US Immigration attorney

Non-Immigrant Visa USA: Your Gateway to the United States

Non-immigrant Visa

A non-immigrant visa is for individuals who want to visit, live or work in the United States temporarily. For example, if you’re visiting the U.S. for a vacation or a business conference, then you would need a non-immigrant visa.

On the other hand, an immigrant visa is for individuals who want to permanently move to the U.S. and obtain their green card.

Non-immigrant visa categories include the H-1B, L, J-1 and E-2 and F-1

Process for Temporary Work Visa

There are different federal government agencies involved in reviewing and approving visa applications or petitions for temporary worker visas such as the US Department of Labor, Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. In some cases, the prospective employer would have to first obtain certification from the DOL and then file a petition with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) at DHS and after obtaining their approval, the candidate will apply for visa stamping at the US consulate rIn some cases, the prospective employee can apply for a visa directly at the US consulate.

The specific visa category will determine the various steps in the application process.  

Types of Temporary Worker Visa

There are different temporary worker visa categories available which you can choose depending on the purpose of your visit and eligibility criteria. We’ve rounded them up below with brief descriptions so you can get acquainted.


The CW-1 is a visa exclusively for employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), where they can apply to employ foreign workers who don’t fit into other employment categories.


An E-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant classification that allows a national of a treaty country to carry substantial trade and principal trade between the U.S. and their home country. Treaty countries maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S., or with which the U.S. maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been designated as qualified by law.


An E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that is granted to a national of a treaty country to make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise or business. The definition of a treaty country, in this case, is the same as that of an E-1 Visa.


An E-2C Visa, on the other hand, allows long-term foreign investors to remain in the CNMI through December 31, 2029, while they resolve their immigration status. This visa helps while the CNMI transitions from the CNMI permit system to the U.S. immigration laws.


An E-3 Visa is a special work visa exclusively given to residents of Australia working in specialty occupations in the U.S. Moreover, their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years may also qualify, even if they are not Australian themselves.


An H1-B Visa is reserved for those who will undertake a role with a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation or profession that requires certain minimum education.


An H-2A Visa is given to a temporary agricultural worker from certain countries. It’s typically used by foreign agricultural workers who have a job offer from a U.S. company and U.S. companies hiring foreign workers for temporary or seasonal agricultural work.


Meanwhile, an H-2B visa is for employers to hire a temporary non-agricultural worker. The employment, in this case, must be temporary as such it’s only for a limited period, seasonal need, or intermittent need.


An H-3 Visa allows foreign nations to enter the United States either as: 1) a Trainee, to receive training in any field of endeavour other than graduate medical education or training, and 2) a Special Education Exchange Visitor, to participate in a program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with special needs.


This visa is a type from different non-immigrant visa classifications granted to journalists visiting the United States for work or educational opportunities. It is exclusively for representatives of foreign media across different mediums such as press, film or print.


The L Visas is commonly referred to as intra-company transfer visa where an employee of a multinational company is temporarily transferred to a U.S. branch, affiliate, parent or subsidiary of the same company. Under the L1 Transfer Visa, the employee holding a managerial or executive capacity or a specialized knowledge position must also work in a similar capacity in the U.S. office.


The O Visa is for individuals with a unique or extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business, or athletics who wish to temporarily work in their field of expertise in the U.S. Under this visa, the individual must prove that they offer essential services in their field of expertise that can’t be provided by a U.S. citizen.


A P-1A Visa is granted to internationally recognized athletes or athletic teams coming to the U.S. to perform at a specific athletic competition. It can be granted to professional or amateur athletes to perform in specific theatrical ice skating productions or tours, either individually or as a part of a group.


The P-1V Visa, on the other hand, is given to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily as part of an entertainment group that has been established for a minimum of a year and has been recognized internationally as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period.


The P-2 Visa is a type from the different nonimmigrant visa classifications that is granted if you are coming to the U.S. to perform as an entertainer or artist under a reciprocal exchange program between a U.S. organization and an organization in your home country, either individually or as part of a group.


