What Are The H-1B, L1, And Family Immigration Visas?
When it comes to dealing with immigration issues, the number of travel and work visa categories can get very confusing. Below, we discuss some of the different visas and processes available to you and your family:
H-1B Work Visas
H-1B Work Visas are non-immigrant visas that allow companies to employ foreign workers in “specialty” occupations – typically those that require technical expertise, such as accounting, architecture, engineering, finance, IT, math, medicine, science, and related fields. These visas work on a sponsorship basis, meaning that they can only be issued once a U.S. employer follows very specific sponsorship regulations. Workers with these visas can remain in the U.S. for three years – with the possibility for an additional three-year extension – to total six years maximum. This time period can also be interrupted; in other words, the individual can leave the U.S. without losing time towards the six-year maximum.
L1 Transfer Visas
This visa program constitutes a temporary transfer of a foreign worker in a specialized category (the “L1B”)—or executive or managerial (the “L1A”)—to the U.S. to continue their employment with a related branch, affiliate, subsidiary, etc. of an employer they already work for. This type of visa typically only takes between two and four months to obtain (if it is a “normal” L1 visa), or between one and three weeks for an L1 already covered by “blanket approval.” They are initially issued for three years, but extendable for up to five years maximum. In addition, before applying for an L1, the individual must have already been employed outside of the U.S. for at least one year.
Family Immigration visas
There are two groups of Family Immigration visas, including family preference and immediate relatives. These visas are governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act, and are based on a close relationship between a U.S. citizen and the individual seeking the visa.
The immediate relative categories include the following:
- IR-1: For spouses;
- IR-2: For unmarried children under age 21;
- IR-3: For orphans adopted by U.S. citizens;
- IR-4: For orphans to be adopted by U.S. citizens; and
- IR-5: For parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old.
The family preference categories include:
- F1 (Family First Preference): For unmarried daughters, sons, and their minor children, of U.S. citizens;
- F2 (Family Second Preference): For children, spouses, unmarried daughters, and unmarried sons (21 or older) of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR);
- F3 (Family Third Preference): For married daughters, married sons, and their minor children and spouses, of U.S. citizens; and
- F4 (Family Fourth Preference): For brothers and sisters—as well as their minor children and spouses—of U.S. citizens, where the citizens are at least 21 years old.
North Carolina Immigration Attorneys Serving Franklin, Granville, Vance, and Warren Counties
Immigration law is a highly technical, specialized area of the law that requires working with an attorney who has the specific experience to ensure that each regulation is closely followed. Contact the Henderson, North Carolina office of Hauter Law Firm, PC today to find out how our immigration attorneys can help you and your loved ones with any immigration-related issues.