01. NEW YORK CITY, USA
108 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
m: +1 (212) 459-3800
e: [email protected]
02. SILICON VALLEY, USA
3340 Walnut Avenue
Fremont, CA 94538
m: +1 (408) 329-9184
e: [email protected]
03. TOKYO, JAPAN
2nd Floor, 7-13-5
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
m: +81 (03) 4579-8523
e: [email protected]
04. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
Thailand Affiliate Office
SW Consulting Group (Thailand) Co.,Ltd.
47/14 Chotana Road
Chang Phuak,Chiang Mai
For general inquiries, you can e-mail us at [email protected]
What is a Visa?
A visa is a piece of documentation that you obtain after a U.S. official has determined that you are eligible to enter the United States for a specific purpose and for a specific period of time. It has a certain expiration date and can be authorized for any number of entries into the United States. A visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port of entry, so that you may ask an immigration officer to allow you to enter the United States.
There Are Two Categories of U.S. Visas: Non-Immigrant Visas and Immigrant Visas.
Non-immigrant visas are generally applicable to those who, although having a permanent residence outside of the United States, wish to temporarily be in the United States for purposes such a business, investment, study, or travel. Typically, these visas require a corporate sponsor. If you are on a non-immigrant visa, after a certain period of stay in the United States, it is possible for you to apply for an immigrant visa.
Immigrant visas, commonly known as the Green Card, offer individuals many benefits, including the ability to live and work permanently in the United States. There are various classifications for employment-based and family-based immigration.
Particularly Common Non-Immigrant Visa Categories
Employees: H-1B, H-3
Students: J-1, F-1 / M-1
Artists: P-2, P-3
Clients of “extraordinary ability”: O-1, EB-1
SWLG frequently serves clients of “extraordinary” ability in the performing arts, fine arts, motion pictures, television production, athletics, sciences, and business. We always strive to prepare the most thorough and comprehensive petitions for these extraordinary clients seeking O-1 non-immigrant status and/or EB-1 immigrant visas.
Immigrant Visa Categories
Employment Based Immigrant Visa
Family Based Immigrant Visa
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
In addition to non-immigrant work and training visas, our specialties include labor certification processing, permanent residence applications based on employment and family, as well as consular processing.
For instance, in addition to the above, our firm is happy to assist lawful permanent residents and conditional permanent residents obtain re-entry permits from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, so that they may re-enter the U.S. after an extended period of stay abroad.
ALIEN WITH EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY (EB-1A)
An EB visa is an employment based visa for aliens who can demonstrate that they have extraordinary ability, and can establish that they are the very best in their field of study.
According to Federal Immigration Law such applicants, living in the U.S. or abroad, are not required to have a prospective employer, however they must be entering the U.S. to work in their chosen field, and they must substantially benefit the U.S. in the future.
Requirements of EB-1A holder
The applicant of the EB-1A visa must be able to prove that they meet the following requirements:
- That they demonstrate an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim; and
- Their achievements have been recognized in their field through extensive documentation.
Advantages of the EB-1A visa
There are many advantages of the employment-based category EB-1A. First, a formal job offer is not required for a person in this category, as long as the petitioner is entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they have an extraordinary ability, therefore self-petition is allowed.
Secondly, a labor certification is not required and hence save the applicant a lot of time as applying for labor certification can be a lengthy and drawn out process.
The following are some major requirements for an EB-1A extraordinary ability application. For each requirement, the petitioner should submit evidence to meet the requirement. The evidence will be carefully evaluated in making a determination.
“Extraordinary Ability” Requirement #1
In order to establish that the applicant is indeed the very best in their field, they must be able to provide evidence of an internationally recognized award such as a Pulitzer Prize, Oscar, or Olympic Medal.
If the alien is unable to provide such evidence of an internationally recognized award they can establish their Extraordinary Ability by providing evidence of any three of the following:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
- Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
- Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
- Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Artistic exhibitions or showcases;
- Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
- High salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
- Commercial successes in the performing arts evidenced by either box office receipt figures or compact disk, video, or DVD sales figures.
Satisfying three out the ten above criteria does not automatically guarantee that you will be granted EB-1A status as an alien with extraordinary ability. The USCIS looks for quality as well as quantity. As in so many other aspects of immigration law, comprehensive documentation of your qualifications is crucial.
“Extraordinary Ability” Requirement #2
The second requirement of the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability applications is that you must establish that you are coming to the U.S. to continue to work in the area of your extraordinary ability. Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that you are coming to the U.S. to continue to work in your area of extraordinary ability includes:
- Letters from current or prospective employers;
- Documents evidencing your pre-arranged commitments (such as contracts);
- A statement detailing your plans on how you intend to continue working in your field in the U.S.
