foreign national home loans :: foreign national mortgages :: foreign national loans    

   foreign national home loans :: foreign national mortgages :: foreign national loans


foreign national home loans :: foreign national mortgages :: foreign national loans



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An Overview of U.S. Non-Immigrant Business Visas

With the exception of the "million dollar investor" category, most individuals seeking to live permanently in the United States must first enter through a temporary visa. The United States Government refers to such visas as "nonimmigrant visas," and these range from the routine B-1/B-2 Tourists/Business Visa to highly specialized categories for entertainers, artists and multi-national employees.

What follows below is a very brief summary of each of the visa categories. The purpose of these summaries are to assist you in evaluating whether you may be eligible for any particular working visa in the United States. Please bear in mind that the immigration laws are under constant change and that some of the information contained herein may or may not apply to the specific facts of your particular case.

The "Business Visitor" visa is the most commonly utilized category for persons initiating business activity in the United States. (B-1 visa applications rarely require the assistance of an attorney.) The visa is issued upon the merits of the individual applying; ordinarily, it is not necessary to retain counsel in applying for a B-1 visa. The B-1 allows an individual to incorporate in the U.S., acquire property, sign contracts, etc.; it precludes the individual from directly managing any U.S. business or in any way receiving wages from a U.S. source, even if self-owned.

The "Intracompany Transferee" category is available to individuals who either own or are employees of a foreign corporation in which they have worked for at least one of the prior three years, in an executive, managerial, or specialized-knowledge capacity. The employer must be a U.S. corporation related directly, in any one of a variety of ways, to the foreign company. The L-1 visa carries a maximum approval of seven years, but is perhaps the most direct conduit to permanent residency in the United States.

The "Treaty Trader" category is available to individuals from nations which have signed a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States. The Treaty Trader visa is available for an unlimited number of years and allows the spouse and minor dependents of the recipient to live and attend school in the United States. While many large corporations involved in import/export utilize the category, it is most frequently used by small to mid-size companies seeking a permanent trading presence in the United States.

Like the E-1, the E-2 "Treaty Investor" allows a foreign individual or corporation to invest actively in a U.S. business and remain in the U.S. while operating and managing it. Like the E-1, it has no limit on the number of years and does not require an unabandoned foreign residence. The Treaty Investor visa is not limited to any particular type of business and it can include restaurants, manufacturing, and virtually any other type of activity permissible by law.

O Visa
The O visa is set aside for aliens of " extraordinary" ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members. The fundamental requirement for an O visa is to have reached the top of the profession or endeavor for which the alien seeks admittance into the United States. The beneficiary of an O visa may remain in the States until the event, project or activity for which the alien is admitted is completed. The initial period of stay can be sought for three years and thereafter one year increments may be sought to complete the activity, event or project. An employer must petition for the O alien; the petition must be submitted only after the employer consults with a peer group, labor organization, or management organization regarding the work to be performed and the alien's qualifications. In most cases the consultation takes the form of a written advisory opinion from a peer group.

P Visa
The P visa category covers those entertainers and athletes who cannot qualify under the extraordinary ability standard of the O category. The category covers alien athletes who compete individually or as part of a team at an internationally recognized level and aliens who perform with or, are an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has received international recognition as "outstanding" for a "sustained and substantial period of time."

NOTE: This web site does NOT provide legal advice. For information only. You should consult a qualified legal advisor on any immigration issue.


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