the alien will return to their country of abode. This can be evidenced by various documents in addition to the aforementioned employer letter, proof of family ties to home country, property, investments etc. It can be helpful to have a letter of invitation to visit a friend or family member in the United States. This letter should ask the alien to visit for a limited period (i.e. two weeks, a month etc.) The alien must also be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for the duration of their stay. Bank statements etc. are helpful in this regard.





WB Temporary Business Visitor under Visa Waiver Program: The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 35 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Nationals of VWP countries must meet eligibility requirements to travel without a visa on the VWP. VWP travelers are required to have a valid authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before travelling. Travelers are screened at the port of entry into the United States and are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.





The fifth employment-based preference is set aside for alien investors in new commercial enterprises. This category is allotted 10,000 visas per year, and generally requires that the investor invest in an enterprise.

Under a new rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, several changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program went into effect Nov. 21, 2019.


The new rule modernizes the EB-5 program by:

  • Providing priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors;
  • Increasing the required minimum investment amounts to account for inflation;
  • Reforming certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
  • Making other technical and conforming revisions.


Priority date retention

  • Certain immigrant investors will keep the priority date of a previously approved EB-5 petition when they file a new petition.


Increased minimum investments

  • The standard minimum investment amount has increased to $1.8 million (from $1 million) to account for inflation.
  • The minimum investment in a TEA has increased to $900,000 (from $500,000) to account for inflation.
  • Future adjustments will also be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every 5 years.


Targeted employment area (TEA) designations

  • We will now directly review and determine the designation of high-unemployment TEAs; we will no longer defer to TEA designations made by state and local governments.
  • Specially designated high-unemployment TEAs will now consist of a combination of census tracts that include the tract or contiguous tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business, including any or all directly adjacent tracts.
  • Provided they have experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate, TEAs may now include cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas.
  • These changes will help direct investment to areas most in need and increase the consistency of how high-unemployment areas are defined in the program.


Clarified procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence

  • The new rule specifies when derivative family members (for example, a spouse and children whose immigration status comes from the status of a primary benefit petitioner) who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence;
  • The new rule includes flexibility in interview locations; and
  • The new rule updates the regulations to reflect the current process for issuing Green Cards.





  •  First Preference. Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and children of unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (unmarried at the time of filling). The numerical limit from 54,000 to 23,400.
  • Second Preference. Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of Permanent Residents. The numerical limit from 70,200 to 114,200. IMMACT 90 allocates the 114,200 visas as follows: Spouses and children – 77% (87,934 minimum) Unmarried sons and daughters – 23% (26,266 minimum) (also includes children of unmarried sons and daughters)
  • Third Preference. This category was the former fourth preference and includes married sons and daughters of citizens and their children. The numerical limit was changed from 27,000 to 23,400.
  • Fourth Preference. This category was the former fifth preference and includes brothers and sisters 21 years of age or over, spouses and children of brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and legalized aliens. The numerical limit was changed from 64,800 to 65,600.





Being Sponsored for a Green Card: Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms—an immigrant petition and a Green Card application (Form I-485). Someone else usually must file the petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you)

Green Card Processes and Procedures:

  • Eligibility: Determine if you are eligible for permanent residence. Review the eligibility requirements needed before applying for your Green Card.
  • Employment-based immigrant petition: If you want to apply for a Green Card based on your employment, your U.S. employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker for you.
  • I-485 Application: An application for adjustment of status (I-485) cannot be filed until an immigrant petition (I-130/I-140) is approved and an immigrant visa is immediately available. The priority date determines the order of visa availability. For relative petitions, the priority date is the date the I-130 was properly filed. For employment based petitions, the priority date is the date the labor certification was filed with the Department of Labor or the date the preference petition was filed with the INS if an LC was not needed.





The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The DV Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). 

Most lottery winners reside outside the United States and immigrate through consular processing and issuance of an immigrant visa.





U.S. Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. An Individual is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship under the following criteria:

  • Individual is a lawful permanent resident of 5 years
  • Individual is married to a U.S. citizen
  • Individual is the child of a U.S. citizen
  • Individual is serving in the U.S. Military


CONTACT US to learn more about of U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization.