H-2B Visas for Temporary Non-Agricultural Jobs at Hotels, Ski Resorts, Landscaping Companies, and Entertainment Companies

ski instructorThe H-2B program permits United States employers and agents to bring foreign nationals to the United States for the purposes of filling temporary, non-agricultural jobs.  An H-2B visa is generally used for non-specialty employees who will fulfill a temporary, seasonal, peak-time, or one time employment position.  The H-2B classification is commonly used by employers such as hotel resorts, ski resorts, landscaping companies, and entertainment companies that have a regular, temporary need for trained, unskilled labor.

The H-2B application process involves multiple steps and two separate government organizations: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Labor. Continue reading

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Visa Options for Fashion Models (O-1B, H-1B3, and P-3 Visas)

NYFW 2Do you dream of walking down the runway at New York Fashion Week?  Are you interested in becoming a brand ambassador for a prestigious luxury brand?  Whether you’ve mastered the catwalk or discovered your niche in commercial modelling, several visa options are available depending on your level of achievement and reason for coming to the U.S.

Fashion models typically enter the U.S. in one of two ways— the O-1B visa (for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement) or the H-1B visa (for Specialty Occupations, Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models).  The majority of fashion models will apply for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, while a third option for models is the P-3 visa (for Artists and Entertainers who are Participating in a Culturally Unique Program).

H-1B3 Visa for Fashion Models

Melbourne-Model-Casting-Call-3-EditTo qualify for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, you must be a fashion model of “prominence” and the model must possess distinguished merit or ability. Continue reading

O-1B Visa for Artists or Actors with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the Arts or Motion Pictures

filmmakerCalling all talented artists and actors!  Are you an actor trying to make a breakthrough in Hollywood?  Or perhaps you are a renowned violinist, famous choreographer, or an award-winning pastry chef?  If you excel in your field of arts or the motion picture industry, you may be eligible for the O-1B visa.  The O-1B visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry who will perform in the U.S. in an event or project associated with this ability.

The O-1 visa can be an alternative to the highly competitive H-1B visa (for skilled workers in specialty fields), which in recent years has reached its annual cap of 65,000 visas within days after opening the program.  Unlike the H-1B visa, the O-1 visa has no annual limit on the number of visas available, it can be filed year-round, and the length of stay can be extended indefinitely based on the time required to complete a project or event.

Individuals who are essential to the O-1 applicant’s successful performance in the U.S. may apply for an O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 visa application. Continue reading

Q-1 Visa is an Opportunity to Share Your Culture through an Employer’s International Exchange Program

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Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/2ur8zu2

Are you interested in sharing your home country’s cultures and traditions while working in the U.S.?  Are you an employer interested in obtaining approval for an exchange program in your company so that you can hire international employees on a Q-1 visa?

If so, the Q-1 visa may be available to meet your company’s specific needs for international employees.  Known as the “Disney visa” because it was originally designed by Disney to meet their need for “cultural representatives” to work in Epcot World Showcase, the Q-1 visa is for individuals wishing to participate in an international exchange program administered by an employer.  It is most popularly utilized to obtain short-term employment with Disney and used by some hotel chains to temporarily employ chefs. Continue reading

Professional Athletes, Gamers, and Entertainers who are Internationally Recognized are Eligible for the P-1 Visa

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Photo courtesy of http://lat.ms/2vEE8z5

The P-1 visa is a viable alternative for athletes and entertainers who may not meet the “extraordinary ability or achievement” requirement of the O-1 visas.  If you are an internationally recognized athlete coming to the U.S. to perform individually or as part of a team, you may be eligible for the P-1A visa. Professional athletes from a wide range of sports including soccer, taekwondo, and online gamers receive P-1A visas.

If you are an entertainer who is part of an internationally recognized entertainment group coming to the U.S. to perform with the group or are joining an internationally recognized entertainment group in the U.S., you may be eligible for the P-1B visa. Examples of a P-1B visa recipient are foreign artists who perform at a SXSW festival, a group of stage actors, and circus performers.

