FAQ: Can I petition for myself for the O visa?

It is absolutely possible to petition for yourself, especially if you are working in a profession that is traditionally occupied by independent contractors. Some examples of these professions are hair dressers, make-up artists, painters, musicians, to name a few.

What do I need to do before getting started on my petition?

You should find one of your “clients” to act as an Agent for you, to represent all the clients that you will have here in the U.S. This particular client will have to sign a short agent-principal agreement, which our law firm will draft for you, as well as create an itinerary for your time here on the O Visa. He/she will also provide the signature as the “petitioner” on the application. Read More

VisaScreen Certificates for Healthcare Professionals

When applying for temporary visas to work in the U.S., USCIS requires many foreign national healthcare professionals to get VisaScreen certificates to certify that their degrees fits the requirements of the visa that they are seeking. The temporary visas that require this certificate are the E-3 Australian Specialty Occupation Professionals, H-1Bs, O-1s, and TNs. The certificate is also required for the employment-based immigrant visas (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3). The healthcare workers to which this requirement applies are Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists, Medical Technologists, Medical Technicians (general), and Physicians Assistants. The reason for this requirement is because, for many of these professions, other countries could require less than the U.S. degree requirements in order to practice in the field. Therefore, VisaScreen Certificates, like the degree equivalency certificates, certifies that the professional is qualified to practice in the U.S. under that specific profession because their coursework is the same as that of a higher degree in the U.S.  However, note that even if a foreign national obtained the healthcare degree in the U.S., in order to apply for any work visa, he/she would still have to obtain the VisaScreen Certificate. Read More

J-1 Visa: Foreign Residency Requirement, No Objection Statement (China) and Exceptional Hardship Waiver

We recently worked on a J-1 Visa case where the young lady came here from China on a J-1 Visa, married a U.S. Citizen, and is now seeking a waiver for her foreign residency requirement. The wonderful thing is that J-1 Visas are a good substitute for the overused H-1B, as long as the employer hires through a sponsoring organization. This topic is beyond the scope of this blog, but please contact us if you are interested in finding out how you can do this. Read More

Exceptions to the H-1B Six-Year Limit Under American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 (AC21)

My previous post, Is My Potential Employee Cap-Exempt?, explains the six-year limitation for an employee working under H-1B and the concept of recapturing unused time. This is a follow-up to explain the options that may be available for those H-1B employees that are approaching the end of their six years or have exhausted their six years.

American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 (AC21) has two important implications for H-1B employees: (1) a “one-time” protection for H-1B employees by extending their H-1B visa in 3 year increments if the I-140 has been approved under section 104(c), and (2) one-year extensions are available if prior to the exhaustion of the beneficiary’s H-1B time, the beneficiary’s PERM application or the I-140 petition had been pending for more than 365 days under section 106(c). Read More

H-3 Visa As An Alternative to H-1B

As promised in my tweet earlier, here is a report on the H-3 visa as an alternative to H-1B. First of all, special thanks to Margaret Holland-Sparages, a Senior Associate at Deutsch Williams, for sharing your experience and knowledge with the attendees. It really is a great and under-utilized program and I will very likely be suggesting this program to those of my clients that are concerned about the H-1B quota and the H-1B rejections. Below is a brief background of the program and why this program should be considered. Read More

Pokémon Go, the Masuda Method, and Immigration

Pokémon Go was released a little less than two weeks ago and it is already the most reported subject in the history of Google.  I am a Millennial, and like many Millennials out there, we were the first to learn of these mythical creatures almost 20 years ago.  We have all dreamed of one day capturing them all.  Today, that dream is almost a reality.  These little pocket monsters simply show up in front of us when we turn on our phones! Read More

Is My Potential H1B Employee Cap-Exempt?

As our law firm begins to accept and work on new H1B petitions, many of which are filed subject to the 65,000 cap, it is important to remember that potential employees with petitions filed within the last 6 years could have their H1Bs refiled cap-exempt. Taking advantage of this exemption could provide H1B-dependent employers with unparalleled benefits when continuing to employee or when hiring a foreign national. Read More