When people with certain knowledge and skills are needed to join the workforce in the United States, the U.S. will allow certain foreigners to come to the U.S. temporarily or permanently. Temporary (non-immigrant) visas are available for individuals coming the U.S. for the following reasons: temporary business visit or company transfer to the U.S., professionals in specialty occupations or under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), treaty trader or investor, or individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements. Individuals coming to the U.S. permanently may apply for lawful permanent residency (green card) for different reasons which depend on the needs of the job market.

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You may receive permanent resident status if you have an offer for a permanent job in the United States. To do so, your employer usually must get an approved labor certification application, also known as PERM. To receive PERM, the employer must prove that there are no available U.S. workers who are willing and able to do the job. The employer must also be able to honestly say that your hiring will not hurt working conditions or wages for U.S. workers doing similar work. After being approved for and receiving PERM, the employer must submit an I-140 form. After it is submitted, you must adjust your immigrant status either from within the U.S. or by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your country.

You may apply for a Green Card if you are an expert at the very top of your field and your accomplishments have been seen by many people over a long period of time. You may do so without a sponsor, but must show that you have been recognized as an expert either nationally or internationally.

If you work for an actual company that operates in multiple countries, you may qualify to enter the United States if:

  • You were employed by that company as a manager or executive outside of the U.S. for at least one whole year out of the three years before being transferred to the U.S.;
  • You are seeking to enter the U.S. to work for that same company as a manger or executive;
  • The U.S. employer has been doing business for at least one year.

Investment immigrant visas are given each year to approximately 10,000 people who plan to do business that will help the United States and create at least ten full-time jobs. These jobs must be for either (1) U.S. citizens, (2) lawful permanent residents, or (3) noncitizens who are allowed to work, other than the applicant or their immediate family. The investment amount needed is $1 million, but that number may be reduced if the investment is made in rural parts of the country, or areas where jobs are needed. Within two years of obtaining a Green Card, the applicant must prove that they have actually made most or all of the investment and that at least ten full-time jobs have been created in a business that operates for two years or more.


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