Training Visa Options

There are three visa options for foreign nationals seeking employment training in the United States.

J1 Visa – Intern

Foreign nationals who are currently in school in a foreign country or who have graduated from a foreign school in the past 12 months can get a J1 visa for an internship.  The internship cannot be in an unskilled or medical care field.  A US employer can offer the internship and is required to pay significant fees to an approved J1 sponsor (an agency which performs a site visit where the internship will occur and issue paperwork used to obtain the J1 visa).

The US employer must provide entry level training, provide program evaluations, and provide continuous onsite supervision of the trainee.  Interns must undergo multiple evaluations by the J1 sponsor to be eligible to continue with the program.  The maximum duration of the J1 intern visa is 12 months.

J1 Visa – Trainee

Foreign nationals who have a college degree and one year of employment experience or no degree and five years of experience are eligible for a J1 visa for training.  The training cannot be in an unskilled or medical field.  A US employer can offer the training and is required to pay significant fees to an approved J1 sponsor (an agency which performs a site visit where the internship will occur and issue paperwork used to obtain the J1 visa).

The training visa cannot be used to fill a position that would ordinarily be filled by a part time of full time employee.  Site visits must be conducted by the J1 sponsor prior to the issuance of the J1 visa and during the training program.  The J1 sponsor will also ensure that the trainers are properly selected, the trainees are properly supervised, and will make periodic evaluations to ensure compliance.  The training must be offered in a full time capacity defined as 32 hours/wk minimum and the maximum duration of the J1 trainee visa is 18 months.

H3 Visa – Trainee

Foreign national who wish to receive training in the US (with no education or work experience requirements) may do so with an H3 visa.  The H3 visa requires a US employer to apply for the visa but there is no sponsoring agency as required by the J1 visa (and no sponsor fees or site visits).

The US employer may provide training in any area other than medical training and custodial care is allowed but must be incidental to the training program.   The US employer must offer a structured training program with one or more qualified staff members to provide the training.  This visa cannot be used to displace an American worker but employment incidental to the training is permissible (on the job training).

The training must be designed to benefit the foreign national in pursuing a career abroad and you must show that the training is not available in their home country.  The training can be offered in a part time or full time capacity, the trainee can be paid for the training and the maximum duration of a H3 visa is 24 months.

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 10:53 am by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: H-3 Visa, J-1 Visa, Training Visa

J1 Waiver Fulbright Options

J1 Waiver Options for Applicants with Fulbright or other Foreign Government Funding

Usually it’s difficult to obtain a J1 waiver for a person with government funding.  In fact, in many circumstances it is impossible.  Many J1 Fulbright waiver applicants come to our office after already attempting to secure a no objection based waiver but failed.  In 99% of cases, a no objection based waiver for Fulbrighters is impossible and a waste of time and energy.  However, we have secured many no objection based waivers for applicants who received home country government funding.  When handling J1 waivers for Fulbrighters, we generally recommend pursuing a waiver through the hardship, persecution, and interested government agency methods.  The purpose of this post is to review some of the Fulbright and other government funding waiver applications that we have handled.

  1. Hardship Waiver for Poland National with Fulbright Funding

Our firm assisted a Poland national who had a Polish husband and US Citizen child with a J1 hardship waiver.  The applicant was a scientist and we were able to show that her research was in the national interest.  We also argued that the applicant’s child would have poor access to proper medical care for a minor medical condition and that the applicant would not be able to support the child due to the weak economy and poor job opportunities in Poland.  This case was approved.

  1. No Objection Waiver for China National with funding from the Chinese Government (China Scholarship Council)

Our firm assisted a China national who entered with a J1 visa funded by the China Department of Education to work at a US University as a research scholar. Though she received significant Chinese government funding for her program, we were able to persuade China to issue a letter of no objection and her waiver was approved.

  1. Persecution Waiver for Turkmenistan National with US Government Funding

Our firm assisted a Turkmenistan national who married an American. The applicant was a Muslim and her husband, a Christian. We were able to establish that the applicant would be subject to persecution in a country that is more than 90% Muslim. This case was approved.

  1. Hardship Waiver for Morocco National with US Government Funding (USAID)

Our firm assisted a Morocco national who married an American man and they had three children together. We were able to establish that her husband would suffer career disruption and sever financial consequences and that the children’s lives would be in danger in Morocco due to Muslim extremists. This case was approved.

