Virginia, US

United States

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Whether your company is sending employees to the United States or expanding outside of the USA to destinations around the world—Fragomen is here to help. Our experienced United States immigration professionals partner with you to develop immigration strategies that help you meet inbound immigration needs and manage your regional or global immigration program.

The U.S. immigration system has two principal categories of foreign nationals: nonimmigrants who enter temporarily, and immigrants who intend to obtain permanent residence. There are a number of distinct employment-based nonimmigrant categories.

Most foreign nationals require a B-1 visa for business visits. B-1 beneficiaries are generally admitted to the U.S. for a period of time necessary to conduct their intended activities, for up to 180 days.  In the current enforcement climate, stays of more than 6 weeks (or 2 weeks for some countries of origin) could subject the applicant to close scrutiny.  B-1 visas can be extended for up to 6 months. Certain citizens are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).   

There are several employment-based non-immigrant visa categories in the U.S. The most common are the H-1B (specialty occupation), L-1 (intra-company transferee), O-1 (extraordinary ability), the TN (Canadian or Mexican professional worker), and the E-1/E-2 (treaty traders/investors). The J-1 category can be employment based, but also involves a cultural exchange component. The visa's validity period usually corresponds to the period of authorized stay. An exception is the E visa for treaty traders/investors, which normally has a 5 year visa validity period but a period of authorized stay of 2 years.  Work visas may be extended if the underlying status is extended.    

Note that consular officers have the discretion to require enhanced security checks of any visa or work permit applicant.  Medical exams are generally only required of permanent residence applicants; however, business or work visa applicants who have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol may be required to undergo a medical exam. 

 

KNOW YOUR OBLIGATIONS

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States are subject to strict security procedures at U.S. consulates, embassies and ports of entry, which may have a significant effect on entry to the United States. After entry, they have numerous obligations and responsibilities they must fulfill to maintain their status. Our Know Your Obligations section provides guidance on procedures, including visa issuance at U.S. consulates and embassies, security screening, and the immigration obligations of foreign nationals traveling to and staying in the United States. 

Though it is not possible to detail every immigration procedure and obligation, foreign nationals should be aware of some general guidelines for international travel, each of which is discussed in more detail here.

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