Work Permits for the USA

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The Green Card is the official document issued by the US Immigration Service (USCIS) to foreign nationals granting them permanent residency in the USA. This allows the holder to live and work in the United States of America.

 

Obtaining a Green Card in the USA

 
Generally, the process takes three steps when applying through employment:
  • Labour Certification
  • Filing an Immigrant Petition (usually Form I-140)
  • The Permanent Residence Application
 
Expats can live in the USA under a non-immigrant visa while their immigrant visa is being processed; alternatively, they can wait in their home country until final approval, at which point they would emigrate. The waiting period, which is quite varied, will depend on the skill level each person is classified under. Before expats can apply for the Green Card, a US company must file the application petitioning an expat employee. 
 
The Green Card can also be obtained through family members who are either US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders).
 

Employment based non-immigrant visas


Non-immigrant visas allow applicants to reside in the US while processing their Green Card. There are numerous types of visas in this category. Here are the most commonly used.
 

H-1 visa               

H-1 visas are for skilled international professionals who want to live and work in America on a long-term basis. As these are non-immigrant visas, they are often quicker to obtain than a Green Card, thus they are ideal for those looking to work in the US for a long duration, but not permanently. In order to qualify for this visa, expats must have a US company sponsor their application or petition on their behalf. 
 

L visa

Available for international companies that wish to expand operations into the United States or who have an existing branch in the US that they wish to transfer an employee to. This visa is one of the most popular.

It can lead to permanent residency and is relatively easy to obtain with the right documentation and presentation. Expats would need to be transferred from a company’s offices in their home country to an office in the USA.
 

E-5 visa

This requires a direct financial investment into a new or existing business. The minimum funds required for the investment are either USD 500,000 or USD 1 million depending on the geographic area where the applicant plans to set up their business operations. The expat's new company can then sponsor their Green Card application.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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