H-1B Visa Alternatives: What are My Options?

Due to the expected high demand, employers should be planning now for a possible rejection of their H-1B petitions. Alternative visa options for affected employees include, but are limited to, the following:

  • for Canadian and Mexican professionals, the TN visa available under the North American Free Trade Agreement;
  • for nationals of Australia, the E-3 visa;
  • for nationals of Chile or Singapore, the H-1B1 visa;
  • for intracompany transferees, the L-1 visa (an organization with foreign operations can transfer employees to its U.S.-affiliated company in a similar position under certain circumstances);
  • for individuals with a U.S. degree in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field and employers enrolled in E-Verify, the 17-month optional practical training (OPT) extension;
  • for individuals who may qualify under the extraordinary ability criteria, the O-1 visa;
  • for essential employees if the company and foreign national share the same nationality, the E-2 visa;
  • for individuals in F-1 status, continue with F-1 studies and look at internship opportunities under curricular practical training (CPT);
  • for individuals who may qualify under the EB-1 extraordinary ability, EB-1 outstanding researcher and/or EB-2 national interest waiver (NIW) criteria, pursue concurrent I-140/485 green card process and work authorization issuance;
  • for individuals whose employers have offices outside the United States, the individuals can be placed on the foreign payroll and work abroad until next year’s H-1B filing period or until another type of work visa becomes available;
  • for individuals entering a structured training program, the H-3 visa; and
  • for individuals who can be categorized as an Exchange Visitor, the J-1 visa.

Every situation is different and you should consult your legal to ensure you have viable alternatives should your H-1B petition be rejected.

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