The P-3 Visa is a visa classification that’s granted if you’re coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform, teach, or coach as artists or entertainers under a culturally unique program, either individually or as a group.


The Q-1 Visa is granted to individuals visiting the U.S. to take part in an international cultural exchange program where they will share their history, culture, and tradition. It is to provide practical training and employment.


The R-1 Visa is for foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to be employed temporarily as a minister or in another religious occupation for a minimum of 20 hours per week on average.


The TN visa is a visa classification that permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the U.S. to engage at a professional level in business activities.

You can click here to check a summary of these temporary worker visas.

Non-immigrant Work Visa Options

There are three different non-immigrant temporary work visa categories:

  • Temporary work visas such as the H-1B, E-2, L-1. Before applying for a majority of these visas, first, there must be an approved petition filed by the prospective employer with the (USCIS.
  • Work under an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  This option allows certain eligible non immigrant visa holders including L-2, H-4 (spouses of principal L-1 and H-1B respectively) and individuals awaiting adjudication of their I-485 to apply for the EAD and lawfully work in the US after approval of such application.
  • Work in the U.S. with a NAFTA visa. In this category, only citizens of Canada and Mexico are eligible, granting them temporary entry into the U.S. for business at a professional level.

Application for a U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa

Individuals who wish to apply for a visa under the temporary worker categories at the US consulate will first need to fill out a Form DS-160 (Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application). Depending on the requirements of their chosen visa, they might need additional information and forms.

After completing your Form DS-160, you will receive a barcode which you will need to print and keep for your upcoming appointment at the U.S. embassy. You can schedule your visa interview once you already have your barcode.

Immigrant Visas vs Nonimmigrant Visas

A foreign national can enter the United States based on a  a valid and unexpired visa, either a nonimmigrant or an immigrant visa.

A nonimmigrant visa is only granted for a limited time, although in most cases, you can extend this visa as long as you meet all the requirements throughout your stay in the U.S.

On the other hand, immigrant visas allow you to live and work in the U.S. permanently and indefinitely. However, take note that immigrant visas don’t grant you the same rights as that of a U.S. citizen.

If you’re unsure of which visa category applies to your goals and circumstances, the experienced team of lawyers at Davies & Associates can help you navigate, strategize and  determine which visa best fits your needs

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

US Visa Application

L-1 Filed by Sole Proprietorships

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) affirmed on October 20 via their Policy Alert (PA-2023-29), that a sole proprietorship cannot file an L-1 visa petition on behalf of its owner because the sole proprietorship does not exist as a distinct legal entity, separate from the owner. A sole proprietorship is a business in which an individual owns all the assets, owes all the liabilities, and operates the business in the individual’s personal capacity.

The L-1 intracompany transferee visa is a popular visa category utilized for the transfer of certain managerial, executive and specialized knowledge personnel from a foreign business to a related US business.

Existing USCIS policy provides that a sole proprietorship may not file an L-1 petition on behalf of its owner because there must be a separation between the employing entity and the beneficiary; a petition where the sole-proprietor owner and beneficiary are the same would be considered an impermissible self-petition. However, an L-1 can be filed by a sole proprietorship on behalf an eligible employee. For instance, an individual may be the sole proprietor of an entity abroad and also of one in the United States, and may transfer an eligible employee under the L-1A or L-1B classification to the US.

The Policy Alert further affirms the difference between a sole proprietorship and a self-incorporated petitioner (i.e., a corporation or a limited liability company with a single owner) in that the corporation or the single-member LLC is a separate and distinct legal entity from its owner, stockholder or member (unlike a sole preceptorship) and can therefore file an L-1 for that owner.

This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

UK Visa Immigration

E2 Visa for UK nationals

Are you a UK national looking to start a business in the United States? If so, you may be eligible for an E2 visa. In this article, we will discuss the E2 visa for UK nationals, its requirements, and how to apply for it.

What is an E2 Visa?

An E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter and work in the United States based on a substantial investment in a US business. This visa is only available to citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, and the United Kingdom is one of them.

