Extraordinary Ability Temporary Visa
O-1 Temporary Visas are available to applicants of “extraordinary ability” in the fields of sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This category is quite broad and can be appropriate for such diverse applicants as cutting-edge scientific researchers, professors, innovative corporate executives, jazz musicians, judo instructors, graphic designers, art directors, silk screen artists, gymnastics coaches, and computer software specialists – as long as the applicants can show their extraordinary ability in their respective field. The burden of proof is on the petitioner (O-1 visa applicant); however, there are many creative ways in which to prove extraordinary ability.
Individuals seeking this visa must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability through documentation of sustained national or international acclaim in their field. O-1 petitions have a higher success rate if a beneficiary has received national or international awards, has a record of press reports about their work, authored writings in publications, made original contributions to their field, worked for companies, organizations or on projects with a distinguished reputation, earns a high salary or has other recognized achievements in their field.
In order to qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the applicant must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field. Moreover, the O applicant must be coming to the U.S. to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement.
Those individuals who can qualify for the O-1 Temporary visa can usually also meet the legal standard for the corresponding immigrant classification, the EB-1 (extraordinary ability).
1 Multi-National Executives
The L-1 category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers enter the U.S. as intra-company transferees who are entering temporarily to perform services either in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or which entail specialized knowledge (L-1B) for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad. The employee is required to have been employed abroad by the foreign company (or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof) on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year out of the last three-year period to qualify for the L category. The salary level is not prescribed, but the U.S. income must be sufficient to prevent the alien from becoming a public charge. The maximum period of admission for managers and executives is seven years, with a five-year limit for the specialized knowledge category. Once the L visa is obtained, the applicant may apply for permanent resident status as a first preference multinational manager.
Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of L-1 workers are entitled to L-2 status. Dependent children may be students in the U.S. while remaining in L-2 status, and dependent spouses can receive an Employment Authorization Document, which allows them to work in the U.S.
L-1 Blanket Petition
Companies can transfer a number of foreign employees on short notice as the L-1 blanket petition regulations permit intra-company transferees to apply for L-1 visas directly at U.S. consular facilities abroad without the prior approval by USCIS of an individual petition. To be qualified as a Blanket L-1 petitioner, the petitioner must meet the following requirements:
The petitioner and each of the qualifying entities are engaged in commercial trade or services;
The petitioner has an office in the US that has been doing business for one year or more;
The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
The petitioner and the other qualifying organization have obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives, or a specialized knowledge professional during the previous 12 months; or the U.S. Company had sales of at least a million dollars; or has a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
Canadian citizens may apply directly at a Class A port of entry for L-1 status based on an approved blanket petition by presenting the same documentation as is required for a consular application.
For over 20 years, our team has handle thousands of H1B applications from large companies and small companies. As of right now, there are 65,000 H-1Bs available per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 available for applicants with a U.S. master’s degree. (There are some non-profit, government and education sector jobs that are exempt from the fiscal year cap.) An applicant must have a 4 year bachelor’s degree or 3 years of experience in the specialty field for every year the applicant is lacking college education. For example, if the applicant has two years of college and 6 years of work experience in the specialty field, the applicant qualifies as long the job title is consistent with the applicant’s experience. A specialty occupation must consist of the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation. Typical positions include law, accounting, engineering, architecture, mathematics, physical sciences, business specialties, theology and the arts.
An employer can file an H-1B application 180 days in advance of the start date. Applicants who are seeking an amendment, extension or transfer of their current H-1B visa are not subject to the cap.
An H-1B holder is allowed to have a dual intent (i.e. they can intend to remain permanently in the U.S.). An H-1B can be granted for up to 6 years, and if one full year passes while the applicant is out of the U.S., the applicant can be granted another 6 year H-1B period.
If the H-1B holder has applied for permanent residency through employment, they can extend their H-1B in one year increments if:
one year (365 days) or more have passed since the filing of their labor certification (perm), or
365 days or more have passed since the filing of their I-140 immigrant visa petition
H-1B portability means that an H-1B worker can start working for the new employer upon filing the new H-1B application (they do not need to wait for the approval).