Family of EB-1A Visa Holders
The principal EB-1A visa petitioner can immediately provide permanent residency status to his or her spouse and minor children (under the age of 21 and unmarried). As permanent residents, the spouse and children will be able to work and study in the U.S. without much restriction. Additionally, both the spouse and children will be able to become American citizens after five years (if they otherwise qualify).
DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) VISA PROGRAM – GREEN CARD LOTTERY
The annual Diversity Visa Lottery also known as the Green Card Lottery is a U.S. government program that makes 50,000 Permanent Resident cards available every year to persons from “underrepresented countries,” which have been less represented in employment and family-based preference categories in the U.S. and who meet two basic eligibility requirements.
The Program makes Permanent Resident Cards available to the winners, authorizing the winners and their families to live, study and work in the U.S. as permanent residents. The Green Card Lottery program is a United States congressionally-mandated program for receiving a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, also popularly known as a U.S.A. Green Card, due to the green color of the Permanent Resident Card.
Since 2003, the applications for the U.S.A. Green Card Lottery have been accepted online only. This process has been streamlined into a reliable, secure and reliable three step program.
There is a limited period of time during which you can register for the DV Program during each fiscal year and the Department of State publishes detailed instructions for entering the DV Program. These instructions include the dates of the registration period during which you will be able to enter. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. If you submit more than one entry you will be disqualified.
If a person is unable to qualify for family, refugee or employment visa in the U.S., this is the only option they have to immigrate. While luck is certainly a key factor in the initial draw, many important factors that affect the applicants’ chances of winning a Permanent Resident Card can be controlled.
Individuals born in countries whose natives qualify may be eligible to enter. If you were not born in an eligible country, there are two other ways you might be able to qualify.
- Was your spouse born in a country whose natives are eligible? If yes, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth—provided that both you and your spouse are named on the selected entry, are issued diversity visas, and enter the U.S. simultaneously.
- Were you born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but in which neither of your parents was born or legally resident at the time of your birth? If yes, you may claim the country of birth of one of your parents if it is a country whose natives are eligible for the DV-2016 program.
Each applicant must meet the education/work experience requirement of the DV program by having either:
- A high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education;
- two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net Online database will be used to determine qualifying work experience.
Those born in any territory that has sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years are not eligible to receive a diversity visa.
There are a small number of lottery winners each year who, at the time of “winning the lottery,” are residing in the United States in a nonimmigrant or other legal status. For these winners residing inside the United States, USCIS processes adjustment of status applications.
The following information applies to winners legally residing in the United States only:
For an applicant to adjust status under the DV Program, you must establish that you:
- Have been selected for a diversity visa by DOS’s lottery;
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available at the time of filing an adjustment application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status); and
- Are admissible to the United States.
Period of Stay
Once you enter the U.S. with your Immigrant Visa, you can leave again whenever you want. You must however remember that an immigrant visa is “to live in the U.S.” As many DV winners have still to put their things in order before relocating permanently to the U.S. (quit job, sell house/car, etc.), the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Boarder Protection understand that, but please don’t make the mistake of many others by traveling to the U.S., staying for a couple weeks, returning to your country for 11 months, and coming back for a couple of weeks. After doing this couple times, you will be asked by the Customs and Boarder Protection to relinquish your green card.
If you are selected in the DV-2016 program, you are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2016, which spans from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. Selectees are encouraged to apply for visas as early as possible, once their lottery rank numbers become eligible for further processing. Without exception, all selected and eligible applicants must obtain their visa or adjust status by the end of the fiscal year. There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas by September 30, 2016 (the end of the fiscal year).
Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV-2016 registration can only obtain visas in the DV category between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.
Family of DV winners
Applicants who win the diversity visa lottery can extend that benefit to their spouses and children (who are under 21 years old and unmarried). These spouses and children are called “derivatives.”
In order for a spouse or child to get a diversity visa (an immigrant visa that leads to a U.S. green card), the person must have been listed on the primary applicant’s online State Department application.
Both married partners can, if they are both natives of a qualifying country, submit an entry into the visa lottery. This is strategically important because, if either is selected, the other can get a visa through the winner. It basically doubles your chances of winning.
The U.S. government now recognizes same-sex marriages for immigration purposes. As of DV-2015 (the entry period for which began on October 1, 2013), same-sex married couples can now list each other as spouses on a visa lottery application. The same-sex couple must be considered legally married according to the state or country where the wedding was held.