HOUSTON BUSINESS IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS
Do You Qualify For Business Immigration
Business immigration can be complicated – and for many employers, the best solution is to work with an immigration attorney who understands and stays up-to-date on the law.
The U.S. government offers a wide range of business visas, each with a different purpose and period of stay, which is why working with a Houston business immigration lawyer is the best choice you can make.
Do You Need an Attorney for Business Immigration Cases?
Most employers choose to work with a Houston business immigration attorney for one simple reason: Business immigration is incredibly complex, and regulations, requirements and rules are subject to change at any time.
Because it’s so important to get things right when your company hires a foreign worker, the smart choice is typically to work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Your company – and your workers – deserve it.
We are your business immigration attorneys of choice in Houston and surrounding areas.
Common Business Immigration Pathways
The United States government offers several types of business visas, each with its own purpose and period of stay. Some of the most common business immigration pathways include:
- B visas are typically reserved for people coming to the U.S. for a short period of time. This may be the right type of visa to choose if you’re using it to attend a conference or engage in business for the short-term.
- E visas, commonly called Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas, are designed for people who are coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they’ve invested a substantial amount of capital.
- H visas are temporary worker visas, and they’re divided into several categories that depend on the person’s purpose for coming to the United States. These visas are available to people in specialty occupations, those working in the agricultural sector on a temporary basis and people seeking job training.
- L visas are available to people who are transferring within the same company, such as working at a branch, parent company, affiliate or subsidiary.
- O visas are for people of extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics or motion pictures or television.
- P visas are available to athletes, artists and entertainers, provided that the people applying are coming to the United States to perform at specific competitions, participate in reciprocal exchange programs, or to teach, perform or coach under culturally unique programs.
- Q visas are for those who will be participating in practical training and employment through an international cultural exchange program.
Business Visas for Entrepreneurs
The United States welcomes entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria, and the government offers several visa categories for people who want to come to the U.S. to start a business.
Generally, you can be part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa program if you invest a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business (and the minimum amount is always subject to change, so to learn the current amount, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney). Other types of investor visas are available, such as the E-2 visa, which is open to people from specific countries who wish to invest $100,000 in a new business in the United States.
If you’re interested in starting a business or moving your existing business to the United States, you have other options, as well – and an attorney can guide you through each of them to help determine your next steps.
If you or your family members has been put into deportation processing, you should find experienced counsel to help
Who is Eligible for a Business Visa?
The eligibility criteria for each type of business visa is different, but generally speaking, you must prove to the U.S. government that your purpose for coming to the United States is to work in a specific job or profession, that you intend to leave when your visa expires, and that you have the means to do so.
Employers must typically prove that they have the financial means to hire and pay workers, and that they have enough physical space to conduct business in the United States.
However, each type of business visa is a bit different, so the requirements will vary based on the business, the worker and other factors. One thing remains true across the board, though: U.S.-based businesses must complete the labor certification process before they can be approved to hire foreign workers.
What is the Labor Certification?
The U.S. Department of Labor requires businesses to certify several things before any immigration application can proceed. The U.S. employer must prove that there are no minimally qualified workers to fill a specific position, which is the reason for bringing in foreign talent, as well as certify that:
- The employee will be a full-time employee
- The position is permanent, not temporary (there are specific visas available to hire seasonal or temporary foreign workers)
- The minimum educational and experience requirements must be the same as those customarily required for the position (they cannot be tailored to the employee’s personal background) and that the requirements are not “unduly restrictive”
- The wage is the prevailing wage or actual wage – what other employers pay for the same job position
Business Immigration FAQ
Business immigration laws are always subject to change, which is why many employers choose to work with attorneys to bring in foreign workers, open new branches in the United States, or even invest in existing companies.
Because the laws can change quickly, it’s important to work with a lawyer who stays up-to-date on current immigration law – and who is always willing to answer your questions about the process.
Here are a number of our most common business immigration questions with current answers, but if you don’t see what you’re looking for here, please feel free to call our office and set up a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney.
How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a Business Visa?
Every business visa is different, and each comes with its own initial period of stay.
Some visas, such as B visas for short-term business trips, allow you to stay in the United States for a very short time, while others allow you to stay for several years.
Generally, visas have an initial period of stay that you can extend if it becomes necessary.
For example, some L visas allow a maximum initial stay of three years, but you can extend for a total of seven years if necessary.
Is There an Investor Visa to Come to the United States?
There are several investor visas that may make it possible for you to come to the United States. Investment amounts can vary based on the type of visa you’re using, and they’re subject to change, so it’s a good idea to talk to a Houston attorney about an investor visa if that’s a path you’re interested in pursuing.
Can You Become a U.S. Citizen After Obtaining a Business Visa?
In some cases, you can become a U.S. citizen after you obtain a business visa. A visa for a short-term business trip isn’t going to qualify you for eventual U.S. citizenship, but some types of investor visas will.
Can Your Family Come With You if You Move to the U.S. for Business?
Family members may be allowed to come with you if you move to the U.S. for business. Generally, only immediate family members qualify, such as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. Family members must meet all admissibility criteria to come to the United States, which means they must be eligible for immigration on their own and not only because they’re coming with a sponsor. Additionally, family members typically have to apply in a different visa category than the sponsor does.
In most cases, approved family members are granted the same period of stay that the sponsor receives; that means if the sponsor is granted a two-year period of stay, his or her approved family members will be granted the same. If the sponsor has to extend his or her visa, the family members will also have to extend.
How Much Does Business Immigration Cost?
Employers typically pay the cost of immigration visas for their workers, and the cost can vary greatly. Every type of visa application has its own fees, and employers may be subject to additional fees, as well.
It’s best to talk to an attorney about your specific situation to find out what filing fees your company will have to pay to bring in foreign workers, expand your business into the United States, or participate in a business immigration program.