L-1, H-1B, and J-1 Internship Visas for USA & Its Perspectives

| Updated on March 26, 2024

Under certain situations, employers can hire foreigners on a permanent or temporary basis in the United States. To work in the United States, foreign people who aren’t nationals, asylees/ refugees, or permanent residents must first obtain immigrant or non-immigrant visas. Nonimmigrant visas offer temporary work authorization and status, whereas immigrant visas allow permanent resident status.

Non-immigrant Availability

The majority of employment-based visas that are non immigrant actually require company’s sponsorship for protection. That is, the employer applies to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services on the behalf of the potential employee for a certain type of nonimmigrant visa (USCIS). Clearance from the US Department of Labor (DOL) may be required in some circumstances to showcase that the foreigner will not displace American workers. If the foreign citizen is lawfully present in the United States, the USCIS will give them a change of status, or they can apply for a visa at a US consulate.

Immigrant Visas

Individuals who wish to migrate to the United States and obtain permanent residency may be eligible for immigrant visas if they have job offers in recognized occupations where American workers lack or in other specialized categories. These work-sponsored visas are divided into priority categories, each with its own set of quotas, country restrictions, and skill requirements.

The Department of State of the United States is responsible for issuing visas to US residents. A foreign citizen who wishes to visit the United States mandatorily apply prior for and get a visa, which might be nonimmigrant visa is a brief stay or an immigrant visa that is for PR (Permanent Residence). A U.S. visa allows a person to travel to an entry port and ask a Customs Immigration Border Protection officer for permission to get in or enter the country. A visa is a permit to enter the United States, but it does not ensure admission.

J-1 internship visa

A so-called J-1 exchange visa is usually required for an internship in the USA. A J-1 internship visa is available to students, graduates and young professionals. The German-American Chamber of Commerce in New York (GACC) is an official J-1 visa sponsor and helps to obtain a J-1 visa.

A J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa for an internship in the USA can only be applied for at the US consulate on presentation of a DS-2019 authorization certificate. The German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) New York is a non-profit organization officially authorized by the US Department of State (DOS) to issue a DS-2019 visa certificate. With the issuance of the DS-2019 visa certificate, the GACC acts as its patron during the participants’ entire stay in the USA.

The award of the DS-2019 certificate and thus participation in the GACC’s J-1 visa program is linked to various DOS requirements and internal implementation regulations.

Visas for Mexican & Canadian NAFTA Professional Workers

The nonimmigrant professionals of NAFTA, TN visa permits nationals of Mexico and Canada to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals for U.S. or international employers in planned commercial operations. Permanent residents of Canada and Mexico are ineligible to apply for TN Visa in order to serve as NAFTA experts. To learn more about TN Visa requirements and nonimmigrant status, go to the USCIS website and search under TN NAFTA Professionals.

Mexicans and Canadian may be able to work as NAFTA professionals in the United States if they meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant is a Canadian or Mexican citizen;
  • Your profession or occupation is on the list of NAFTA;
  • Position in the USA requires a professional of NAFTA;
  • Applicant will work in a planned part-time or full-time job for an employer. However, self-employment isn’t permitted;
  • Applicant has the education/qualifications, education, meeting particular requirements, and/or experience, of the profession.

L-1 visa (in-house employee transfer)

This visa is intended for the internal transfer of employees to a branch, to the parent company, or to a branch or subsidiary of the current employer.

Applicants must demonstrate several years of management / leadership experience and / or expertise in a specialist area that is essential to the company. In addition, applicants must have been employed by the same foreign employer for at least one uninterrupted year within the last three years. In order to obtain this visa, the prospective employer must first file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as an approved petition is a prerequisite for applying for this work visa. Cost: $ 190.

H-1B visa

An H-1B visa can be applied for by employees who have a specialty occupation. The applicant must have a university degree (Bachelor or higher) and relevant work experience.

These people may include: specific models, US or foreign medical school graduates, teachers, and researchers. In order to obtain this visa, the prospective employer must first file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as an approved petition is a prerequisite for the application for this work visa.

Important: This visa category is numerically limited to 65,000 visas per year (+ 20,000 with a US master’s degree). Applications for starting work from October 1st can be submitted from April 1st of each year. In recent years, the quota was reached just one week after the official start of the application.

Application process

After checking which visa category is suitable for visiting the USA, the application must be submitted to the responsible consulate in good time and an appointment must be made. The waiting time for this appointment varies depending on the consulate and also on the “season”. The current waiting times can be viewed online on the Department of State website. In any case, allow sufficient time for the application to be fully approved. In exceptional cases and when the workload is high, the waiting time is also longer.

Tips for the interview at the consulate: Give your employee all the necessary documents and talk to him in detail beforehand about his assignment. It often happens that employees are unable to provide precise information about the activities and the location. There should also be good expression in the English language. Better be over-prepared!

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