Benefits of an E2 Visa

The E2 visa offers several benefits to UK nationals looking to start a business in the US. These include:

  • The ability to come in and out of the U.S. on the valid E-2 visa for 5 years to develop and direct your E-2 company.
  • The ability live and work in the US for a full two-year period for every entry on the valid visa, with the option to renew the visa indefinitely.
  • The ability to bring dependents, including spouses and unmarried children under 21, to the US.
  • No minimum education or language requirements.
  • No annual quota or cap on the number of E2 visas issued, which means that there is no significant wait time to obtain the E-2 visa as compared to other visa classifications.

Requirements for UK Nationals

To be eligible for an E2 visa, UK nationals must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen AND an ongoing resident* of the United Kingdom
  • Have invested or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business
  • Have at least 50% ownership of the US business
  • Be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the US business
  • The investment must be in an active and operating business, not a passive investment such as real estate or stocks
  • The investment must be at risk, meaning there is a risk of losing the investment if the business fails
  • The investment must be substantial, meaning it must be enough to ensure the success of the business
  • The business must have the potential to create job opportunities for US workers
  • The business must be a legitimate enterprise, not a marginal one

*The treaty with the UK specifically requires the principal applicant to prove ongoing residency in the U.K. Examples of the appropriate evidence which must be issued within the last 6 months maximum are a recent copy of a pay slips/stubs or proof of payment for Inland Revenue taxes in the UK. Other examples are proof ofpayment of local utilities bills such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes; a current lease or mortgage payment should be accompanied by other proof such as bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions are all acceptable proof of domicile.

Investment Amount

The investment amount required for an E2 visa varies depending on the type of business and its location. However, the investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the success of the business. Generally, the investment amount should be at least $100,000, but it can be lower for certain businesses. The investment can be made in a start-up company, an existing/operating company or a franchise.

Ownership Percentage

To qualify for an E2 visa, UK nationals must have at least 50% ownership of the US business. This means that they must have a controlling interest in the business and have the power to make decisions and direct the operations of the business.

Developing and Directing the Business

UK nationals must be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the US business. This means that they must have a key role in the business and be actively involved in its day-to-day operations. They must also have the necessary skills and experience to successfully run the business.

Job Creation

One of the requirements for an E2 visa is that the business must have the potential to create job opportunities for US workers. While there is no specific number of jobs that must be created, the business must have the capacity to generate enough revenue to support the creation of jobs.

Marginal Enterprises

A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and their family. To qualify for an E2 visa, the business must not be a marginal one.

How to Apply for an E2 Visa

To apply for an E2 visa, UK nationals must follow these steps:

1. Complete the online non-immigrant visa application (Form DS-160)

2. Pay the visa application fee

3. Gather the required documents and submit the application package based on the Embassy guidelines. Some required documents are the following:

  • A valid passport
  • A business plan outlining the investment and business operations
  • Proof of investment, such as bank statements or loan agreements
  • Proof of ownership, such as stock certificates or partnership agreements
  • Evidence of the business’s potential to create jobs, such as a business plan or financial projections
  • Evidence of the business’s legitimacy, such as business licenses or tax returns
  • Evidence of the investor’s qualifications and experience, such as resumes or educational certificates

4. Schedule an interview at the US Embassy in London

5. Attend the visa interview and answer the questions from the visa officer

6. If approved, the visa will be issued and the investor can enter the US to develop and direct the business


The E2 visa is an excellent option for UK nationals looking to start a business in the United States. It should be noted that you may also buy an operating business or acquire a franchise. It offers several benefits, making it accessible to a wide range of investors. By meeting the requirements and following the application process, UK nationals can successfully obtain an E2 visa and start their business in the US.

This article has been written by Alex Jovy, Head of Business Development Davies & Associates, London Office.

Alex Jovy  heads sales & business development in the UK and Europe. Alex has a long history of senior management roles in a wide range of sectors, from sustainability to film and has worked in a variety of sales, marketing and business development roles in a range of law and professional services firms. Alex has a passion for film and was nominated for an Academy Award. He is a published author with a successful historical fiction book about Cyrus the Great.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

What is Blanket L1 Visa Petition?

How does the L 1 Blanket Visa Petition work?

