Treaties between the United States and certain other countries allow nationals of those countries to come here to develop and direct an investment in the United States or to conduct trade with the United States. A treaty trader must conduct “substantial” trade between the treaty country and the United States. A treaty investor must make a “substantial” investment in the United States. There is no limit on the period of stay in treaty investor or treaty trader status, as long as the investment or trade continues.
The E-3 visa classification allows professionals from Australia who have a job offer in a specialty occupation from a U.S. employer to work here. The U.S. employer must pay the prevailing wage. The employment does not have to be related to international trade or investment.
The H-1B visa requires a job offer from a United States employer for a position that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a “specialty occupation.” Specialty occupations include positions in the fields of computer science, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine, business specialties, accounting, law, the arts, and many teaching positions. You may have the equivalent of a college degree based on a combination of education and work experience. The U.S. employer must pay the prevailing wage for the position. H-1B status is available for a total of six years.
The L-1 visa allows companies to transfer executives, managers, or specialized knowledge employees to the company’s U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. The L-1 can also be used to open a new office in the United States. The employee being transferred must have been employed abroad as an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee for at least one year within the previous three years, and be coming to the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity, but does not have to do the same work in the United States that he or she was doing abroad. Executives and managers (L-1A) are eligible to stay in the U.S. for up to seven years. Specialized knowledge employees (L-1B) are eligible to stay in the U.S. for up to five years. Executives and managers may be eligible to apply for permanent residency after one year in L-1A classification.
This classification is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim. These persons have risen to the very top in their field, and there must be extensive documentation recognizing their achievements. They must continue to work in their area of extraordinary ability in the U.S., but their work in the U.S. does not have to be at a level requiring extraordinary ability.
A foreign national who for the previous two years has been a member of a religious denomination having a bona-fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. may work for the religious organization in the U.S. as a minister, or religious professional or worker. R-1 classification is available for up to 5 years.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), nationals of Canada and Mexico may come to the U.S. to engage in “business activities at a professional level” for a U.S. entity. The eligible professionals are listed in the NAFTA treaty, and include accountants, engineers, graphic designers, hotel managers, lawyers, management consultants, dietitians, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physicians, nurses, biologists, meteorologists, physicists, or teachers.