As technology has evolved, the world has grown smaller, and taking a global perspective is essential for growing and developing your business. Building a team composed of members from all over the world is amazing for gaining alternative perspectives, generating new ideas, and keeping things fresh, innovative and exciting. Handling the inevitable paperwork, however, can be a little more challenging.
So just what do you need to know about immigration for your business, and what steps can you take to remove the stress from the progress, and allow your team to carry on focusing on what they do best: producing amazing, forward thinking and top quality work? Read on for our tips and a little insight into a difficult process. At Toland Law, LLC, we can help answer all the complicated questions.
What Are Some Common Types of Visas?
Before you can decide on the best type of visa for your workers, it is important that you have a good general understanding of the options; this will help you make the best choice for your circumstances. A family immigration attorney can help you with the details, but the main varieties to choose from include:
- E1 Visa
One of the most popular options, an E1 Visa is valid for two years, and allows individuals or company employees to enter the US for the purpose of carrying out international trade. There is no limit as to the amount of trade which can take place, and this a loose definition which could apply to banking or to the trade of goods or services.
There are a few requirements; at least 50% of the volume of trade carried out will need to be between the USA and their designated treaty company, and may take the form of the physical movement of goods, or non-physical services such as journalism, tourism, insurance or banking. In addition, the holder of the visa must be a national of one of the treaty companies, though immediate family members (legal spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21) do not have to adhere to this. In addition, the spouse of the visa holder may work, but the children may not.
The E1 visa is valid for two years, and may be extended an unlimited number of times, for a period of two years a time. The employee is permitted to travel outside the US and will receive an automatic 2 year extension upon their return – though this is not automatically given to family members. For employees of a company, the visa holder must be in a managerial or supervisory position, with specialist skills, and their employer must be in the US on an E1 visa.
- E-2 Visa
This is also known as a ‘treaty investor’ visa, and is an option for anyone looking to enter the USA to start or grow a new business. In order to qualify, the worker must currently be a citizen of a country with which the USA has a treaty of navigation and commerce. They will also need to have invested, or be in the process of investing, a “substantial” amount in a legal, recognized venture in the country. Their purpose for entering the USA must only be to grow and run this business, and they will generally need to show a 50% ownership, or possession of operational control via their position and role.
The definition of “substantial” for the purposes of investment is subjective, and can vary from industry to industry. As an example, an industrial manufacturer will require a larger initial investment than a primarily service-based business. As a rule, the amount invested must be at least $50,000 to qualify for this visa – this amount is considered enough to aid the economy, not merely support the costs of starting up the business.
- H-1B Visa
A popular alternative is the H-1B Visa, which allows temporary employment for those in a speciality occupation. To qualify, the applicant is required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and an offer of employment directly related to this degree. A H-1B Visa is valid for three years, with the possibility of extension. Any worker under this visa must be paid a prevailing wage for their profession.
- O-1 Visa
This is less common for businesses, but may be applicable depending on your industry. An O-1 Visa is designed for those who possess extraordinary ability in athletics, the arts, science, education or businesses; this must have been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.
To qualify for the ‘extraordinary ability,’ the individual must be in the very top of their field, and an application will require written advisory opinions from a peer group, or recognized expert in the field.
- L-1 Visa
The L-1 Visa is another option, and this is useful for anyone who has been continuously employed abroad for one of the last three years prior to applying for the visa, working for a parent, affiliate or subsidiary of a US company or corporation. If a worker intends to enter the USA for a temporary managerial, executive or specialized role in the same company, subsidiary or affiliate, this can be a straightforward, practical option.
Which Is The Best Option?
Ultimately, the best visa to choose depends largely on your own business needs, background and individual circumstances. If you are an existing business looking to bring in a new team member from outside the USA, you may prefer to choose the E1 or L1 visa; this allows employees to carry on in the same position, and often within the same company or organization. If, on the other hand, you are looking to grow and evolve a brand new venture, the E2 visa may be a better pick.
In some cases, you will want to bring in an elite team member; someone who is the best of the beast, and a recognized expert in their particular field. Here, an O-1 visa can be the perfect pick, as it allows you to access the very best resources and workers.
Here at Toland Law, LLC, we have experience in immigration issues, procuring visas, and helping you manage employees. Our experienced attorneys will work with you to find the best fit for your requirements, and will work hard to ensure that you are supported in filing the necessary documentation and paperwork. Get in touch today, and see how we could help you take your business to the next level, by securing the very best workers.