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Employment (Work) Visas

business visasEmployment Visas Overview

Business immigration cases represent a large portion of our activities and we understand exactly what is at stake for professionals looking to grow their business across international boundaries.

Through years of legal experience we have helped countless businesses successfully expand into the United States. We have worked with clients of all sizes in varied areas of commercial activity including mining, technology, education, manufacturing, energy, telecommunications, and retail and restaurants.

We provide legal guidance for the following business visas:

  • B-1: A non-immigrant, temporary visa for those participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States.
  • J-1: A non-immigrant visa category for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.
  • L-1: Business visa so that employees and executives may transfer between branches of an international company.
  • H-1B: Wage-earner visa for individuals within specific industries who wish to work and earn income within the United States.
  • O-1: Extraordinary ability visas for individuals who demonstrate excellence in specific fields or industries.
  • P: Athletics and entertainment visas for individuals or groups who are traveling to the United States.
  • TN: Visa available to immigrants from Canada and Mexico who wish to temporarily conduct business within the United States. For more information, CLICK HERE.
  • E-1 and E-2: Treaty trader visas for executives in a foreign business who wish to enter the United States for trade purposes. For more information, CLICK HERE.
  • EB-5: Investor visa that can lead to a green card. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Some of these visas are non-immigrant visas, and are almost always temporary. We can consult with you regarding the visa that best applies to your situation. If your long-term goal is to establish a more permanent residential visa, or perhaps a Green Card, then we can also counsel you through the steps to take towards hopefully achieving this goal.

A non-immigrant, temporary business visa for those visiting the USB-1 Visas: Are You Visiting the U.S. for Business?

The B-1 Visa is available to those who are coming to the U.S. or attempting to do business with a U.S.-based business on a temporary basis. It is a non-immigrant visa, intended for those who must conduct commercial or professional business in the U.S. This may encompass any conventions, consultations, conferences, and other professional activity. The work does not usually entail physical labor or payment in the form of financial compensation.

What are the requirements?

Anyone who is entering the United States is presumed to be an immigrant. All B-1 Visa applicants must demonstrate their intentions of doing business with U.S. companies. Furthermore, applicants must demonstrate that they intend to do business with U.S.-based companies on a temporary basis only.

This may be done in the following ways:

  • Show that you are entering the U.S. for business purposes only
  • Show that you are only remaining in the U.S. for a limited engagement
  • Show that you have the funds to cover all of the expenses related to your trip
  • Show that you have no intention of abandoning your life and residence in your home country by offering evidence of your ties to home
  • B-1 Visa holders may not be eligible to receive financial compensation from the U.S. company during their time in the U.S., as the business they will be conducting will only be on a temporary basis.

Here are some examples of the types of activities approved under the B-1 Visa:

  • Training sessions, seminars, and educational courses
  • Research for the potential of setting up a foreign business or investment
  • To perform a duty as a board member or executive of a U.S.-based business
  • To maintain day-to-day operations of the business, including sales, interviews, hiring, and legal negotiations
  • For maintenance, service, or repair of equipment purchased outside of the United States

J-1 visas for exchange visitors

J-1 Visas: Exchange Visitor

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. The Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges. The J-1 classification is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 non-immigrants are subsequently sponsored by an exchange program managed by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and science.

Most typically, the J-1 Visa is issued to full time students who enter the exchange program indicating they intend to stay in the U.S. only for a limited period of time, have enough funds to cover their expenses, and that there are significant ties binding them to their home country.

Applicants eligible for the J-1 visa are:

  • Students at all academic levels
  • Trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies
  • Teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools
  • Professors coming to teach or to do research at institutions of higher learning
  • Research scholars
  • Professional trainees in the medical and allied fields
  • Specialists
  • Nannies/au pairs
  • Camp counselors

Application Process

The U.S. Department of State plays a primary role in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program, so the first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is to submit a Form DS-2019, the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status”. This form will be provided by the sponsoring agency. An official who is authorized to issue Form DS-2019 is known as a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). The RO or ARO will explain to the beneficiary what documents are needed in order to be issued a DS-2019. After it has been obtained, the applicant may then apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so submitting the visa application as early as possible is strongly encouraged. An Exchange Visitor may not enter the United States in J-1 status more than 30 days before their program begins.

