Business Immigration FAQS
I want a nonimmigrant temporary work visa. If I am approved, can my family move to the United States with me?
Yes, but whether or not they can work depends on the type of visa. If it’s H-1, H-2, or H-3 your spouse and children under age 21 can apply for an H-4 visa. An H-4 visa allows them to live in the U.S. for as long as your visa is valid. Your children are allowed to go to school, but no one in the family can work but you.
If you get an O-1 visa, your spouse and children can apply for an O-3 visa. An O-3 visa allows them to live in the U.S. and go to school, but they can’t get jobs.
If you get an L-1 visa, your spouse and children can apply for L-2 visas. The L-2 visa allows them to live in the U.S. and go to school. Spouses can get a job if they apply and receive an Employment Authorization Document.
I want to work in the United States. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant temporary work visa on my own or does an American company have to sponsor me?
An American company or training program has to sponsor you. That means they turn in a petition and application requesting you get permission to come and work/train with them.
Any company with an IRS Tax Identification Number can sponsor a non-U.S. citizen to come work for them in the U.S., but it’s important they do it correctly. If they make errors in the application, they could be charged with civil or criminal penalties. Companies should ask for help from an immigration lawyer. In certain cases, such as National Interest Waiver, the application does not necessarily require a sponsor.
I am living and working in the United States with a temporary nonimmigrant visa. Can I apply for citizenship in the U.S.?
If you have an H-1B visa, O-1 visa, or L-1 visa you have one more step to take. You need to become a permanent resident, called getting a green card. Permanent residents can apply to be U.S. citizens after they meet certain requirements.
If you have an H1-C, H-2, or H-3 visa, you can’t apply to be a permanent resident. That means you won’t be able to apply for citizenship.
If I sponsor a non-U.S. citizen for an H-1B visa, do I have to give the worker a job for the entire time the visa is valid?
No, you can dismiss the worker for any reason before the visa is expired. But if you do, you have to pay for the worker to return to their home country. Sometimes you also have to pay for the worker’s family to return to their home country, including moving costs.
You can stay and work in the U.S. for three years with an H-1B visa. Sometimes you can get permission to stay for another three years. But after six years, you will have to leave the U.S. and not return for an entire year before you can apply for another H-1B visa.
Disclaimer: Whatever you read in the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) is for your information only and is not legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer for legal advice because each person’s situation is different.
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