An L-1 blanket petition enables certain overseas companies to transfer multiple employees to the United States on an L-1 visa, a nonimmigrant visa, under a single petition, without having to file individual L-1 petitions for each qualified employee.  All foreign entities that the US petitioning company seeks to include are listed in the blanket petition, backed by documentary evidence of the qualifying relationship with each such entity.  An approved blanket petition confirms that a qualifying relationship exists between the US entity and the foreign company seeking to transfer the employee. The L-1 blanket simplifies and streamlines the process for multinational companies who frequently seek to transfer their managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers to the US.  The Blanket L petition similarly does not guarantee that the employees will get the visa, nor the L1 Visa validity.

An L1 Blanket petition is filed with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) using Form I-129.  Once it is approved, the eligible employee can apply for an L-1A or L-1B visa by scheduling and attending the visa interview at a US consulate.  Among the documents the employee will have to carry to the interview are L-1 Blanket petition approval, I-29S Form, Letter of Support detailing the transfer and nature of the US role and evidence of employment abroad. L-1 Blanket petitions will have an initial validity period of up to three years once approved.

Employer Eligibility Criteria – Commercial trade?

There are requirements that a petitioner and the qualifying foreign entities must meet to be eligible and qualified for an L1 blanket petition:

  • The petitioner and each of the entities included are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for 1 year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
  • The petitioner and the other qualifying organizations have obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives, or specialized knowledge workers during the previous 12 months; or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million, or have a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 employees.

Employee Eligibility Criteria

Whether the foreign professional employees are applying for an individual visa or under a blanket petition, they must still meet all the employee-related requirements individually.  The foreign national employees applying under an approved blanket petition must establish that he or she was employed abroad for 1 of the 3 years (prior to applying to the consulate) in either a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge category and will be employed in the US in either of these three categories.

If you are applying for an L1A Visa, you must prove managerial or executive position in the company. The specialized knowledge employee can stay in the USA for up to five years. He/she should be ready to enter the United States in an executive or managerial capacity involving specialized knowledge. To prove managerial or executive capacity, the petitioning employer must meet the following requirements in the blanket petitions

  1. The beneficiary employee was employed for at least one year out of the previous 3 years

On the other hand, the L1B Visa is a Specialized Knowledge Professional. The employees that have worked in a position requiring specialized knowledge will qualify for this visa. However, the future position of this employee must also be one in the Specialized Knowledge Professionals. The employer has to prove the employees possess specialized knowledge, and that the employee’s ability will be sufficient to contribute significantly in the role.

We discuss these criteria in L1 Visa USA page here at Davies & Associates.

Blanket Petition Advantages

There are several advantages of having an L-1 blanket petition: It saves you time as it streamlines the L-1 Visa application process, so you can transfer multiple employees quickly and efficiently;

  • It saves you money in the long run compared to filing individual applications;
  • It gives you flexibility in transferring several foreign employees to the U.S. office, allowing you ease in meeting and accomplishing other business needs and goals;
  • It gives you the chance to plan future transfers without the uncertainty that comes with individual visa applications for each transferring employee.

L-1 Blanket Validity

The L-1 blanket approval is valid initially for 3 years It can be extended indefinitely, but if the company doesn’t apply for an extension or if a renewal application is denied, the company must wait 3 years to apply for a new blanket petition.

Take note that a blanket petition approval does not guarantee that the employee will be granted an L-1A or L-1B visa as the employee will still have to prove his or her eligibility under the L regulations.

Professional employees may also transfer between related foreign entities that are denoted on the Blanket L Approval notice. They may transfer employees with explicit approval notice provided the transferred employee will have the same job duties.

Denial of L-1 Blanket Visa

Like L-1 visas under individual petitions, L-1 blanket visas can be denied due to various factors such as inadequate documentation, failure to prove managerial, executive or specialized knowledge duties, etc.  While a USCIS denial of an individual L-1 visa petition may be appealed, denials of an L-1 visa blanket applications by the consulate are not reviewable.   