What are SEVIS and DS-2019?

These two abbreviations are normally associated with the J-1 Visa. SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) is a system for monitoring international exchange students as they participate in their exchange programs. It requires the participants to indicate their addresses, confirm the program dates and supply other information. The DS-2019 form is the document given to program participants after they complete their application and are accepted into the program. It is a necessary prerequisite for obtaining the J-1 Visa, and it proves that the participant has been sponsored by a corresponding international organization for their visa. It is required that the visa and the DS-2019 form be kept together at all times.

What does the J-1 Visa allow a person to do?

Under the J-1 Visa, a person can legally enter the U.S. for a limited period of time and work for 4 months during the summer. The time of stay is limited by the duration of the exchange program the students belong to. After the program finishes, international exchange students have a 30-day grace period during which they can’t work and are only allowed to make arrangements for their departure. If it is a multiple-entry visa, the visa holder can leave and re-enter the U.S. during their time in the States. Some J-1 nonimmigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as a researcher, specialist, etc.) while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program.

Family of J-1 Visa Holders

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of a J-1 holder, regardless of nationality, are entitled to J-2 classification. Spouse and children are also entitled to work authorization although their income may not be used to support the J-1 holder. To apply for work authorization as a J-2 nonimmigrant, the spouse or child would file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Petitioning for a L-1 Visa in Seattle or Vancouver, BC?

Work with Our Business Immigration Attorneys

Millar & Hayes works with professionals throughout the world to help them with their L-1 intra-company business visas and immigration needs. Our law firm has more than 10 years of experience, during which we have successfully facilitated the transfer of employees between the following entities:

  • Parent companies
  • Subsidiaries
  • Branches
  • Affiliates

We are experienced in filing L-1A, L-1B, and blanket L petitions. We understand the often urgent need for employees to be at different locations of the business operation. We frequently obtain timely and successful results for the individuals and companies we represent.

If you are interested in learning more about L-1 inter-company transfer visas, contact us or schedule a consultation. If you are serious about retaining legal assistance, a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through complex issues and supporting documents, and plan an immigration strategy for obtaining benefits. The initial period is either 1 year for new offices or 3 years for businesses older than 1 year, with renewals / extensions in 2-year increments.

Spouses and Children

Spouses and unmarried minor children of L-1A visa holders can obtain L-2 status, which allows them to live, study, and work in the U.S. In order to work in the U.S., L-2 visa holders must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and renew it as necessary. Our Seattle immigration lawyers can help you achieve your goals. Call us today.

H-1B Visa Attorneys in Seattle & Vancouver

Visas for Professionals

Choosing a law firm for your business immigration needs is an important decision. Millar & Hayes takes pride in our dedication, success, and experience in the field of business immigration law. If you are looking to obtain a H-1B visa, our Seattle immigration lawyers can work with you to:

  • Keep you up to date on information regarding the H-1B visa
  • Guide you through the application process, increasing your chances of success
  • Explain the application thoroughly, including the Labor Condition Application
  • Help your family members apply for H-1B visas

What are the eligibility requirements?

Specialty Occupations: Our attorneys have successfully completed cases for a wide array of companies and appropriate professional workers such as:

  • Professors
  • Researchers and analysts
  • Engineers
  • Programmers
  • Hospitals, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers
  • Investors and trading companies
  • Musicians and other artists
  • Religious workers
  • Journalists
  • Management consultants
  • Accountants

Labor Condition Application

When it comes to filing an H-1B visa petition, employers must first prepare the Labor Condition Application. We can guide you through the process of filing with the Department of Labor.

