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Immigration is the probably the most tricky and frustrating part of a job search for people who are outside their country of citizenship.  The main work visas in the U.S. are:

The H-1B is a non-immigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation.  The current law limits the number of aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status to 65,000.

  • 65,000 regular cap cases minus the Chile/Singapore cap cases received.
  • Chile/ Singapore H-1B1s.
  • 20,000 cap exemption for beneficiaries with U.S. Masters or higher degrees.
  • Exempt (for petitions filed by certain institutions of higher education; their affiliated non-profit research organizations or governmental research organizations, as defined in USCIS regulations).

Under current law, an alien can be in H-1B status for a maximum period of six years at a time. After that time an alien must remain outside the United States for one year before another H-1B petition can be approved. Spouses or unmarried minor children are classified as H-4 dependents and are ineligible to work.

The L classification applies to intracompany transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for 12 months, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

Total Time Limit in Status for Executive or Manager:  7 years 
Total Time Limit in Status for Specialized Knowledge Employee:  5 years

Permanent Residency (Green Card)
You may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States.  Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, for you.

In general, there must be a visa available before you can apply for a green card.  In some categories, visas are always available, while in others, there are a limited number. Priority dates are given to immigrants waiting in line to get an immigrant visa and determine when a visa becomes available.

Other Options
There may be other options for you depending on your individual circumstances.  You can make an appointment with your Career Advisor to get more information and ideas.