What Are the Differences between H and L Visas?

The exchange of ideas and people form the cornerstones of a connected and productive global society. To that end, the United States of America welcomes many people from around the world to receive training, education, and employment opportunities. Corporate immigration law in Houston, TX, and the US do put limits on the type of training or work that foreign nationals may pursue. These regulations also require that immigrants secure the right type of visa before participating in their respective career paths in the country. In this post, we will talk about H and L visas, and how they relate to employment.

About the H Visas

H visas are meant for foreign nationals who seek professional training, education, or employment in the United States. There are three classifications within the H visa category:

H1-B: These are for foreign workers who can be employed in a “specialty” occupation, defined as a field that requires specialized knowledge or skill. Qualifying professions include but are not limited to accounting, architecture, computing, education, healthcare, engineering, or the arts.

H2-B: Employers can petition foreign nationals who can fill temporary, nonagricultural jobs. These visas are issued to individuals in cases where US employers require workers in certain positions, but no US workers are available to fill the role. Athletes, trainers, and artists are the most common applicants for H2-B visas.

H-3: This is a visa for nonimmigrant trainees or participants in a special education exchange. This classification is not for US employment. Instead, it allows a holder to attend school or training programs in the country.

In many cases, H visas must be petitioned through an employer or learning institution. It is the responsibility of these organizations to ensure the people they request meet the requirements for their respective visas.

L1: About the L Visas

In today’s global society, it is not uncommon for corporations and organizations to have offices around the world. For instance, a business headquartered outside the United States might wish to open locations here, and they will need to fill leadership or managerial roles to establish their presence. L visas facilitate the movement of qualified foreign nationals into the United States. Within the L classification are three sub-categories:

L-1A: This allows a company to move one of its executives or managers from one of its affiliated offices into an office in the United States. One can reside in the United States on an L-1A visa for a total of 7 years.

L-1B: This is a category reserved for company employees with specialized knowledge related to the organization’s interest. The L1-B visa allows a company that does not have a branch in the United States to assist in establishing one. One can reside in the United States on an L-1B visa for a total of 5 years.

L1-B Blanket: The blanket visa allows a company to move a significant number of employees from one international office to branches in the United States. Companies that wish to use blanket visas must satisfy a number of requirements, which include meeting a certain revenue threshold and have an existing office in the US for at least one year.

As you can tell, corporate immigration law in the United States is varied. It is recommended to work with an experienced lawyer to ensure you are applying for the correct visas for your workers and trainees.