8.3. Other ways to immigrate

Even if the H1-B visa seems to be the easiest way to get work permission, do not discard any of the other ways to immigrate. Among them:

Lottery: Every year, the INS gives away approximately 55,000 green cards through a lottery aimed at increasing the diversity of the US population. Although the odds are not particularly high, it is free and easy. All you have to do is:

– Be from a country included in the lottery (i.e. a country underrepresented in the US population)

– Have a minimal education (no problem for you)

– Send your data

– Be lucky

Find out the details here http://www.visalaw.com/~gsiskind/greencard.html

Special skills (O-1/O-2/O-3): For people with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; “extraordinary ability” is defined as “sustained national or international acclaim”, and require extensive documentation (at least three of the following): receipt of recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field; membership in association in the field which require outstanding achievements; published material in major trade publications; participation on prestigious international panels; original scientific contributions of major significance; authorship of articles in major media; or evidence the alien commands a high salary for services. (Every distinction must be always related with the ability).

Investment Treaty (E-1/E-2): For a foreign national of a country with which US has a bilateral investment treaty or agreement, who is coming to the US to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested, or is in the process of investing substantially. If you come from a country that has an agreement with the US (such as most of the EU), you can obtain an E-2 visa that allows you to start your own business in the US.

Own Business (EB-5): For business people and entrepreneurs, willing to invest $1 Million in a business in the US, generating employment for at least 10 Americans (or to buy an ailing business and maintain the current number of employees). If the business is located in an economically depressed area (with unemployment more than 150% the national average, or in a rural area) the minimum investment is $500 Thousand.

Intra-company transfer (L-1): For executive or knowledge workers transferred within a company (like from a subsidiary, affiliates, parent company, or branch) to the US. There is the L-1A visa which is intended for managerial level aliens, and the L-1B, which is intended for technical workers, such as engineers. Spouses and children of L-1B`s enter the US with L-2 visas.

Temporary Trainees (H-3): For aliens that come to the US for on-the-job training to be provided by a US employer, but in these cases, the purpose of the training should be to advance their career in their home country where they plan to return to, and where similar training opportunities are unavailable.

Of course you can be sponsored by a US citizen close family member, or marry a US citizen. Also, if you are Canadian or Mexican national who are engaged in activities at a professional level, due to the close relationship between both countries and the North Africa Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), you will be eligible for easier ways to work or immigrate. This visa (TN) is similar to H-1B specialty occupation visa, except that there is no statutory limitation on the term of stay, and it generally covers a broader range of job categories.