Visa & Work Permits

A prerequisite for the deployment of staff is the possession of a valid work visa. Visa issues should be resolved at an early stage, so that the intended deployment schedule can be maintained for a position and because some visa types are limited in quantity. In general, the following employment-based visa types exist:

  • B1 business visa
    The B1 visa allows you to stay in the U.S. for up to 180 days and engage in business activities, so it is perfect for business travelers. The B2 visa is intended for tourists who want to stay longer than the 90 days requested in a conventional tourist visa. In this case, however, no commercial activity is allowed.
  • L1/L2 inter-company transfer visa
    The L1 visa allows employees of foreign companies to fulfill senior positions in a subsidiary in the United States or to set up a subsidiary. This visa is granted for a period of three years but may be extended by two (L1-B) or five (L1-A) years respectively. For the incorporation of a subsidiary, the L1 visa is granted for one year.
  • E1/E2 treaty trader or investor visa
    The commercial visa (E1) enables key employees to operate in the United States, to trade and to generate income. The investor visa (E2) aims to create jobs in the U.S. if investments are guaranteed. It allows for the foundation, development, and management of a company in the United States and can be applied for by both employers and employees. Both E1 and E2 visas are granted for a period of five years, but you are allowed to stay in the United States for a maximum of two years in a row. After expiration of the five years, the visa can easily be extended for another five years at a well-run company. If a company is not successful, the employees must leave the country.
  • H1-B visa for temporary stay
    The H1-B visa is intended for people with special skills who want to work for U.S. companies. These “special qualifications” generally correspond to a university degree. The visa is generally issued for three years and is then extendable for another three years. Congress provides about 85,000 H1-B visas each year. This quota is usually exhausted after a few months. After the expiration of the H1-B visa, it is possible to apply for a green card.
  • Permanent Resident (Green Card)
    The U.S. subsidiary is normally the applicant (sponsor) of the visa. The GATA and its partners are happy to assist you with the visa application. Here, we rely on the expertise of our German-speaking lawyers in New York, who specialize in visa matters, especially since September 11th, after which visa applications became more complicated.
In detail:

For an unlimited stay in the U.S., foreign nationals need a Green Card. This can either be won in a lottery, or applied for at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt. One of the prerequisites for participation in the lottery is that you come from a country without a high emigration rate to the United States. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are not among the countries with high rates.

Other conditions for obtaining a green card are a clean criminal record, a degree (at least junior high school) or apprenticeship of at least two years, as well as a medical certificate of health, starting capital, or a valid job offer in the United States.

  • The Visa Green Card Lottery should be attempted
  • Most quotas require a visa application by April
  • Currently, the visa process takes quite long (6 months or longer); the premium processing method is faster (about 3-4 weeks)
  • The premium processing fee is not available for all types of visa
  • For those types of visas offering premium processing, the official fee is $ 1,084
  • It is an open secret that the premium visa applications are processed somewhat benevolently.

The lawyers specializing in visa matters send the applicant a list of documents matching the type of visa, which is often time-consuming to complete. For example, many visa applications require translations and certified copies of high school certificates, etc.

Are you wondering how you can send your employees to the USA or what the visa situation is like when starting a new business in the USA?

You will find well-founded answers in one of our Executive Management Meetings. Or you can attend our half-hour webinar “Visa & Work Permits”. You can book here.

Of course we are also happy to advise you by phone, send us an email or give us a call.

U.S. Entry Meetings
Executive Management Meetings
International Business Law Updates
Individual One-On-One Webinars USA