Biden Plans to End COVID-19 Travel Bans: What This Means for You

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During this 20-minute presentation, Chugh, LLP Executive Manager Carmen Lopez, Immigration Lead Deepika Singh, and Legal Consultant Jasmine Kaur provide an overview of three uncommon visa types:

  • C-1 visas: For transit through the United States.
  • H-2B visas: Temporary, non-agricultural work visas.
  • H-3 visas: For trainees and special education exchange visitors.

C Visas

C visas are used primarily for transit purposes for nonimmigrants:

  • C-1: For transit through the US to another foreign country.
  • C-2: Used by United Nations (UN) officials traveling to or from the UN Headquarters, or for UN officials transiting from the US to another foreign nation.
  • C-3: For government officials and their families, attendants, servants, and employees to transit through the United States.

C-1 Visas

Foreign nationals may need C-1 visas for the following reasons:

  • To travel to another country with a brief layover in the US.
  • To travel via cruise ship and port in the US, when the ship has no intention of landing in the US.
  • To join a ship or aircraft as a crewmember but arriving to the US as a passenger. These individuals will also need a D visa and often receive a combination C-1/D visa from their local US Consulate.

Citizens of certain countries may transit to the US without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. These individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need visas for transit in the United States.

How to Obtain a C-1 Visa 

First, individuals must apply for a C-1 visa using Form DS-160 at their US Consulate. During the application process, individuals must provide:

  • A valid passport for travel to the US.
  • Justification and evidence for your travel, proving that you are entering into the US for transit purposes only. You will travel to another country, and resume residency in your home country.
  • Documentation that you can cover all costs during your travel in the US.

H-2B Visas

The H-2B visa is designed for temporary, non-agricultural workers. Industries which commonly use the visa include hospitality, landscaping, construction, forestry, seafood and meat processing, restaurants, and more.

Which Roles Qualify for H-2B Visas?

Because the H-2B visa is inherently temporary, employers must prove that the visa would be used for a temporary purpose.

  • One-time occurrence:
    • Due to a short duration, temporary event, an employment situation that is normally permanent now calls for a temporary worker.
    • The company has not used temporary workers to perform the role in the past and will not need them in the future.
  • Seasonal:
    • The role is tied to a season of the year, an event, or a pattern.
    • The role is recurring.
    • Employers cannot claim a seasonal need if the period when they will not need the service is unpredictable, changing, or considered a vacation period for permanent employees.

Employers hiring workers on H-2B visas will need to demonstrate that their need is either intermittent or peak load.

With peak load need, the employer must demonstrate all the following:

  • It regularly employs permanent workers to perform the same work.
  • Due to seasonal or short-term demand, it must temporarily augment its permanent staff with temporary workers.
  • New temporary workers will not permanently join the company.

Under intermittent need, an employer will need show that it:

  • Does not employ permanent employees to perform the same work.
  • Needs temporary workers for short periods on an occasional or intermittent basis.

The H-2B Visa Application Process

To sponsor a worker on an H-2B visa, first the prospective employer must submit a temporary labor certification application to the Department of Labor (DOL).Next, the employer must submit Form I-129 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Finally, prospective workers based outside of the United States will be able to apply for the H-2B visa and/or admission.

Employers may skip the first step of the H-2B process if they are sponsoring Canadian musicians that will be employed within a 50-mile radius from the US-Canadian border for 30 days or fewer.

Which Countries are Eligible for the H-2B Visa?

Nationals of eligible countries may work in the United States on the H-2B visa. These countries include:

Andorra

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Barbados

Belgium

Brazil

Brunei

Bulgaria

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

El Salvador

Estonia

Fiji

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Grenada

Guatemala

Honduras

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Kiribati

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

North Macedonia

Madagascar

Malta

Mexico

Monaco

Mongolia

Montenegro

Mozambique

Nauru

The Netherlands

Nicaragua

New Zealand

Norway

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Peru

The Philippines

Poland

Portugal

Romania

San Marino

Serbia

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

South Africa

South Korea

Spain

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Turkey

Tuvalu

Ukraine

United Kingdom

Uruguay

Vanuatu

H-2B Visa: Period of Stay and Status for Family Members 

The maximum period of stay in the United States on an H-2B visa is three years. USCIS grants H-2B visas up to the period authorized by the employer on the temporary labor certification document. Extensions are available for increments of up to one year each for certain workers.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old may seek admission into the United States under H-4 nonimmigrant status. H-4 status does not provide eligibility to work in the United States.

Employer Notifications Required for H-2B Visa Workers

Employers must notify USCIS within two working days if the H-2B worker does any of the following:

  • No show: Misses work within five working days of the later:
    • Their employment start date, as noted on the H-2B petition, or
    • The start date established by the employer.
  • Abscondment: Leaves without notice and does not report to work for five consecutive working days without the employer’s consent.
  • Termination: Is terminated before completing the labor or services for which they were hired.
  • Early completion: Finishes their work more than 30 days before the end date specified in their H-2B petition.

H-3 Visas

H-3 visas are designed for foreign nationals to enter the US temporarily for either:

  • Trainee: Will receive training in any field, except graduate medical education or training, which is not available in their home country.
  • Special education exchange visitor: Will receive practical training and experience in educating children with disabilities (physical, mental, or emotional) as part of a special education exchange visitor training program.

While there is no cap on trainee visas only 50 are approved each fiscal year. Trainee H-3 visas are limited to two years in duration, while special education exchange visitors may be sponsored on an H-3 visa for up to 18 months.

Employers may file for H-3 visas at any time during the year.

Requirements for H-3 Trainees

Individuals can qualify for the H-3 visa for trainee programs if:

  • The training is not available in their home country.
  • They will not work in a position that is part of normal business operations where US workers are normally employed.
  • They will not engage in employment unless it is necessary for the training.
  • The training will help them pursue employment outside of the US.

Requirements for Special Education Exchange Visitors on H-3 Visas

The H-3 visa must be filed by a facility that has a structured program to deliver education for disabled children, and that employs professionally trained staff.

The program must also provide hands-on training and experience to trainees.

The applicant must provide evidence of education or experience that qualifies them for the program, including one of the following:

  • A completed baccalaureate or higher degree program specialized in special education.
  • Ongoing studies in a baccalaureate or higher degree program in special education which will soon end.
  • Extensive completed training and experience teaching children with emotional, physical, or mental disabilities.

If the applicant will offer custodial care of children, it must be part of the training program.

Conclusion

For help obtaining C-1, H-2B, H-3, and other uncommon visas, contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.

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