Overview of Common Visas

Common Visas


Employer Transferable

Bachelors Degree

Current Student

H-1B

Long-term but not permanent work authorization/visa sponsored by employer. First time applicants subject to H-1 Cap. Once employee receives Cap Approval, future H-1s can be filed any time of year.

Sponsor Cost

~$4-5k

depending on size of employer

Application Timing

early April

(first timers), October authorization

Allowed Time In US

3 years per filing, 6 years maximum

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
The number of H-1B apps set new records this year, resulting in a significant number of filings that didn’t make the lottery. One suggestion for employers is to set their sights on candidates who already hold H-1B status as those remain transferable.

H-1B1

Visa that provides additional space within the normal H-1B Cap for citizens of Singapore and Chile. Available even when regular H-1B Cap has been met. Applicants apply directly at consulate in home country.

Sponsor Cost
~$4-5k, depending on size of employer

Application Timing

anytime

Allowed Time In US

3 years per filing, 6 years maximum

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*

This is a category that can be used to work around H-1B limitations caused by the regular quota. Pay attention to candidates from Singapore and Chile. Although per country quotas have never been met, there’s a limit for both.

TN

NAFTA based visa that allows college grads (and in some cases those without a degree/diploma) from Mexico and Canada to work in the U.S. for a 1 or 3 year period depending on country of origin.

Sponsor Cost
$50 at the border; $1k-$1.5k legal fees

Application Timing

anytime

Allowed Time In US

1 year for Mexicans;
3 years for Canadians

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
This is the most efficient and quick work authorized visa status to prepare, but it also has significant discretion on the part of the individual CBP officer. Many officers require a high level of specificity to avoid trying a NAFTA application without counsel.

E-3

Visa based on treaty between the U.S. and Australia that allows Australians to quickly and easily obtain work authorization visas. This is a hybrid between an H-1 and TN.

Sponsor Cost
$1.3K-$1.7k, depending on size of employer

Application Timing

anytime

Allowed Time In US

2 years per filing, renewable indefinitely

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
Similar to the TN and H-1B1, this is another good workaround to the H-1B option when the quota for available H-1Bs has been gobbled up. The 10k per year quota has never been met.

F-1

Short-term student visa: while in a program, student may get temporary work allowance. After the student graduates, they have 12 months or up to 36 months in an “OPT” period to find an employer to sponsor an H-1B.

Sponsor Cost
$380 work with school on filing this visa; $2k for extensions

Application Timing

Upon completion of core curriculum or in the four months prior to graduation. School must approve.

Allowed Time In US

12 months
regular OPT

36 months
for STEM grads working for eVerify employer

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
Given the limited supply of H-1B visas, more students are staying on F-1 OPT longer and at times moving from an F-1 to permanent residence and bypassing some of the common steps involving a switch to H-1B status before starting the green card process.

J-1

Temporary visa for training or internship purposes. For some countries, there’s a requirement that you go home for 2 years after the training/internship has ended.

Sponsor Cost
$4k-5.5k, depending on size of employer

Application Timing

depends

apply early!

Allowed Time In US

12 months
max for interns

18 months
max for trainees

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
If you’re hiring a professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, or specialist for a role, they should be reviewed for J-1 consideration as a workaround to H-1B visa unavailability.

O-1

Visa for people who are truly extraordinary based on specific talents in their field of expertise.

Sponsor Cost
$5.5k-6.5k

Application Timing

up to 6 months in advance of start date, or for an immediate start

Allowed Time In US

3 years
after filing

1 year
extensions available

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
If you’re hiring a Ph.D data scientist who has patents, publications, and a track record of success in their field, they should be reviewed for O-1 consideration as a work around to H-1B visa unavailability.

L-1

Visa that allows for transfer of specialized employees or managers/executives after 1 year of service abroad to foreign affiliate.

Sponsor Cost
$3-4.5k

Application Timing

anytime

Allowed Time In US

1-3 years initial filing

5-7 years total

*EMPLOYER TAKEAWAY*
New U.S. office Ls get 1 year initially; L-1A for managers/executives, L-1B for specialized knowledge workers. No quota.

Contact us for a worry-free and efficient process for handling your foreign national employee status issues.