  1. Hardship Waiver for Jamaica National with Fulbright Funding

Our firm assisted a Jamaica national with three American children. We successfully argued that the children would suffer mental and psychological harm and that the applicant’s scientific research was in the national interest. This case was approved.

  1. Hardship Waiver for Ukraine National with US Government Funding (USIA)

Our firm assisted a Ukraine national who had one US child. We successfully argued that US child would not be able to integrate into Ukraine society after living in the US for a long period and being unfamiliar with local customs and unable to speak the language. The case was approved.

  1. No Objection Waiver for China National with funding from the Chinese Government (Chinese Language Council International)

Our firm assisted a China national who entered with a J1 visa funded by the China Department of Education to work at a US University as a Chinese language Instructor. Though she received significant Chinese government funding for her program, we were able to persuade the China to issue a letter of no objection and her waiver was approved.

  1. Hardship Waiver for Portugal National with Fulbright Funding

Our firm assisted a Portugal national who had a US citizen spouse. We argued that the American husband would severe emotional issues due to a possible separation and that his minor medical problems could not be treated in Portugal. The case was approved.

  1. No Objection Waiver for Turkey National with funding from the US State Department

Our firm assisted a Turkey national who entered with a J1 visa through the US Department of State’s Student and Scholar Exchange Visitor Program. We were able to obtain a No Objection statement from Turkey and persuade the State Department to recommend a waiver. The case was approved.

  1. No Objection Waiver for Japan National with funding from the Japanese Government

Our firm assisted a Japan national who entered with a J1 visa funded by the Japanese government to work at a US University as a research scholar. Though she received significant Japanese government funding for her program, we were able to persuade Japan to issue a letter of no objection and her waiver was approved.

If you entered the US with a J1 visa or changed your status to J1 and have Us government funding or if your home country funded your program, we may be able to help you get a waiver.  Contact our office to discuss your options.

Posted on June 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: J-1 Visa Waiver

I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

On January 3, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule on provisional unlawful presence waivers. I-601A applications may be submitted to USCIS beginning March 4, 2013. This rule allows certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States to file provisional unlawful presence waivers prior to traveling abroad for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.

  1. You may be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if:
  2. You are physically present in the United States;
  3. You are at least 17 years of age at the time of filing;
  4. You are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition classifying you as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen;
  5. You have an immigrant visa case pending with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), for which you have already paid the immigrant visa processing fee; and
  6. You believe you are, or will be at the time of the immigrant visa interview, inadmissible based on having accrued a certain period of unlawful presence in the United States.
  1. You are not eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver and your application will be rejected or denied if:
  2. You do not meet one or more of the requirements listed above;
  3. You have a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS;
  4. You are in removal proceedings unless your removal proceedings are administratively closed and have not been re-calendared as of the date of filing of the I-601A;
  5. You have been ordered removed, excluded, or deported from the United States;
  6. You are subject to reinstatement of a prior removal order;
  7. DOS acted to schedule your immigrant visa interview prior to January 3, 2013, even if you failed to appear or you or DOS cancelled or rescheduled the interview on or after January 3, 2013.
  8. You do not establish that the refusal of your admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse or parent, or that your application should be approved as a matter of discretion;
  9. USCIS has reason to believe that DOS may find you inadmissible at the time of your immigrant visa interview for grounds other than unlawful presence.

If you are in the United States and not in removal proceedings, an I-601A provisional waiver application can be made using Form I-601A.  After filing, you will be required to submit to biometrics collection which includes fingerprints and photographing.  After the i-601A is approved, you must depart the United States for an immigrant visa interview abroad.

In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: I-601, I-601 Waiver, I-601A · Tagged with: , ,

DREAM Deferred Action Approvals Arriving

DREAM Act approvals are starting to trickle in.  Here is a copy of a recent application which was approved in approximately 5 weeks.  It is representative of a typical case.  A Mexican national entered the US without a visa fifteen years ago when he was a child.  He graduated from high school and was working in the US without authorization.  During his 15 years in the US, he had some minor court issues but nothing rising to the level of a serious misdemeanor.  Now, with his approved deferred action, he is safe from removal for at least two years and may be able to work legally in the United States.  If you are in a similar situation, we can help you.  Contact us at 312-751-9960, by email at info@messersmithlaw.com or visit our DREAM Act website for more information.

