Applying for US Work Visas
In this feature we get in touch with immigration attorney Ignacio Donoso. We ask him all about US work visas: when you should apply for one and what is the best way to obtain one for a future employee.
When is the right time to apply for temporary work visas?
The short answer is to plan ahead, because visa availability varies each year. Some visa applications can be filed at any time during the year. The visa categories include: family sponsored green cards; work sponsored green cards, L visas for the transfer of workers or TN visas for professionals from Canada or Mexico. By contrast, the H-1B temporary skilled worker visa program has an annual lottery for new visas for private employers that is held the first week of April of each year (unless the worker already has an H-1B visa). Similarly, H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural seasonal workers employers, used by hospitality workers and landscapers begin the application at least 120 days before the start date of employment, and new visas are offered on a semi-annual basis: from October 1 – March 31 and from April 1 – September 30.
I always advise clients to take a flexible approach to visa planning because a particular visa program that is helpful today may become unavailable a few years from now.
What are the best ways of obtaining a green card for an employee?
I always advise clients to take a flexible approach to visa planning because a particular visa program that is helpful today may become unavailable a few years from now. Green cards for employees require careful planning and depends entirely on the type of job under consideration. The visa requirements are different, for example, for a valuable production worker compared to a high-skilled researcher with dozens of publications. Two green card programs that are usually quite helpful are the EB-2 and EB-3 programs. Both usually require first an application to the federal Department of Labor followed by a visa application to USCIS.
Can I self-sponsor my own green card?
There are a limited number of green card categories that allow a person to self-sponsor their green card. Two categories, the EB-1A and EB-2 National Interest Waiver are reserved for people with extraordinary achievements in sciences, arts or business. The EB-1A category is also available to athletes. Another green card category that allows self-sponsorship is the EB-5 investors visa, which requires a significant investment of lawfully earned capital and creation of at least 10 new jobs for U.S. workers.
What to do if you receive a Social Security No-Match Letter?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently started sending letters to employers when they detect that an employee has a social security record that does not match the SSA’s records. These are called “no-match” letters. Although these letters appear innocuous, they should be taken seriously. The SSA provides 60 days to use an online registration to obtain information about the mismatch. Sometimes, the mismatch is simply due to typographical errors or name changes, but can also indicate that the employee has not used an accurate social security number. Generally, the SSA cautions that a no-match letter does not make conclusions about a person’s immigration status, and it is recommended that employers do not terminate any employee simply because their name was indicated in a no-match letter. We recommend employers should contact an attorney if they receive a no-match letter.
I.A. Donoso & Associates, LLC
7401 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 400
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-276-0656 Ext. 303
Ignacio A. Donoso, Esq., is nationally recognized as a leading business immigration attorney, with particular expertise in visas for companies expanding operations to the U.S., start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Mr. Donoso founded Donoso & Associates in 2013, after previously working from 2010 to 2013 as Partner of FosterQuan, LLP (now Foster Global, LLP), one of the top immigration law firms in the U.S.
Mr. Donoso’s career spans 18 years as a member of the State Bar of California, of which he has dedicated the last 13 years exclusively to immigration law, including business immigration, family-based immigration and removal defense. In early career, Mr. Donoso advised Fortune 100 companies on international transactions and mergers. Since 2003, Mr. Donoso has represented Fortunate 500 companies and their employees, skilled workers, professors and researchers, professionals, athletes, artists and thousands of investors in their U.S. visa planning.
Donoso & Associates is nationally recognized as a leading business immigration law firm with particular expertise in visas for professionals, researchers, investors, professional athletes and families who seek experienced guidance on how to obtain appropriate work visas or green card status in the United States.