Continue reading

Visa Options for Entrepreneurs and Recent Grads: H-1B Visa through Global Entrepreneur in Residence and J-1 Visa for International Student Entrepreneurs through University Exchange Programs

In the absence of an official “startup visa”, and in lieu of the International Entrepreneur Parole Rule, which has now been postponed until March 2018, organizations and programs exist that help entrepreneurs from around the world establish their businesses in the U.S.  These programs are generally geared towards assisting international students who have developed a technology or innovation with launching a start-up in the U.S. that creates high-paying jobs.

H-1B Visa through the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

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Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Global EIR) is an organization that helps international entrepreneurs gain access to visas to come to the U.S. to build their businesses and create local jobs by partnering with universities.  A university will sponsor a foreign-born entrepreneur for a H-1B visa (which is not subject to the H-1B visa lottery and quota) to work on campus to provide mentoring to students, review business proposals, or teach classes.  This is a tremendous benefit, as an H-1B applicant had a one in four chance of making it through the lottery in 2017 before the application could be reviewed by USCIS on its merits. While working for the university, the entrepreneur continues to build his or her business in the U.S.  After 6-18 months, this option could lead to an O-1 visa and Green Card.

The Global EIR currently has a presence in 13 colleges and universities across four states, including the following schools: University of Alaska, Anchorage; Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage; Babson College, Boston; University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Missouri, St. Louis; and San Jose State University.

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P-2 and P-3 Visas for Performers, Artists, and Entertainers in Reciprocal Exchange Programs and Culturally Unique Programs

USA flag pin in international collectionIf you are coming to the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach under a reciprocal exchange program or a culturally unique program, you may be eligible for a P-2 or P-3 visa.

P-2: Performer or Group Performing under Reciprocal Exchange Program

The P-2 visa is available for individual and group performers coming to the U.S. to perform as part of a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.  Essential support personnel such as trainers or stagehands who are an integral part of the artist’s performance are also eligible for a P-2 visa.

Length of Stay:  Initial period is the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year.  Extensions may be granted for increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Continue reading

Travel Ban Update: U.S. State Department Issues New Guidelines Involving Close, Existing Relationships Within U.S.

by Raj Rathour, Esq. and Jennifer Grady, Esq.

trumpOn June 29, 2017, the U.S. State Department began implementing President Trump’s new visa criteria based in Executive Order 13780. The revised criteria bars U.S. entry for 90 days, for citizens without prior connections to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Stemming from a highly publicized decision by the Supreme Court, the current preliminary injunction has been narrowed to allow only “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”. Current controversy revolves around the specific language, bona fide relationship,” and the potential for its interpretation of federal courts and officials.

Bona Fide Relationship

auditOn May 25, 2017, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of Executive Order 13780, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, which was an executive order signed by United States’ President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017.  That order placed limits on travel to the U.S. from certain countries, and by all refugees who do not possess either a visa or valid travel documents. According to its terms, it revoked and replaced the original travel bar Executive Order 13769, which was issued on January 27, 2017. Continue reading

Anthony Mance, Esq. to Lead Immigration Department at The Grady Firm, P.C.

anthony-headshotThe Grady Firm, P.C. is pleased to announce that Anthony Mance, Esq., has been selected to lead its international immigration practice.  Over the last three years as an of-counsel attorney to the firm, Mr. Mance has helped dozens of clients obtain citizenship, a Green Card, or a visa based on family relations, employment, or investment. Specifically, he and Jennifer Grady, Esq. have submitted successful H-1B, F-1, OPT extension, J-1, E-2, L-1A, O-1, H-4, TN, EB-3, and EB-1 applications on their clients’ behalf.

Mr. Mance is an attorney with nearly a decade of experience in immigration and business law with which he has assisted individuals and businesses with the complexities of the immigration process.  Utilizing his knowledge of international policy, immigration law, business law and finance, Mr. Mance counsels his clients in a wide variety of personal and business ventures, and specializes in helping foreign entrepreneurs establish new businesses and careers in the United States, including corporate setup.  Mr. Mance’s clients include individuals, business owners, investors, institutes of higher education, non-profit organizations, and religious organizations.         Continue reading

The Grady Firm Attends World Trade Week Breakfast With Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as Keynote Speaker

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Former UK Prime Minster Tony Blair Addresses the Audience on his international efforts to combat religious extremism, and Trump’s First 100 days

On May 4, 2017, Jennifer Grady attended the 92nd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast, hosted by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, California.  The event was attended by over 900 people connected to international business and trade in Los Angeles.