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: DREAM Act · Tagged with: 

ApplyUSDreamAct.com Goes Live

The Messersmith Law Firm is now taking US Dream Act cases via our online website ApplyUSDreamAct.com.  If you meet the following eligibility requirements, we may be able to help you obtain deferred action and a two year work permit.

  1. Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the US before reaching his/her 16th birthday;
  3. Has continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Was physically present in the US. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of application to USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Coast Guard or the US Armed Forces; and
  7. Has not been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” three or more other misdemeanors, or does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Posted on August 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: DREAM Act · Tagged with: 

Which Visa is Faster: K1 Visa or K3 Visa

I am planning on marrying a girl from the philippines. I was wondering if its quicker her to get her here in America if I marry her here or if I marry here there in the philippines? Also what form do I need to fill out?

In our experience the K1 visa is quicker by a couple of months. Some of our K1 visas have been approved and issued in as little as 3 months whereas K3 visas typically take 6-9 months. Getting married does not make your case any stronger or more likely to be approved so there’s no real benefit to sponsoring her as your wife.

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: K-1 Visa, K-3 Visa · Tagged with: ,

Change of Status from H2B Visa to H1B Visa

I am curently in USA on h2b viza. My I-94 expires on May 31, 2010.

I would like to change my statul for H1B visa. I have Batchelor degree in economics and master degree in accounting. beside my job for my h2b employeer i am doing an internship as an accountant in one company. the owner of this company would like to help me to change my staus if this is possible. i would like to know if it is posible to change my status in my case. Thak you. Looking forward to hear from you. Best regards.

Your current employer would be able to sponsor your change of status from H2B to H1B provided that he offers you a position that requires the use of your degree(s) such as an accountant, budget/credit analyst, financial analyst, economist or other financial specialist.

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: H-1B Visa, H-2B Visa · Tagged with: ,

I-485 Portability; EAD Employment

My current company has sponsored my H1B and applied for Green Card. I have received my EAD card, and I485 is submitted an year back. I485 is pending approval.

I am currently interviewing with other companies and anticipating an offer letter from another company. My new company is not willing to sponsor my H1B.

So, my question here is:

a. Can I sponsor my EAD myself ? What is the process to do it ?

b. What are the risks ?

c. Is it going to impact my Green Card processing ?

Please advise. Thanks in advance.

So long as meet the I485 portability requireemnts, you can move to a new employer and work with an EAD and USCIS will still process your green card. The portability rule applies where you have an approved I-140 and an I-485 pending for at least 180 days you may move to a new employer where the new job is “in the same or similar occupational classification as the job for which the certification or approval was initially made.” You new employer will have to make an AC21 filing notifying USCIS of your new employment..

Visa for a Part Time Housekeeper

I have a friend in the Philippines I would like to employ as a part time house keeper and part time work in my business is there a work visa that would allow her to work for me ? Thank You

An H2B visa may be possible for this type of work if you can establish that you have a seasonal, one time need or that the work is otherwise temporary in nature. If you are looking to bring your friend here for a longer duration, you may wish to offer him a different type of employment.

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: H-2B Visa · Tagged with: 

Self Employment in OPT and H1B Status

I have a question, and i hope you can help me with it.

I am on F1 student visa. i am doing my masters in accounting also planing to sit for the CPA.

I know that after graduation you are allowed to take OPT and work for up to 12 months. while your are on the OPT you are allowed to be self emloyee, during that period i want to open my own CPA firm or atleast bookkeeping office and be self employed.

My question is if i open my own accounting office can i soponser my self with an H1 VISA?

A student on OPT may start a business and be self-employed. The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to the student’s degree program. The rules are quite different for an H1B visa. In order to obtain an H1B visa with your own firm, you must establish that you firm is separate from you and has a certain level of control over your actions. The best way to do this is to have a minority interest in your firm, i.e., get a partner or two.

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm by Immigration Lawyer Peter Messersmith · Permalink · One Comment
In: H-1B Visa, OPT · Tagged with: ,