Do you want to obtain your American visa? Are you a professional? Learn more about this document.

Latin America has a huge contingent of university professionals who are overwhelmed by the lack of job opportunities in their countries and, above all, by the conviction that the future is loaded with extreme uncertainty. Many of them dream of emigrating to the US but are unaware of the visas available to them based on their academic and work merits.

In this sense and For practical purposes, we will limit the scope of this analysis to the most common professional visas: the H-1B visa and the EB-2 visa..

The Visa for Professionals

  • The H-1B visa 

The H1-B visa is issued in favor of foreign professionals who have a degree in university careers that require four years or more of study. The university must be of recognized prestige in the US or abroad.

The candidate for the H-1B visa must have a sponsoring entity in the US that issues a work contract duly authorized by the Department of Labor. The certification of the Department of Labor does not guarantee the approval of the visa, but it is a document that the contracting entity must present at the time of making the respective request before the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The purpose of this procedure is to show that the foreign professional is not competing directly with his local peers. When the employer applies for the certification, he must agree to pay the beneficiary a salary consistent with his professional obligations and also provide him with working conditions similar to those of other employees.

In addition to covering graduates in traditional careers such as engineering, medicine, architecture, teaching, applied physics or biotechnology, the law also benefits professional models who have distinguished themselves for their merits or skills in the world of fashion.

Each year issuance quotas of 65,000 H-1B visas are usually established. However, the first 20,000 petitions from professionals with a postgraduate degree obtained in the US are exempt from the quota. In addition, professionals who are requested by non-profit institutions of advanced education or research are also not subject to the quota.

The visa is granted for three years and can only be extended for an equal term. Covers spouse and children under 21 years of age.

  • The EB-2 Visa

US immigration law establishes three EB-2 visa categories:

(1) The EB2 (A) that is granted to foreigners with advanced university degrees (Masters or higher);

(2) EB2 (B) that benefits aliens of exceptional ability in the area of ​​science, business, or the arts;

(3) EB2 (C) for aliens of extraordinary ability whose knowledge may benefit the national interest of the United States.

In any of its modalities, the beneficiary of the EB-2 visa must be sponsored by a North American entity that will be the one to make the respective request. Although the applications are introduced by the employer and not by the contractor, it is the foreign professional who must provide all the required proof of eligibility, such as academic certificates, public recognition, publications and work achievements.

Only in the case of the EB-2 (A) Visa application, the definitive labor certification granted by the Department of Labor must be incorporated. In the remaining two cases, the exception applies because they are persons of exceptional ability or who contribute with their help to projects of national interest to the United States.

The number of EB-2 visas available is in the order of 42,000 per year and there is no waiting time for the delivery of permanent residence or “greencard". The applicant's spouse and children under the age of 21 are covered by the benefits of this visa.

Conclusions

The H1-B visa and the EB-5 are formulas that lead to the achievement of the same objective but at different times.

Beneficiaries of the H1-B visa can stay in the US for only two periods of three years, but it is possible that they request a change of status to resident and, after a few months, they achieve it. EB-5 beneficiaries, on the other hand, obtain permanent residence immediately.

For those interested in the subject, I recommend you go deeper into the analysis by visiting the official website of the immigration service, www.uscis.gov.

For the rest, I hope that these notes will serve as inspiration and encouragement to Spanish-speaking professionals so that they may search for new horizons.

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