H-1B Visa Portability

After obtaining an H-1B visa, the employee is allowed to work only for the sponsoring employer. While it is a complex process, it is however possible for an H-1B visa to be transferred from one employer to another once the employee is present in the United States. Our legal team at Millar & Hayes is skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to these matters and we can successfully guide you through the process.

Aliens of extraordinary abilityO and P Visas:

Millar & Hayes Immigration Lawyers works with aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics to help them with their O and P visa immigration needs. Our firm ensure that all documents are filed and completed both quickly and accurately. Our extensive experience can translate to the success of your O or P visa application. We provide immigration law services tailored to meet the specific needs of your situation. Our mission is to provide clients with the highest quality immigration services. These legal services include superlative customer service and expertise, creative solutions, state-of-the-art technology, flexibility and fairness. If you are interested in learning more about O and P visas, contact us or schedule a consultation.


The O-1 visa is designated for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. The O-1 visa is very helpful for artists, athletes, entertainers, high-end chefs, and business people lacking professional degrees. There is no prevailing wage requirement, the O-1 visa may be extended indefinitely and there is no numerical limit to the number of O-1 visas issued. The O-1 visa is a good option for J1 visa holders who are subject to INA §212(E) and have not obtained a waiver. The J1 visa holder can apply for an O-1 visa via third country processing.

The P-1 visa is designated for entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific competition or event. An athlete who wishes to remain in the U.S. for a longer period of time should apply for an O-1 visa.


Scientists, educators, business persons and athletes who wish to qualify for the O visa must show three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;
  • Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;
  • Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media;
  • Current or previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or,
  • Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Artists and Entertainers (except TV or movie stars) who wish to qualify for the O visa must show three of the following:

  • Has performed/will perform services as a lead/starring participant in productions/events with distinguished reputations as shown by critical reviews, ads, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  • National/international recognition for achievement through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals/magazines, etc.;
  • Has performed in a lead, starring or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;
  • Has record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
  • Has achieved significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, recognized experts;
  • Has commanded or will command a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  • Artists and Entertainers in connection with TV or Movies who wish to qualify for the visa must show a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field.

O-2 and O-3 Visas

The O-2 visa is designated for persons that accompany and assist an O-1 visa holder in a specific athletic or artistic event or in the motion picture or television industry. O-2 visas are not available for those who accompany or assist O-1 visa holders in education, science, or business. Spouses and children of the O-2 visa holder may obtain an O3 visa to enter and remain in the US. The O3 visa holder may attend school but if he or she wishes to work, he or she must change his or her status to obtain a work visa. An O-2 classification applies to an accompanying alien who is coming temporarily to the United States solely to assist in the artistic or athletic performance by an O-1. The O-2 alien must:

  • Be an integral part of the actual performances or events and possess critical skills and experience with the O-1 alien that are not of a general nature and which are not possessed by others; or
  • In the case of a motion picture or television production, have skills and experience with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which are critical, either based on a preexisting and long standing working relationship or, if in connection with a specific production only, because significant production (including pre- and post-production) will take place both inside and outside the United States and the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.

P Visas: Entertainers, circus artists, and athletes who wish to qualify for the P visa must show two of the following:

  • Significant participation in a prior season with a major United States sports league;
  • Participation in international competition with a national team;
  • A written statement from an official of the governing body of the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
  • A written statement from a member of the sports media or a recognized expert in the sport which details how the alien or team is internationally recognized;
  • The individual or team is ranked, if the sport has international rankings; or
  • The alien or team has received a significant honor or award in the sport.

P-2 visas

The P-2 Visa is designated for artists or entertainers individually or as part of a group entering the U.S. temporarily as a part of an exchange program. There should be two organizations involved in this exchange program: one in the U.S. and one abroad. Artists and entertainers who wish to qualify for the visa must show the following:

  • A written consultation by an appropriate labor organization;
  • A copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the U.S. organization(s) sponsoring the alien and the organization(s) in a foreign country which will receive the US artist or entertainer;
  • A statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of U.S. artists or entertainers as it relates to the specific petition for which classification is sought;
  • Evidence the alien and the U.S. artist or entertainer subject to the reciprocal exchange agreement are artists with comparable skills and that the terms and conditions of employment are similar; or
  • Evidence that an appropriate labor organization in the U.S. was involved in negotiating, or has concurred with, the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and foreign artists or entertainers.

