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Frequently Asked Questions

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General

How long does it take to go through the 4 step process?

This can vary significantly depending on the type of visa required, and the country in which the US consulate processing the visa is located. Once we know which visa you may qualify for, and to which consulate you will be applying, we can estimate the likely waiting time for the processing of your visa application.

Will Blue Gate give me feedback if my job application is rejected or unsuccessful or if I do not qualify for the job?

Yes. In some cases, job applicants do not immediately qualify for a job opening, but with assistance from the career professionals at Blue Gate  the applicant can progress on the pathway towards approval.

For example, a nurse from Mexico or Canada may meet all job requirements for a TN visa with one exception, such as passing the NCLEX test. In such cases, Blue Gate may be able to identify the missing credential or qualification, providing financial support or practical advice to the applicant so that they can progress.

TN Visas

What is a TN Visa, and who is eligible for it?

A TN Visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States in specific professional occupations. Eligible individuals must have a job offer from a U.S. or Canadian employer and meet the qualifications outlined in the NAFTA treaty's Appendix 2.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on a TN Visa?

Initially, you can stay for up to three years, and you can receive extensions in increments of up to three years, with no set outside limit. In theory, you can remain in the U.S. indefinitely as long as you continue to meet the requirements.

Do Canadians and Mexicans have the same TN Visa validity?

Generally, Canadians (TN-1) often receive a full three-year period of stay stamped in their visa from the start, whereas Mexicans (TN-2) usually receive a visa stamp valid for only 12 months. However, the visa stamp's validity doesn't determine how long you can stay; it's the I-94 that governs your stay duration.

What's the difference between a visa stamp and an I-94?

The visa stamp dictates when you can present yourself for entry at the U.S. border, while the I-94 determines how long you can actually stay in the U.S. Always keep your I-94 because you must return it to the government when leaving the U.S.

Can TN Visa holders seek permanent residence (a green card)?

TN Visa holders must maintain "temporary intent," meaning they should confirm that their work will end after three years and they will depart. After being in the U.S. for a year or so, it may be possible to apply for a green card, but this should be done carefully.

What happens if my TN employment is terminated before the I-94 expiry?

TN Visa holders have a 60-day grace period or until the end of the authorized validity period (such as the I-94 date), whichever is shorter, if their employment is terminated. This grace period is available only once per authorized validity period.

What status do family members of TN Visa holders receive?

Family members, including spouses and unmarried children under 21, are classified as "TD" status, a derivative status of the TN Visa. Spouses cannot work, but they can attend school.

What professions are eligible for TN Visas?

TN Visas are available for professions listed in Appendix 2 to the USMCA (formerly NAFTA) treaty. It's not enough to cite the profession; you must demonstrate that you will perform these activities in the U.S. through an employer job offer letter. Typically, a bachelor's degree or higher is required, unless Appendix 2 lists alternative qualifications.

Can self-employed individuals or employees of foreign companies work in the U.S. on TN status?

Self-employed individuals can obtain TN Visas, and employees of Canadian or Mexican companies can work for U.S. companies in TN status if a contract exists between the foreign employer and the U.S. company for professional services.

Are there any exceptions for individuals who have maxed out H-1B or L status?

TN status can be obtained without spending a year abroad, and there's no requirement to maintain a foreign residence during the U.S. stay.

Can TN Visa holders apply for a green card, and how does it affect TN status?

Applying for a green card is possible but can affect TN status, so it must be done carefully. It's not dispositive of immigrant intent, but it is a relevant factor.

Can TN Visa positions be part-time or intermittent?

Yes, TN positions can be part-time or intermittent, such as concurrent employment with two employers or when the worker will be present intermittently in the U.S.

Can healthcare workers obtain TN Visas, and are there specific requirements?

Healthcare workers must meet specific requirements, including having their education, training, license, and experience meet U.S. standards. This includes demonstrating competency in oral and written English through a nationally recognized exam and passing a licensing examination recognized by the majority of states.

Are Mexican and Canadian TN professionals required to have U.S. licensure?

No, Mexican and Canadian TN professionals are not required to provide evidence of U.S. licensure as a prerequisite for admission to the U.S. However, they still need the relevant licenses to practice their professions.

How can I apply for a TN Visa at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico?

Applicants in Mexico should start by filing Form DS-160, uploading a digital photo, and paying the MRV (Visa fee). They must also schedule an appointment at an Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric data. Once these steps are completed, the visa interview can be scheduled with the Consulate.

What documents are required for the TN Visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Mexico?

You should bring your passport, a photo if it didn't upload digitally, the confirmation page of DS-160, proof of MRV fee payment, the reciprocity fee, evidence of professional licensure and work experience, and any other supporting documents, such as the job offer letter.

Can TN Visa holders travel in and out of the U.S. during their stay?

TN Visa holders with a three-year period of admission on their I-94 should be able to make multiple re-entries during that period, as long as they cont.

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H-1B Visa

What is the H-1B visa program?

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. These occupations require specialized knowledge and typically involve roles in fields such as technology, engineering, and healthcare.

What is the definition of a "specialty occupation" for H-1B visas?

The definition of a "specialty occupation" is found in INA § 214(i) and generally includes roles that require a bachelor's degree or higher in a specific field of study.

Can athletes, entertainers, and artists apply for H-1B visas?

No, athletes, entertainers, and artists are specifically excluded from the H-1B visa category. They typically need to apply for O or P visas.

What are the numerical limits for H-1B visas, and how are they categorized?

