question marks

Frequently Asked Questions About The E2 Visa in Houston, TX

An E2 Treaty Investor Visa allows foreign investors and essential employees to live and work in the USA while developing a business.

What Are The Requirements For An E2 Visa?

The E2 Visa allows investors to establish a business as long as there is a treaty between the United States and the applicant’s country of nationality. The applicant must be invested in the business and also be available to help develop the enterprise.

How Do I Apply?

You must contact your U.S. Consulate in the country of your nationality to apply for an E2 Visa. in Houston, TX. Our office can also assist you in applying for a change of status with the USCIS if you currently reside in the USA.

How Much Money Will I Need?

There is no set dollar amount. It will vary depending on the business you wish to establish, whether it’s a new or existing business, where you will locate it, and the U.S. Consulate at which you applied.

Should I Buy An Existing Business Or Start A New One?

It depends on the business. Establishing a new business takes considerably more work. An existing business, such as a storefront, is more straightforward and is typically generating a profit throughout the application process, making it a smoother transition.

eb1c requirements houston

Your Guide to EB-1C Visa Requirements

EB-1C visas allow multinational managers and executives “employment-based” entry into the United States, as well as a path to a green card if desired.  If you have been employed abroad by a qualifying country and are permanently transferred to a U.S. location in a managerial or executive capacity, you may qualify. To get the complete details for EB-1C requirements in Houston, talk to the team at our law office.

What You Should Know

As with all employment-based immigrations, there are strict qualifications an applicant must meet. First, the company that is petitioning for you must have employed you for at least one year out of the previous three years. You may have been employed by the parent company, a subsidiary, or an affiliate, as long as the business entity abroad and the U.S.-based petitioner share more than 50% common ownership.

In addition, another EB-1C requirement is that your employment abroad must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the same must be true for your intended position in the U.S. While these are the basic requirements, there are other fine details to consider; do your research and talk to an immigration lawyer if you’re still unsure whether you qualify.


The Visa that Athletes Need to Compete in the US

There are many international athletes that are successful in the United States. Whether in major league baseball, soccer, football, or other sports, many immigrants have achieved success in America thanks to applying for the O1 visa in Houston, TX.

To qualify for an O1 visa, the beneficiary needs to demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be travelling temporarily to the United States to continue work in the same area of his or her extraordinary ability.

For an O1 visa, “extraordinary ability” in the fields of science, business, education, or athletics means a level of expertise showing that the person is within the small percentage that has risen to the very top of the field of specialty.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction.  Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts. This can be evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered.  This means that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

The O1 visa nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:

O-1A – Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)

O-1B – Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.

professional man holding visa application

Who Qualifies for an O1 Visa?

Here at Toppins Law, P.C., we’re pleased to answer any questions you may have about securing an O1 visa in Houston, TX, and other destinations in the United States. One of the most frequently asked questions is, “Do I qualify?” While every case is different, here are the general standards.

O1 visas are a type of short-term employment visa; they are specifically designed for foreign-born individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements in science, arts, education, business, or athletics. To qualify, they must be entering the United States due to a job offer related to their field.

The Meaning of “Extraordinary”

While what qualifies as “extraordinary” abilities or achievement can be debated, generally speaking, the person must have earned national or international acclaim in their field. Furthermore, these must be individual achievements rather than part of a group or team effort. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for an O1 visa, talk to a knowledgeable attorney.

Related Visas

In addition to O1, the United States also offers O2 and O3 visas. People who are accompanying an O1 person to assist with a specific event may be granted an O2 visa. However, their assistance must be “essential,” and they must have skills or experience with the O1 person that a U.S. worker wouldn’t be able to replicate. Spouses and children of O1 and O2 visas can be granted an O3 visa to travel with them.

coworkers working on a laptop

What Happens If You Overstay Your Employment Visa?

Life happens fast. If you’re staying in the United States on an employment visa, it’s all too easy to find out that you’ve accidentally remained in the country past your approved date. That puts you in a precarious situation. Technically, you’re now in the U.S. illegally, and you can face significant penalties in addition to deportation as a result.

Fortunately, you aren’t out of options. The best thing you can do is reach out to a knowledgeable immigration law firm in Houston, TX, for help. The professionals there can help you navigate the complex next steps to handling your immigration status.

Act Quickly

The sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the less severe your circumstances are likely to be. An immigration law firm may be able to look into options like waivers if you’re eligible. Even if you face some penalties for overstaying, they’re often not as harsh when you try to settle the matter quickly.

At Toppins Law Firm, P.C., we handle local cases frequently, and we’ve seen the difference that prompt, professional legal action can make in a visiting worker’s life. Don’t let anxiety about immigration keep you from getting the sound advice you need to move forward. As soon as you realize you’ve overstayed a visa, get a representative who can help you protect your rights.

passport and customs form

Who Qualifies For L1 Visas?

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows overseas companies to transfer employees to work in the U.S. under two types of L1 visa programs. One of the benefits of the L1 visa category is that there is no quota or cap on how many may gain the status within each company.

When seeking advice about an L1 visa in Houston, TX, you will find that two sub-categories are very popular.

