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Understanding Employment-Based Visas and Work Authorizations

Corbaci Law, P.C. Nov. 20, 2023

Woman applying for visa in US immigration office and handing documentsBoasting the world's largest economy, the United States has seen a sustained boom that's largely fueled by the hard work and dedication of immigrants. For those abroad who are keen on joining this economic powerhouse, there's a multitude of visa options to explore. It's a journey that may seem overwhelming at first glance, but rest assured, understanding these options and making informed decisions is entirely achievable.  

Our immigration law attorneys at Corbaci Law, P.C. are here to help you navigate the process. If you're seeking legal help in or near Boston, Massachusetts, contact our team today to set up a time to meet. We have offices in Woburn and Marlborough, and we look forward to clarifying any concerns you have about work visas.  

Different Types of Employment-Based Visas 

In the U.S., there's an array of employment-based visas available for both nonimmigrants and immigrants.  

Nonimmigrant Employment-Based Visas: 

  • H-1B Visa: Designed for professionals in specialty occupations requiring a degree. 

  • L-1 Visa: For intra-company transferees who are managers, executives, or specialized knowledge employees moving to a U.S. branch of their current employer. Spouses of L-1 visa holders also qualify. 

  • E-1 Treaty Trader Visa: Ideal for individuals involved in substantial trade between the U.S. and their home country. Spouses of E-1 visa holders can apply too. 

  • O-1 Visa: For individuals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. 

Immigrant Employment-Based Visas: 

  • EB-1 Visa: This caters to individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, and multinational managers or executives. 

  • EB-2 Visa: Designed for professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability. 

  • EB-3 Visa: Suitable for skilled workers, professionals, or other workers. 

While nonimmigrant visas are temporary and require the applicant to maintain a residence abroad, immigrant visas offer a path to permanent residency. These visas are usually based on extraordinary ability, advanced degrees, or skills deemed beneficial to the U.S. economy. 

Other Available Options 

Apart from these, there are also options for family-based non-immigrants such as those holding a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, K-3 dependent visa, as well as those seeking an adjustment of status (LPR status). Asylees, refugees and their dependents, certain nationalities, international students with an F-1 or M-1 visa, and eligible dependents of employees from international organizations like diplomatic missions or NATO also have specific pathways available. 

We know this is a lot to take in; but remember, you don't have to make any major decisions on your own. At Corbaci Law, P.C., we'll be by your side every step of the way, helping you understand your options and find the right fit for your unique situation.  

Understanding the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 

In addition to employment-based visas, another way for immigrants to legally work in the U.S. is by obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD, or a work permit, is a legal document issued by USCIS that grants the bearer the right to work. To learn the eligibility requirements for applying, we invite you to explore our Employment Authorization practice area.  

The Process of Obtaining an EAD 

Below is a simple step-by-step guide that outlines the process of acquiring an EAD: 

  1. Confirm Eligibility: To obtain an EAD in the U.S., you must prove eligibility by completing an I-9 Form, Employment Eligibility Verification. You can get an EAD if you have a work visa, achieve lawful permanent resident (LPR) status with a Green Card, or qualify under certain categories like asylees, refugees, international students, and dependents of employees from international organizations. 

  1. Get the Application Form: The first step is to obtain Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

  1. Prepare Supporting Documents: You'll need to gather necessary documents including a copy of your passport, two passport-size photos, the I-94 travel record, copies of other work permits (if applicable), and a copy of the U.S. visa stamped in your passport. 

  1. Apply for EAD while Seeking a Green Card: If you're applying for an EAD while seeking a Green Card and LPR status, you'll need to provide proof that you've submitted Form I-485, Adjustment of Status. 

  1. Wait for Approval: After you submit your application, the review process typically takes 60 to 90 days. If approved, the EAD (Form I-766) is issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

  1. Keep Track of Expiration Dates: EADs do have expiration dates, so it's important to initiate renewal six months before their expiration unless you've achieved LPR status. 

  1. Pay the Filing Fee: There is a filing fee required for the EAD application, unless you obtain a fee waiver. 

  1. Reapply if Necessary: If your work permit is lost, reapply with Form I-765. 

  1. Consult an Immigration Attorney: We recommend seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer to navigate the EAD application process smoothly. 

At Corbaci Law, P.C., we're committed to guiding you through the U.S. immigration system. Let's work together to make your American dream a reality. 

Seek Knowledgeable Legal Assistance 

The process of obtaining an employment-based visa or work authorization can seem daunting, but it's essential for achieving your goals.  

At Corbaci Law, P.C., our team, led by Christina Corbaci, Esq. and Crystal Morillo, Esq. , is dedicated to assisting clients throughout Woburn, Boston, Marlborough, and Framingham with their immigration needs. 

With our extensive knowledge and experience in immigration law, we'll guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that you understand your options and the steps required. We're committed to providing professional, empathetic, and reassuring services to help you realize your dreams of working in the U.S. 

Let us be your guiding light on this journey. Reach out to us today.