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.
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.