Beyond the H
Beyond the H-1B Temporary Worker Status
The H-1B visa allows the temporary worker to hold "dual intent". This means that, unlike an F or a J student visa, the H allows the alien to explore options for permanent residency applications. If you are interested in remaining in the US permanently, please make an appointment to discuss your options with the Office of Visa and Immigration Services. The following information will give you a general overview of the employment-based options. Please check the BCIS website at http://www.BCIS.gov/graphics/services/residency/index.htm for more information.
The following information is courtesy of the U.S. BCIS website:
- Am I eligible to apply for permanent residency?
A partial list of reasons why you may be ineligible for adjustment to permanent resident status is as follows:
- You entered the U.S. while you were in transit to another country without obtaining a visa.
- You were not admitted or paroled into the United States after being inspected by a U.S. Immigration Inspector.
- You are employed in the United States without BCIS authorization or you are no longer legally in the country (except through no fault of your own or for some technical reason). This rule does not apply to you if:
- You are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21 years old).
- A K-1 fiancé or the child of K-2 fiancé who married the U.S. citizen who petitioned for you within 90 days of being admitted to the country.
- Certain foreign medical graduates, international organization employees and family members.
- You are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor who must comply with the two-year foreign residence requirement, and you have not met or been granted a waiver for this requirement.
- You have an A (diplomatic status), E (treaty trader or investor) or G (representative to international organization) nonimmigrant status, or have an occupation that would allow you have this status. This rule will not apply to you if you complete BCIS Form I-508 (I-508F for French nationals) to waive diplomatic rights, privileges and immunities. If you are an A or G nonimmigrant, you must also submit BCIS Form I-566.
- You were admitted into the United States as a visitor under the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. This rule does not apply to you if you are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21.).
- The Permanent Residency Process:
- An immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. You must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant. First, the BCIS must approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative. Second, the State Department must give you an immigrant visa number, even if you are already in the United States. Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status. (If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. This "consular processing" is often accomplished more quickly than adjustment of status from within the US.)
- Employment Based Applications
- There are five categories of employment based immigration:
- First Preference (EB-1 priority workers): aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
- Second Preference (EB-2 workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability): aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and aliens who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
- Third Preference (EB-3 professionals, skilled workers, and other workers): aliens with at least two years of experience as skilled workers, professionals with a baccalaureate degree, and others with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
- Fourth Preference (EB-4 special workers such as those in a religious occupation or vocation): aliens who, for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States, have been a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States, and who will be working in a religious vocation or occupation at the request of the religious organization.
- Fifth Preference (EB-5 Employment Creation) For individuals who would like to be granted immigrant status in the United States for the purpose of engaging in a new commercial enterprise.
Permanent Residency applications can take years to process, and can be moderately expensive. Foresight and planning are key to a successful application. Unfortunately, due to increased workloads, the Office of Visa and Immigration Services is unable to handle permanent residency cases at this time. We will be happy to refer you to one of the law firms with whom Dartmouth College has established a formal relationship:
Immigration specialists recommended by the Office of Visa and Immigration Services, Dartmouth College
Dan Berger, Esq.
Curran & Berger
74 Masonic Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Orr & Reno
One Eagle Square
P.O. Box 3550
Concord, NH 03302-3550
Immigration Law Group
57 Exchange Street, Suite 301
Portland, Maine 04101 (207) 871-0099
Susan Cohen, Mintz Levin
One Financial Center
Boston, MA 02111