People or individuals seeking to visit, work or live permanently in the United States, in most case, they must first obtain a temporary or a nonimmigrant visa.

As follow, you can find a brief summary of each non immigrant visa classification. The purpose of these summaries are to assist you in evaluating whether you may be eligible for any particular working visa in the United States. Keep in mind that the immigration laws are under constant change and that some of the information contained herein may or may not apply to the specific facts of your particular case.

B Visas
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, "an alien (other than one coming for the purpose of study or of performing skilled or unskilled labor or as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other information media coming to engage is such vocation) having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States for business or temporarily for pleasure can be admitted into the United States in B status.

Aliens who wish to enter the United States temporarily for certain business activities, and who are otherwise eligible to receive visas, may obtain B-1 visitor visas. Generally speaking, B-1 business activities are those that do not involve the performance of labor in the United States.

The "Business Visitor" visa is the most commonly utilized category for persons initiating business activity in the United States. The B-1 allows an individual to incorporate in the U.S., acquire property, sign contracts, etc.; it precludes the individual from directly managing any U.S. business or in any way receiving wages from a U.S. source, even if self-owned.

Aliens who wish to enter the United States temporarily for pleasure, and who are otherwise eligible to receive visas, may obtain B-2 visitor visas

The main purpose of the visa is to enhance or facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and certain foreign countries, such as Spain. Don't be afraid to consider this visa if your business is not listed on the stock exchange. Employees and owners of many small businesses qualify for this visa

The "Treaty Trader" category is available to individuals from nations, which have signed a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States. The Treaty Trader visa is available for an unlimited number of years and allows the spouse and minor dependents of the recipient to live and attend school in the United States. While many large corporations involved in import/export utilize the category, it is most frequently used by small to mid-size companies seeking a permanent trading presence in the United States.

Like the E-1, the E-2 "Treaty Investor" allows a foreign individual or corporation to invest actively in a U.S. business and remain in the U.S. while operating and managing it. Like the E-1, it has no limit on the number of years and does not require an unabandoned foreign residence. The Treaty Investor visa is not limited to any particular type of business and it can include restaurants, manufacturing, and virtually any other type of activity permissible by law.

This visa is for serious students qualified to attend full-studies at colleges, universities, conservatories, academic high schools (subject to strict regulations) and institutions with language-training programs in the United States.

Persons traveling to the United States to pursue academic study or English language instruction must obtain an F-1 student visa. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 dramatically affected who qualifies for F-1 student visas. As a result, the U.S. Department of State has issued two memos discussing these changes to the law. These memos should be reviewed by anyone interested in applying for a student visa.

The H-1B visa allows a professional worker from abroad to be employed by a U.S. employer. The fundamental requirements for these positions are that the candidate possess the equivalent of at least a U.S. Bachelors Degree, as well as experience relevant to the position for which approval is sought. An H-1B employee may remain in the United States up to 6 years and no particular relationship between the prior employer abroad and the U.S. Corporation is required. However, the employee must be licensed under his particular profession in the United States and corresponding state, unless it can be established that such licensure is not necessary. (For example, a foreign engineer working for a U.S. corporation but supervised by U.S. licensed engineer may be able to avoid the state-licensing requirement.) The "H" visa, as well as the "L" visa, is specifically exempt from the presumption of immigrant intent. Under this change, working and living in the United States is possible during the pendency of a Labor Certification filed by the employer to obtain the professional's green card. This category is extremely attractive under the new law and will probably be utilized a great deal in the coming years. Under recent interpretations, the employer can be a corporation owned entirely by the foreign professional and/or his/her family.

The spouse and children of an applicant classified as a temporary worker under this provision of the law may also be classified as nonimmigrants and receive H-4 visas in order to accompany or join the principle applicant. A person who received a visa under this classification as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept employment in the United States in this status. The principle applicant must be able to demonstrate that his/her resources will be sufficient to support himself/herself and his/her family in the United States.