The keynote speakers were Mayor Eric Garcetti; Jack Dangermond, the billionaire founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI); and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.   Mayor Garcetti discussed what makes Los Angeles one of the premier places to do business in the world, and his hopes to make Los Angeles the site of the 2024 Olympics.  Mr. Dangermond explained how the use of interactive maps are changing the world as we know it, even in response to the international refugee crisis.

Mr. Blair explained his efforts to combat religious extremism, and commented on President Trump’s First 100 Days in Office: he wants President Trump to succeed, as his success is the US and Britain’s success.  Since leaving office, Mr. Blair has spent most of his time on work in the Middle East, Africa, and on the fight against religiously-based extremism. Continue reading

The Grady Firm Speaks USC Gould Law School LLM Students

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Jennifer Grady and Andrea Graef

On April 11, 2017, business and immigration attorneys, Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Andrea Graef, JD, LLM, spoke to a group of foreign lawyers who are earning a Masters in Law (LLM degree) from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in downtown Los Angeles, California.

As a licensed attorney from Mexico and a alumna of the program, Ms. Graef spoke to the students about her experience transitioning from student to attorney, and how proper planning is essential to obtaining a job and work visa upon graduation.  one of the more popular strategies for recent LLM graduates is to use the one year available of Optional Practical Training (OPT), and apply for an H-1B visa during that time to take advantage of the cap-gap extension.

Ms. Grady explained the various visa options in detail, including the Specialty Occupation H-1B visa, J-1 Trainee visa, and TN visa for professionals from Mexico and Canada, and the E-2 Investor Visa for new and existing US businesses and L-1A option for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs opening an office of an existing foreign business in the United States. Continue reading

USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap In Only 5 Days

Release Date: April 7, 2017

Lottery BallsWASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the “Master’s cap.”

USCIS began accepting applications on Monday, April 3.  It will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  However, USCIS suspended premium processing on April 3 for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally-mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Continue reading

DHS Announces New International Entrepreneur Parole Option for Startup Founders

international-flags**Please note, on July 10, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security postponed implementation of the Entrepreneur Parole Rule March 2018.

On January 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new immigration avenue for foreign entrepreneurs who benefit the U.S economy. The “International Entrepreneur Rule” will serve as a pathway for qualified investors and foreign entrepreneurs to develop business enterprises which have significant public benefit in the United States.

This exciting news for start-ups and foreign entrepreneurs comes as a much welcomed development for those frustrated by the lack of immigration options available through the existing U.S. visas, which generally are not oriented to companies that are still in start-up mode.

Requirements

uscisThis new rule will be effective on July 17, 2017 and it will allow certain international entrepreneurs, on a case-by-case basis, to remain in the United States for up to five years in order to start or expand their businesses.  To secure the parole, three prerequisites are required: (1) applicant must submit the required application; (2) the application must be approved; and (3) a physical entry into the United States with the parole status is required. Continue reading

The EB-5 Program Buys More Time Until December

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The EB-5 Program, as it presently stands, grants permanent residence to foreign investors if they invest $500,000 (in high unemployment areas) or $1 million (in low unemployment areas) in a new business that employs at least 10 U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents on a full-time basis.

Since its inception in 1990, many believe the program minimum amounts of investment is due for an increase, and there has been speculation that the minimum amounts will increase, from $500,000 to $800,000 and from $1 million to $1.2 million, respectively.

Congress extended the EB-5 visa program on September 30, 2016, allowing the program to run until December 2016.  Continue reading

Why is it So Important to Establish Credit In the United States?

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Many people who intend to relocate to the United States do not realize that their positive credit history won’t travel with them because in general, credit history does not transfer from one country to another. It is important to build credit in the United States in order to qualify for loans, credit cards, and other business activities that require creditworthiness.

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What is Credit?

“Credit” is when one party, usually a bank or similar lending institution, provides money or resources to another party without immediate reimbursement. Credit is generally provided with interest fees and/or other arrangement expenses. A lender will look to the creditworthiness of prospective borrowers before extending a line of credit. Continue reading