P-3 visas

The P-3 visa is designated for teachers and coaches coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique. Teachers and coaches who wish to qualify for the visa must show the following:

  • A written consultation from an appropriate labor organization;
  • Documentation from recognized experts attesting to the authenticity of the alien’s or group’s skills in performing, presenting, coaching or teaching the unique and traditional art forms;
  • Documentation that all of the performances or presentations will be culturally unique events; and
  • Documentation that the performance of the alien or group is culturally unique.
  • Spouses and children of the P-3 visa holder may obtain a P4 visa to enter and remain in the U.S.. The P4 visa holder may attend school but if he or she wishes to work, he or she must change his or her status to obtain a work visa.

R-1 visas

R-1 Visas: Religious Workers

The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis. An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part-time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work in a religious vocation or occupation. If you are interested in learning more about how a R-1 visa could work for you, contact us or schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney.

Qualifying as a Religious Worker

Religious workers include persons authorized by a recognized employing entity to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

This may be done in the following ways:

  • The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination having a bona-fide nonprofit religious organization in the U.S.;
  • The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are either exempt from taxation or qualifies for tax-exempt status; and
  • The applicant has been a member of the denomination for two years immediately preceding applying for religious worker status. The applicant is planning to work as a minister of that denomination, or in a religious occupation or vocation for a bona fide, non-profit religious organization (or a tax-exempt affiliate of such an organization).
  • There is no requirement that individuals applying for “R” visas have a residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning. However, they must intend to depart the U.S. at the end of their lawful status, absent specific indications or evidence to the contrary.
  • The applicant has resided and been physically present outside the U.S. for the immediate prior year, if he or she has previously spent five years in this category. Every petition for an R-1 worker must be filed by a prospective or existing U.S. employer through the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.

An R-1 visa cannot be issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without prior approval of Form I-129 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the foreign national is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian), they must present the original Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting an approval of a valid I-129 R petition at a port of entry. There are certain general requirements which must be satisfied by the petitioning organization as well as by the religious worker, the beneficiary of the petition. The petitioning employer must submit Form I-129 including the R-1 Classification Supplement signed by the employer as well as documentation supporting both the religious organization and the worker.

Period of Stay

An R-1 status may be granted for an initial period of admission of up to 30 months. An extension of R-1 status may be granted for up to an additional 30 months. The total stay in the United States in an R-1 status cannot exceed 60 months (5 years).

Family of R-1 Visa Holders

A nonimmigrant religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be issued a R-2 visa. The dependents of an R-1 worker may study, but may not accept employment while in the United States in R-2 status. Therefore, evidence of their financial support while in the U.S. will be necessary at the visa interview.

US Immigration Attorneys Serving Seattle, WA and Beyond

For more than 10 years, our team at Millar & Hayes has been providing immigrants with access to helpful, comprehensive legal counsel. From simple to complicated immigration cases, we are skilled immigration lawyers ready to work hard alongside you, helping you to achieve your immigration goals. We aim to make this experience positive and straightforward for you. We walk you through each step of the visa application process, making sure your paperwork is filed under the correct category and within the required deadlines.

Progressive Answers to Your Requests

Our team is dedicated to providing you with access to the latest information in immigration policy, especially regarding your desire to obtain a visa. Each visa request comes with its own requirements regarding your application, and it’s our job to make sure you meet these requirements. We aim to give you a strong chance at getting your application approved.


If you are serious about getting legal assistance a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through complex issues and supporting documents and plan an immigration strategy for obtaining benefits.


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