L1A Visas

The L1A visa covers transfers of executives and managers, including business owners, for up to seven years. L1 visa requirements for these purposes are quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. Applicants are issued an L1A visa initially for three years, extendible in two-year increments to a maximum of seven years.

L1B Visas

This category covers those with specialized knowledge of the company’s products/services, systems, research, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. The job details should be clearly explained when applying for the L1 visa. Employees in this category are granted an L1B visa initially for three years, and they are extendable to a maximum of five years.

question marks in an open palm

What Happens When you Losoe your Job with an H-1B Visa?

Workers in the country on H-1B visas can, unfortunately, end up losing the job upon which their status and visa depend. This may happen because the company who helped sponsor them for the visa lays them off, or otherwise terminates employment. In the current COVID-19 situation, reduced hours, job losses, and other changes can occur frequently and without advance notice, and it is advisable to seek advice from experts in corporate immigration law in Houston, TX.

Consequences of Losing H-1B Employment

While there are many advantages to having H-1B status, one disadvantage, as  immigration law makes clear, is that someone’s immigration status is based on, and therefore dependent upon, their employment status.

Once someone ceases to be employed, they have a maximum 60-day grace period in which to either obtain another employer to sponsor them for H-1B employment, to arrange a different visa status allowing them to stay in the U.S., or make plans to head home.

When You Are Supposed to Leave the U.S.

Under  immigration law, if someone is not applying to change immigration status in the U.S., then they have up to 60 days after employment ends to leave, or until their status expires if that is sooner.

A small consolation is U.S. immigration regulation 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(E), which requires H-1B employers to pay the reasonable costs of transporting H-1B workers back to their country of residence upon termination of employment.

The employer is not, however, required to pay the transportation costs of the employee’s dependents.

passport and visa

E-1, E-2, and E-3 Investor Visas: What’s the Difference?

The United States is a major center of international commerce, and thus people from around the world travel to the country to work and conduct business. Many of these people enter the country using an E-1, E-2, and E-3 visa. But what are these visas, and how do you know which you should apply for? Here’s what you should know before traveling with trader and investor visas in Houston, TX, or anywhere else in America.

E-1: Nationals from a treaty country may be admitted to the United States on an E-1 visa solely to engage in trade on their own behalf. “Trade” may apply to the trade of goods, services, and banking. To qualify, the trade must be substantial, although quantity of transactions is emphasized over total value.

E-2: Nationals from a treaty country may be admitted to the United States on an E-2 visa when investing a substantial amount of capital in an American business. For example, an individual may travel with this investor visa to set up a business. An E-2 visa may be extended indefinitely, so long as their business in the country remains viable.

E-3: These visas apply only to Australian nationals coming to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. They must have a legitimate offer of employment before applying, as well as the necessary qualifying credentials in their field.

foreign exchange students

FAQs about Student Visas

Every year, countless students arrive from around the world to study in Texas and other parts of the United States. Are you or your loved one next? Start learning what you need to know about student visas by reviewing the following FAQs. For further details, contact our Spanish-speaking attorney in Houston.

Who is eligible for an F-1 visa?

F-1 visas are issued to international students attending an academic program in the United States. To qualify, you must have the following:

  • A Sponsoring School
  • A Foreign Residence and the Intent to Return Upon Finishing Your Studies
  • Strong Ties to Your Home Country
  • Sufficient Financial Support

What types of education does an F-1 visa cover?

The F-1 visa is most often used to attend an accredited college or university. However, they may also cover seminaries, conservatories, high schools, elementary schools, and other academic institutions. The course of study must culminate in a degree, diploma, or certificate, and the school must be authorized to accept international students. Talk to a Spanish-speaking attorney if you have questions about whether your intended program qualifies.

How do you start the application process?

Before you start applying for an F-1 visa, you must first be accepted into an accredited academic program. After you’ve secured admission (and the school’s sponsorship), consult with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to determine in what order you should complete the student visa application process.

Free Webinar to Teach How to Sponsor an Individual for an H1-B Visa

Toppins Webinar 2 AdvertisementNow is the time to file an H1-B Visa to recruit talent from around the world. Beginning March 1, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement an H1-B visa process change that streamlines the lottery process. 

Toppins & Williams Attorneys at Law, PC, will offer a free webinar called “How to Sponsor an Individual for an H1-B Visa” on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, from 11 a.m. to noon CST. During the webinar, Wilka Toppins, Esq., will teach you step-by-step how to sponsor a foreign candidate for professional employment for a period of up to 6 years and how to take advantage of the new registration process. 

Many employers report having a difficult time recruiting qualified and available candidates for professional positions. Have you considered hiring global talent or, perhaps, recruiting on college campuses for international students in the United States on OPT? Have you considered tapping into existing H1-B candidates that can “port” their visa to your company? The H1-B visa is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation. Plenty of talented workers are available when you know how to utilize employment sponsorship programs like H1-B. It is easier than you think! 

The “How to Sponsor an Individual for an H1-B Visa” webinar will be interactive, and Attorney Wilka Toppins, Shareholder of Toppins & Williams, PC, will answer your questions about the H1-B visa LIVE! Register for the webinar now.  Email us or call us with any questions: (713) 621-8588.