Work Visa

New Orleans Work Visa Lawyers

Strong advocacy for people seeking to work in New Orleans, Slidell, or throughout Louisiana

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) encourages foreign workers and professionals to come to America. Applicants can seek temporary visas to work in the United States. They can also seek green cards so they can work and live here as lawful permanent residents.

According to the US State Department, about 140,000 work-based immigration visas are made available each fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans immigration lawyers help individuals and families who are seeking work visas, need to renew a current visa, and/or have questions about employment in America. Contact us in New Orleans or Slidell to get started.

Do I need a job to come and work in America?

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Generally, yes. Most immigrants who come to America to work have already been given a job (or a job offer), and then serve as sponsors for those workers. The employer requests a labor certification approval from the US Department of Labor. When the certification is received, the employer can then file an immigration petition for an alien worker (Form I-140) with USCIS for the appropriate employment category.

There are different preference categories to work in the US permanently as a lawful permanent resident. There are also different categories to work in the US temporarily.

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Who can seek permanent work in Louisiana?

According to the US State Department, there are five categories of “permanent” employment for immigrants in America:

  • Employment First Preference (E1): Priority Worker and Persons of Extraordinary Ability. This category has three sub-groups.
    • Persons with extraordinary ability – in the sciences, education, business, arts, or athletics. Applicants need supporting documentation showing expertise in their field and national or international acclaim. These applicants don’t need a specific job offer – provided they are coming to America to continue work in their field of expertise. These applicants can file their own Immigrant Petitions for Alien Worker, Form I-140. They don’t need an employer to sponsor them.
    • Outstanding professors and researchers – who have three or more years of teaching or research experience and are recognized internationally. The applicant must be “coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.” The applicant must have a job offer and the employer files the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.
    • Multinational managers or executives– “who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.”  The applicant’s foreign employment “must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity.” There must be a job offer. The employer files the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.
  • Employment Second Preference (E2). The category is for professionals who have advanced degrees and for persons of exceptional ability. The applicant must have a labor certification approved by the US Department of Labor. An employer must have offered the applicant a job and filed the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-40. Applicants may be eligible for an exemption, called a National Interest Waiver (NIW) from the job offer and labor certification requirement – in which event the applicant can file his/her Form I-140. The State Department states that this category of employment applicant receives “28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas, plus any unused visas from the Employment First Preference category.”
    • There are two subgroups. Generally, these are professionals with an advanced degree and five years’ experience in the field of the degree – and people with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. “Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
  • Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers). The employer must file the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, and the labor certification request. The group of workers also receives 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas, plus any unused visas from the Employment First Preference and Second Preference categories.
    • There are three subgroups.
      • Skilled workers. These workers must have a minimum of 2 years’ training or work experience that is not temporary or seasonal. These jobs shouldn’t be able to be filled by the current US labor pool. A job offer and labor certification are required.
      • Professionals. These workers are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree. The work must not be able to be filled by current US professionals. A job offer and a labor certification are required.
      • Unskilled workers (Other workers)are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal and where qualified US workers are not available. A job offer and a labor certification are required.
    • Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants. This group receives 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas. We’ll explain the requirements. There are many subgroups including broadcasters, religious ministers, certain former employees of the Panama Canal Zone, Iraqi and Afghan interpreters or nationals, certain religious workers, and other subcategories.
    • Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors. This category is for certain foreign investors in new commercial enterprises that provide US jobs.

Once the immigrant petition is approved, USCIS sends the petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will advise the applicant of the steps needed to formally be granted LPR status – once an applicant’s “priority date meets the most recent qualifying date. “

Can a worker’s spouse or minor child receive an immigrant visa?

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Generally, spouses and minor children (under 21) can apply for immigrant visas along with the worker. Our New Orleans immigration visa lawyers will help ensure these applications are properly completed, the required fees are paid, and the spouse/child completes the necessary medical exams. According to the US State Department:

Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), along with their minor children, are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. Consular officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate their immigrant visa applications upon receipt of an approved I-130 or I-140 petition from USCIS.

Numerical limits on the different types of employer-immigration petitions

There are often limits depending on the category of work and the priority level. Generally, the date the immigration petition is filed is the priority date. An immigrant visa cannot be issued until the applicant’s priority date is met. Some categories may require that the applicant wait years for approval. We’ll explain your priority date and keep you informed when your priority date meets the qualifying date. We’ll also explain what fees are due and when.

What documents do New Orleans immigrants need to provide for a work visa?

Some of the documents that applicants need are valid passports, completion of certain forms starting with the I-140 form, properly sized photographs, and certain civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates.

There is an interview requirement. The applicant will need to show that he/she is not likely to become a public charge. At the interview, the applicant will have a digital fingerprint scan. The applicant will need to provide the results of a medical exam by an approved physician and confirmation of any necessary vaccinations.

Some applicants for work visas and green cards may be ineligible if they overstayed a prior visor, committed certain crimes, made certain misrepresentations, or for other reasons.

There are very specific requirements for opening the sealed packet an approved applicant receives from the NVC. We’ll explain those requirements. We’ll explain all other requirements including port-of-entry access to the US, how to apply for a Social Security number card, and the information you need to work as a lawful permanent resident.

Can you help immigrants seeking temporary work in New Orleans?

Many foreign workers seek permission to work temporarily in the United States. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans immigration workers help applicants and their sponsors (usually an employer) obtain the necessary visa approval.  A non-immigrant visa is for a temporary stay. An immigrant visa is for staying in the US permanently. No matter which type of work visa you are seeking or have been granted, we can assist you.

Do you have an immigration lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two office locations in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Contact our experienced New Orleans work visa lawyers today

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we are strong advocates for foreign workers who have jobs lined up in New Orleans, Slidell, or anywhere in Louisiana. We also advocate for professionals and others who seek employment and research opportunities in the US. We’ll explain when and how you qualify. Our work visa lawyers will guide you through the petition process. Please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a respected immigration lawyer in New Orleans or Slidell.