General Employment Visa Questions

October 27, 2014 Jamie Gilpin

Envoy offers a money-back guarantee* all while providing superior customer service, fast attorney response times, and flat fees. We pride ourselves on our ability to save time, money, and frustration for Human Resources professionals looking to hire foreign nationals for their company.

Through the use of our patented online platform, Envoy-affiliated attorneys, HR managers, foreign national employees, and customer service representatives are all able to communicate seamlessly with each other, thereby speeding up visa case processing times significantly.

*Some restrictions may apply.

What’s the difference between “business” and “work” visas?”

  • In order to help you distinguish the two, here are some signs you are conducting “work” in a foreign country:
    • Your activities require a signatory authority
    • You are performing your same activities in the host (foreign) country as your home country
    • You are staying there longer than 3 months
    • You are performing technical services
    • You are receiving direct compensation from the host company
  • Signs you are conducting “business” on a trip to a foreign country:
    • You are conducting meetings or negotiations
    • You are attending a seminar or conference
    • You are on a fact finding trip
    • You are conducting market research

If you think you qualify for “business,” you may want to consider the B-1 visa. The rest of the visas listed in this FAQ are work visas. For more guidance on “business” vs. “work” visas, contact Envoy.

What is the standard processing time for a U.S. business visa application?

  • With Envoy, a case can be initiated, prepared, and sent to the U.S. government in as little as 48 hours. This time frame also depends heavily on the completion on all necessary application documents by the HR manager (or other company representative) and the foreign national employee.
  • Once the application reaches the U.S. government, however, the review process can be very time consuming. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict guidelines and multiple stages in its U.S. business visa applications. Government processing times vary significantly for each visa and are constantly changing. To check current processing times for each visa, visit

How can I determine which visa will be best for my employee(s)?

  • An attorney will be able to determine which visa is best through a careful evaluation of the potential employee’s resume and the job description they wish to fill in the United States.

I want to hire a foreign national who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Can he or she still qualify for an employment-based visa?

  • A Bachelor’s degree is not a requirement for every type of work permit and even if this is a requirement, there are sometimes exceptions that would allow you to satisfy this request. Feel free to contact an attorney about your specific situation to further discuss whether you will need a Bachelor’s degree for your specific work permit.

Why can’t we hire a foreign national today and have them start tomorrow?

  • All U.S. immigration cases are processed by USCIS, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS maintains an extremely rigid process, ensuring that foreign nationals entering the U.S. meet numerous requirements and that the proper restrictions are enforced for their visit. The U.S. business immigration process requires the U.S. employer to complete several stages before they can hire a foreign national.
  • In addition, there has been a substantial increase in employment-based immigration petitions over the past few years due to high demand for skilled workers. There are backlogs and quotas for certain countries that provide the bulk of foreign national employees such as India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico. Because of these issues, it is critical for an employer to plan for the immigration process as far in advance as possible.

Is there any way to speed up the business immigration process?

  • Envoy offers premium processing on select types of employment visa applications, which ensures that USCIS will decide your case within 15 days unless further evidence is needed. Once the immigration case is received by the U.S. government however, the application and processing is truly in their control. Different USCIS service centers process immigration cases at different speeds, and the service center is generally determined upon your work location and/or residential location. Therefore, we cannot selectively choose which center will process your petition.

Can I select premium processing for immigration cases that have already been submitted to the U.S. government?

  • Yes, for certain types of applications. If you determine the case needs to be expedited after the initial filing or an unexpected delay occurs, you case will be adjudicated 15 days from the time you opt in to premium processing.

Are there any difficulties dealing with USCIS that my company should know about?

  • As a government agency dealing with a high case volume, USCIS commonly experiences delays in its immigration processing. Envoy-affiliated attorneys continuously monitor the processing times of each USCIS service center and follow up as needed with each case. They work to anticipate and identify early any problems that would delay your visa application approval. If an issue does arise, our affiliated attorneys will notify you immediately with options on how to proceed that will guarantee you the fastest result possible.

What is an RFE and how does Envoy handle RFEs?

  • A Request for Additional Evidence (RFE) may be issued by USCIS if they determine further information is required to proceed with a visa application. Envoy is notified of the RFE by the U.S. government, and would then begin immediately to prepare and submit the proper documentation.
  • Although not very common, RFEs do happen occasionally and sometimes spike in number dependent on what is happening at an individual USCIS service center. In contrast to traditional law firms, Envoy does not charge any extra fees for processing RFEs issued by USCIS.

Why does the amount of information required for each type of employment visa application vary so greatly?

  • Visa application guidelines vary depending on the type of employment, responsibilities involved in the position, country of origin, length of employment, etc. Initial requirements, background information, and burden of proof may very significantly for each visa type.

Is the employer (visa petitioner) legally responsible for all filing fees and accompanying costs for their employees’ immigration processing?

  • This depends on the type of visa or immigration service required for the employee. For example, PERM certification costs must be paid by the employer but the employee can choose to pay for other green card fees. Most visas require employers to pay some of the cost, and some companies pay for everything simply as a benefit or incentive to the foreign national employee. If you are interested in learning the specifics of employer vs. employee immigration payments, please contact us.

What is an adjustment of status interview?

  • An adjustment of status interview is generally required for family-based immigrant visa applications. An adjustment of status interview is generally not required for employment-based immigrant visa applications but on occasion, USCIS does require such applicants to undergo an interview.

What types of employment visas are eligible for visa revalidation or renewal?

  • Also called visa renewal or visa reissuance, visa revalidation is available to individuals who are in E, H, L, O or P visa categories and were previously issued a visa in the same category prior to admission to the U.S.
  • The U.S. Department of State Visa Office does not revalidate visas for nationals of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria. These applicants must apply for new visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Can our foreign national employee(s) bring their dependent family members to the United States with their work visa?

  • In many cases, dependents are allowed to accompany the foreign national on an H-4 visa. Generally, the application for dependents does not start until filing the I-485 form.

Can our foreign national employee(s) travel internationally with their U.S. work visa?

  • Foreign nationals with employment-based visas or pending green cards do have some options for international travel that will not jeopardize their immigration status, but it’s important to consult an attorney first.
  • Any U.S. visa holder without permanent status should take general precautions before traveling internationally, including making sure they have an updated visa stamp, being flexible with their travel plans, talking to their consulate before departure, and planning well in advance for the trip.

What types of employment visas allows dependent family members to work alongside the foreign national in the U.S.?

  • Unfortunately, dependent visas such as H-4 and TD do not allow the visa holder to work in the United States during their stay. In these cases it may be in the best interest of the dependent to procure a different work visa once they are in the United States. Dependents can study on an H-4 visa, but they cannot work part-time like F-1 student visa holders.
  • If a dependent holds an E-3 (E visa dependents) or L-2 visa (L visa dependents) they are eligible for a work permit (EAD.) For more information about which dependent visas offer U.S. work authorization, we recommend speaking with an affiliated attorney.

What if I have questions about a visa or immigration service that I don’t see here in the FAQ?

  • This FAQ section of the Envoy website is merely meant as a starting point and a reference tool for those interested in pursuing a case in the complex world of U.S. business immigration. We only mention the most common business immigration visas and green cards here, but we can process any business immigration case, no matter your visa type.
  • Another great resource is our team of immigration professionals who can talk to you about the details of your case with a free case assessment. Call 1-855-847-2669 to talk to a consultant and discuss any questions you may have regarding business visas and immigration services.

*Please note that these answers to frequently asked questions are in no way legal advice, and should not be interpreted as such.

The post General Employment Visa Questions appeared first on Envoy.

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