Numerical limits for H-1B visas are detailed in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(8). There are exemptions for cap-exempt organizations, such as institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations, and governmental research organizations.

Can H-1B visa holders extend their stay in the U.S. beyond the initial 6-year maximum?

Yes, H-1B visa holders can extend their stay beyond the 6-year maximum under certain circumstances. For example, if they have an approved I-140 but no visa is available due to per-country limits or if they have a labor certification or EB green card petition filed before the end of the 5th year in H-1B status.

What is H-1B portability, and how does it work?

H-1B portability allows H-1B visa holders to change employers and begin work with a new employer as soon as the new H-1B petition is filed, provided that the new employment is nonfrivolous. The porting employee must be in authorized status when the ported petition is filed.

Can family members of H-1B visa holders (H-4 visa holders) study in the U.S.?

Yes, family members in H-4 status, including spouses and children, are generally allowed to study in the United States.

H-1B Licensure and Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Are state or local licenses required for H-1B visa holders?

If an occupation requires a state or local license for an individual to fully perform its duties, H-1B visa applicants must have that license before approval of the petition to qualify for employment in the U.S.

Is there a provision for temporary licensure for H-1B visa applicants?

Yes, if a temporary license is available, and the applicant is allowed to perform the duties of the occupation without a permanent license, the director may examine various factors to determine if the applicant is authorized to fully perform the duties of the occupation under supervision.

Can H-1B visas be granted if an individual can practice a profession under the supervision of someone else without a license?

Yes, if the profession allows practice under supervision without a license, H-1B visas may be granted. Additionally, individuals can be admitted for up to a year if the only obstacle to obtaining a license is a technicality like a Social Security Number.

What is the role of the Labor Condition Application (LCA) in the H-1B process?

The LCA is required for all H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visa applications and serves to attest that the employer will pay the required wage rate, provide the same benefits to the foreign worker as to U.S. workers, and follow specific notice and posting requirements.

How long is the LCA valid, and what are the obligations of employers?

The LCA is valid for a maximum of 3 years, and employers must maintain a public access file, ensure wage compliance, and follow other obligations throughout the LCA's validity period.

Can an H-1B worker move to a new location for the same employer without filing an amended petition?

No, if an H-1B worker moves to a new location, even for the same employer, the employer must file an amended petition.

Can corporate restructuring within the same organization affect H-1B status?

If corporate restructuring results in a change of the H-1B worker's employer FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number), the new employer must assume the obligations of the old employer regarding the H-1B worker's existing LCA and terms/conditions of employment.

H-1B1 and E-3 Specialty Occupation Visas

H-1B1 Visa Program

What is the H-1B1 visa program?

The H-1B1 program allows for the temporary employment of nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations from Chile and Singapore, with specific annual limits for each country.

What are the annual limits for H-1B1 visas?

The annual limit for H-1B1 visas is 1,400 for nationals of Chile and 5,400 for nationals of Singapore.

How long can an individual stay in the United States under an H-1B1 visa?

The initial period of employment under the H-1B1 visa is one year. It can be extended twice, but only in one-year increments. Further extensions require the filing of a new Labor Condition Application (LCA).

Is there a requirement for a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker for H-1B1 visas?

No, unlike the H-1B visa, there is no requirement for a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Candidates can apply for an H-1B1 visa directly at the US Consulate in their home country, provided they submit the necessary documentation.

Can citizens of Chile and Singapore apply for a regular H-1B visa as well?

Yes, filing H1B1 visa petitions does not preclude citizens of Chile and Singapore from applying for a regular H-1B visa petition.

Is dual intent allowed for H-1B1 visa holders?

No, dual intent is not allowed for H-1B1 visa holders.

Can family members accompany H-1B1 visa holders to the United States?

Yes, the spouse and dependent children under 21 years of age can accompany the principal H-1B1 visa applicant to the United States.

What is the definition of "specialty occupation" for H-1B1 visas?

The definition of "specialty occupation" for H-1B1 visas is the same as that for H-1B visas, as set forth in the regulations.

Is licensure required for H-1B1 visa holders?

Licensure is not needed for H-1B1 visa holders.

E-3 Visa Program for Australians

What is the E-3 visa program?

The E-3 program allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers from Australia in the U.S. in specialty occupations.

How many E-3 visas are available annually for Australian nationals?

The annual limit for E-3 visas is set at 10,500 for Australian nationals seeking temporary work in specialty occupations.

How long can an E-3 visa holder stay in the United States?

E-3 visa holders are initially granted a 2-year period of stay, which is renewable indefinitely.

Is dual intent allowed for E-3 visa holders?

No, dual intent is not allowed for E-3 visa holders.

Can E-3 visa holders work part-time?

Yes, E-3 visa holders may work either full or part-time based on the attestations made on the Labor Condition Application (LCA).

Can spouses of E-3 visa holders work in the United States?

Yes, the spouse of a principal E-3 nonimmigrant can engage in employment in the United States upon admission, provided they apply for an employment authorization document.

What is the maximum validity period for E-3 visas?

The maximum validity period for E-3 visas is 24 months.

Do E-3 visa applicants need to prove intent to return to their home country?

No, E-3 visa applicants do not need to establish a specific intent to return to their home country.

Is licensure required for E-3 visa holders?

If the job requires licensure or official permission to perform the specialty occupation, applicants must submit proof of the requisite license or permission. In some cases, they can show an intent to obtain such licensure within a reasonable period after admission to the United States.

Caveat: Please note that the information provided here is subject to change, and applicants should consult with the relevant authorities or legal counsel for the most up-to-date information on H-1B1 and E-3 visas.