L1 Individual Petition vs. Blanket Petition Approval notice

With an L-1 Transfer Visa, the company must file a petition every time they want to transfer an employee with the USCIS. On the other hand, with an L-1 blanket visa, the company can transfer multiple employees under just one petition. The blanket visa makes the process easier and less expensive by eliminating the need to file multiple petitions for each qualified employee. It is considered a rather flexible way to transfer employees to the USA.


Is the definition for managerial, executive, and specialized knowledge employees the same for L-1 blanket visa petitions and individual petitions?

Yes, the definitions are still the same regardless if you’re applying under a blanket petition or an individual petition.

Can I bring my dependents with me to the U.S. on my L-1 visa?

Yes, the visa issued to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 is the L-2 visa. Their period of stay would be for the same duration as yours. Moreover, your spouse can work in the U.S. without applying separately for an Employee Authorization Document (EAD) work authorization

Can I change or transfer jobs on an L-1 Visa?

You can change or transfer jobs on an L-1 Visa but only to a location with the same company or to a qualifying/related company in the U.S. The USCIS must be notified of any significant changes to your employment, which is usually done by way of an L-1 amended petition

Are there benefits to an L-1 blanket visa petition?

An L-1 blanket visa petition streamlines the transfer of employees from several months to a matter of days and weeks. It also eliminates the need to file individual petitions for each transferring employee.

What privileges can I enjoy on my L-1 Visa?

On your L-1 visa, you can work legally in the U.S. or stay until your visa expires, and travel freely in and out of the country. You can also avail of dependent visas for your spouse and unmarried children, or potentially apply for a green card through employment

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

Top 25 Immigration Attorneys 2023

D&A Recognized in Top 25 Immigration Attorneys 2023

It is with immense pride and gratitude that we announce our firm’s recent recognition by EB5 Investor Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Immigration Attorneys of 2023.”

This prestigious accolade is a testament to our commitment to excellence and dedication to serving our clients in EB5 visa service.

We are deeply grateful for your trust and support, which have allowed us to reach such a significant milestone.

This recognition reaffirms our unwavering commitment to providing top-notch legal services to individuals and businesses seeking immigration solutions.

You can also read the latest 2023 EB5 Investors Magazine via this link. (P/s: find us on page 35!)

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

Investor Visa Application Price Increase

When is an L-1 Amendment Needed?

The L-1 visa is utilized for the intracompany transfer of qualified managerial and executive personnel and specialized knowledge workers from an overseas company to a related company in the United States. The key criteria of an L-1 are: (1) existence of a qualifying relationship between the foreign and US entity (the US entity should be a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or a branch of the foreign company); (2) the prospective L-1 employee should have worked in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity for the foreign employer for one continuous year in the three years preceding the L-1 petition filing; and (3) the transfer of the employee to the US should be for a similar managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position.

In the event that after the approval of an L-1 petition, there are significant changes pertaining to the qualifying relationship of the entities or the nature of the employee’s role in the US, an L-1 amended petition is required. The L-1 regulations mandate an amendment filing with the USCIS to reflect changes in approved relationships, additional qualifying organizations under a blanket petition or change in capacity of employment (i.e., from a specialized knowledge position to a managerial position). Also, any information which would affect the employee’s eligibility is likely to be considered material, warranting an amendment.

Some changes can be clearly considered as material. For example, if an L-1B employed as an Equipment Engineer, who primarily works on sophisticated and complex machinery is promoted to the position of a Senior Director where his main duties involve managing professional staff, such change would require an amendment. Similarly, changes in the ownership and control of the US petitioner after adjudication would typically require an amendment as these changes may constitute a material change in circumstances or represent new information.

More often than the above scenarios, situations come up where the L-1 employee would have to work primarily out of a different geographic location from what was listed on the petition. There is no clear-cut answer or specific guidance on this. Generally, a temporary change in work location with all other terms of employment remaining unchanged, is not considered material, requiring an amendment. But for example, if the change is long term and let’s say from one state to another, the safe approach would be to file an amendment. Employers should take into account the increased instances of unannounced site visits by USCIS officers in the recent years and the weigh the risk of a failed site inspection and a possible petition revocation.

This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.