Temporary Entry

Temporary

There are several ways in which an individual may apply for temporary and permanent status in the United States. A few of the commonly utilized visa categories are outlined below. This information is meant as an overview and is not in any way a detailed analysis of United States immigration law.

Temporary Visas (Non-Immigrants)

E Category ( Treaty Investors and Traders )

Nationals of certain countries that have entered into treaties containing treaty trader or investor provisions with the United States are eligible for this category of visa. For a list of the countries that have entered into a treaty with the US please click here.

Investors

To obtain an investor visa, an individual or corporation must place a substantial amount of funds at risk in a United States enterprise. This investment cannot be marginal. To demonstrate the investment is not marginal, the applicant must show that the return on the investment does more than simply provide a living for her/him. There is no maximum or minimum amount of funds that needs to be invested; it wholly depends upon the type of business entered into. Also, a certain proportion of the total investment must come directly from the investor and not be secured against the assets of the enterprise in the United States.

Traders

To obtain a trader visa, the applicant must demonstrate that the U.S. enterprise is involved in a substantial amount of trade with the applicant’s country of nationality. This usually means that more than 50% of the U.S. operation’s trade is with the country of nationality.

H-1B Category (Specialty Occupations)

A person may make application under the Immigration and Nationality Act as an applicant who is coming to perform services in a specialty occupation. Such a person must be “clearly professional.” This means that s/he must possess either a baccalaureate degree, have amassed the equivalent employment experience or a combination of the two. An individual who is “clearly professional” includes for example, accountants, lawyers, doctors, engineers, management consultants and systems analysts. This list is not exhaustive. Before filing a petition for an H-1B applicant, the United States employer must obtain approval of a labour condition application from the Department of Labor in the occupational specialty in which s/he will be employed.

L-1 Category (Intra-Company Transfer)

 

An applicant who, within the three years preceding his/her application, has been employed abroad for one continuous year by a company may be admitted temporarily to the United States to be employed by a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of that company in a managerial or executive capacity or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. This category is extremely useful as it is ultimately easier to obtain permanent resident status in the United States if one is initially an intra-company transferee in a managerial or executive capacity.

O Category ( Extra-Ordinary Ability )

 

A qualified individual may be authorized to come to the United States to perform services relating to an event or events if petitioned for by an employer. Under this category, s/he may be identified as a person who has extra-ordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or who has demonstrated a record of extra-ordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.

P Category ( Athletes or Entertainment Groups )

 

An individual may be authorized to come to the United States temporarily to perform services for an employer or sponsor if the applicant is coming to the United States to perform services as an internationally recognized athlete, member of an internationally recognized entertainment group or to perform an integral and essential part in the performance.

Religious Workers

 

An individual may be authorized to come to the United States temporarily to perform services for an employer or sponsor if the applicant is coming to the United States to perform services as an internationally recognized athlete, member of an internationally recognized entertainment group or to perform an integral and essential part in the performance.

Carrying on the vocation of a minister of that religious denomination;

Working for the organization at the organization’s request in a professional capacity;
or

In a religious vocation or occupation for the organization or a bona fide organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination and is exempt from taxation. All three types of religious workers must have been performing the vocation, professional or other work continuously for at least the two-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition. There is no labour certification required for this category

TN Category (Canadian or Mexican Professional)

 

Canadian or Mexican citizens engaging in professional activities will be granted admission to the United States for a period of up to three years. To qualify, an applicant must be engaged in one of the professions set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA. In addition, the applicant must present documentation including an offer of employment and evidence of qualification in one of the professions.