H-4 aliens are able to attend school and do not need to apply for student visas. In California some public universities will allow H-4 aliens to pay in-state tuition after being in the U.S. in H-4 status for 1 year

Persons coming to the U.S. in an approved exchange program may be eligible for the J-1 Exchange Visitor's visa. J-1 programs often cover students, short-term scholars, business trainees, teachers, professors and research scholars, specialists, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors and au pairs. In some cases, participation in a J-1 program will be coupled with the requirement that the beneficiary spend at least two years outside of the U.S. before being permitted to switch to a different non-immigrant visa or to permanent residency. GloboLex regularly handles the application process for seeking a waiver to the home residency requirement that applies to many J-1 visa holders.

A Fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a non-immigrant visa conditioned on the conclusion of the marriage within 90 days.

The "Intracompany Transferee" category is available to individuals who either own or are employees of a foreign corporation in which they have worked for at least one of the prior three years, in an executive, managerial, or specialized-knowledge capacity. The employer must be a U.S. corporation related directly, in any one of a variety of ways, to the foreign company. The L-1 visa carries a maximum approval of seven years, but is perhaps the most direct conduit to permanent residency in the United States.

According to the Foreign Affairs Manual, the following elements are considered in evaluating entitlement to L-1 classification in individual petition cases:

(1) The petitioner is the same firm, corporation, or other legal entity, or parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary thereof, for whom the beneficiary has been employed abroad.

(2) The beneficiary is a manager, executive, or an alien having specialized knowledge, and is destined to a managerial or executive position or a position requiring specialized knowledge.

(3) The petitioner and beneficiary have the requisite employer-employee relationship.

(4) The petitioner will continue to do business in the United States and at least one other country.

(5) The beneficiary meets the requirement of having had one year of prior continuous qualifying experience within the previous 3 years.

(6) If the beneficiary is coming to open, or be employed in, a new office, the additional requirements discussed below are also met.

(7) The beneficiary is not subject to the limitation on readmission for former L and H aliens, or the two-year foreign residence requirement for certain former exchange visitors who were on J visas.

L aliens are allowed to have "dual intent," which is both immigrant and nonimmigrant intent at the same time. Thus, L aliens are not required to have a residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. In addition, the fact that the alien intends to apply or has already applied for a U.S. green card does not prevent him or her from obtaining an L visa.

In order to qualify for the L visa, the beneficiary must have had one year of prior continuous qualifying experience within the pervious 3 years. Generally speaking, periods of time spent in the US during the period preceding the transfer do not prevent the transfer, but those periods do not count towards the one-year-abroad requirement. In addition, part-time employment does not satisfy this requirement.

If the alien is coming to the United States to establish a new office related to the foreign entity, it is necessary that the location of the business be secured. Usually this means a lease for the office space must be presented at the time of applying for the L petition with the USCIS. Individual L petitions, except those involving new offices, are initially valid for the requested period, not to exceed 3 years. New office situations may not exceed 1 year. Extensions of L-1A managers and executives is permitted for a total continuous period of 7 years. Extensions of L-1B specialized knowledge personnel is permitted for a total continuous period of 5 years. After the maximum duration is reached, there is a 1 year foreign residence requirement before being admitted in L or H status. Aliens who want to remain longer should consider the E visa and applying for a green card as a multinational manager/executive.

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an L-1 nonimmigrant are entitled to L-2 visas. L-2 dependents are not authorized to work in the United States. They are allowed to study in the United States. In California, many public colleges and universities will permit L-2 aliens to pay in-state tuition after 1 year. Students in this situation should check with their schools and ask them if they treat F-1 students differently than L-2 students.

The O visa is set aside for aliens of " extraordinary" ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members. The fundamental requirement for an O visa is to have reached the top of the profession or endeavor for which the alien seeks admittance into the United States. The beneficiary of an O visa may remain in the States until the event, project or activity for which the alien is admitted is completed. The initial period of stay can be sought for three years and thereafter one year increments may be sought to complete the activity, event or project. An employer must petition for the O alien; the petition must be submitted only after the employer consults with a peer group, labor organization, or management organization regarding the work to be performed and the alien's qualifications. In most cases the consultation takes the form of a written advisory opinion from a peer group.

The P visa category covers those entertainers and athletes who cannot qualify under the extraordinary ability standard of the O category. The category covers alien athletes who compete individually or as part of a team at an internationally recognized level and aliens who perform with or, are an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has received international recognition as "outstanding" for a "sustained and substantial period of time."

Religious workers may be eligible for an R-1 visa.

A special category has been set up for nationals of Canada and Mexico under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.