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Types of Temporary Visas in California: How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

For over 160 years, California has been the land of opportunity. People from all over the planet have been drawn here to work. Temporary visas, also known as non-immigration visas, allow individuals to work in the U.S. for a specific time and generally for a specific employer.

Work Visas

With a few exceptions, temporary work visas allowing someone to work in the U.S. must be filed by an employer's petition on that individual's behalf to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This list comprises the most common types of temporary work visas:

  • E - an E1 visa allows someone from a "treaty" country - a nation with a commerce treaty with the U.S. - to conduct trade here. An E2 visa permits entry to a person from a treaty country for the purpose of investing substantial capital in the U.S. This classification does not require an employer's petition.
  • H1B - this visa is for professionals in a specialty occupation, although there are subsections. These subsections include specialty workers specifically from Chile and Singapore; specialty occupations relating to the Department of Defense and a subsection for fashion models of "distinguished merit and ability," as per the USCIS.
  • H2 - these visas are for either temporary or seasonal agricultural workers or seasonal non-agricultural workers.
  • TN- temporary professionals from Canada or Mexico coming to the U.S. as per the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This classification does not require an employer's petition.

Special Classifications

Some people may enter the U.S. on special visa classifications particular to their line of work. R-1 visas, for example, allow religious workers to work temporarily as a minister or another faith-based occupation. Other special classifications include:

  • I - representatives of foreign media
  • L1A- L1B - managers or executives in an intracompany transfer and intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge, respectively.
  • P-2 - P3 - individual performers entering the U.S. as part of a reciprocal exchange program or artists/entertainers coming to "perform, teach or coach" under a culturally unique program, respectively.

There are other special classifications pertaining primarily to celebrities or persons of great achievement.

Dependents and Spouses

Dependent spouses and children may accompany most temporary workers, but must obtain a visa from the U.S. consulate in their home country. Dependent spouses of E and L temporary visa holders may apply for employment authorization, but not those of H visa holders or other classifications.

Contact an Attorney

Immigration law is complicated, and it is easy to take a misstep that could result in devastating consequences. If you have an immigration issue, you need the services of an experienced immigration attorney. The Law Offices of John R. Alcorn offers effective legal representation for people dealing with immigration matters. Call our firm today at 949-751-6574 or email us.

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  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
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