Unless the person is visa-exempt, when a foreigner wants to enter the U.S. temporarily, she must apply for a nonimmigrant visa in an embassy or consulate abroad. When counseling a client as to which visa she should apply for, there is an entire alphabet soup to choose from. The work-related visas include B-1 (visitor for business), E (treaty investor or treaty trader), H (seven categories), I (media), L (multinational transferees), O (extraordinary ability), P (athletes and entertainers), R (religious vocations) and TN (professional from Canada or Mexico). The employers want to know how long they can rely on having a foreign worker, what documents are required from them, and how long the process will take.
For each of these work-related options, the worker wants to know the following: Do I need a company to hire me or can I have my own company? What do I need to get the visa? How long can I stay? Can my spouse or children also join me and work? Over the next few days, I'll determine these answers for all these visas. As well as reveal a few unexpected surprises.