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Work Visas Attorney in Los Angeles, California

You might wonder who exactly needs authorization for a work visa. Well, if you're an immigrant who's not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident but wishes to work in the United States, this applies to you. 

This includes foreign students who are graduating and hoping to kick-start their careers here, foreign citizens with dreams of starting or investing in a U.S. company, and U.S. companies wishing to transfer a foreign citizen employee to a U.S. location.  

This authorization is pivotal for those who wish to earn a living in the United States. Without it, they might face severe consequences, including deportation and legal penalties.  

It's not just about avoiding trouble—it's about paving the way for a secure future in a new country.  

Understanding Different Types of Work Visas

As an immigration attorney at Paul D. Cass, Attorney at Law, based in Los Angeles, I'm here to help you understand the different types of work visas available. Each visa serves a unique purpose and is tailored to various professions and circumstances. Let's break them down: 

  • H-1B Visa: This visa is designed for individuals who hold a U.S. or foreign equivalent of a bachelor's degree or higher, or have completed training and work experience equivalent to a bachelor's degree, and are qualified to work in a "specialty occupation" in the U.S. that requires their degrees and/or degree-equivalent experience in the U.S. 

  • H-1B1 Visa: Similar to the H-1B visa, the H-1B1 visa is specifically tailored for individuals from Chile or Singapore. 

  • L-1 Visa: This visa is meant for "intracompany transferees" who have worked for a company abroad for at least one year within the preceding three years, in a position that is either executive, managerial, or requires "specialized knowledge," and are seeking to enter the U.S. to work for a company that is appropriately "affiliated" with the overseas employer, in a position that is either executive, managerial, or requires "specialized knowledge."  

  • E-1 Visa: This visa is designated for people from countries that have a treaty or trade or commerce with the U.S. who, or whose employers, engage in "substantial trade" between the treaty country and the U.S., and who are seeking to enter the U.S. to continue those trading activities.

  • E-2 Visa: This visa is designed for investors from countries that have a treaty or trade or commerce with the U.S. They must have invested a significant amount of capital in an existing or new U.S.-based company owned at least 50% by nationals of the treaty country, and be seeking to enter the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of that enterprise. 

  • TN USMCA Visa: This visa is for professionals who are citizens of either Canada or Mexico and who will work for U.S.-sponsoring employers in certain designated professions. 

  • E-3 Visa: This visa is designed for specialty occupation professionals from Australia. 

  • O Visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements in their field. 

  • P Visa: This visa is for nationally or internationally recognized athletes, entertainment groups, performers, artists, and others who qualify. 

  • Q Visa: This visa is intended for individuals, including music groups, participating in cultural exchange programs. 

The type of visa you need depends on your specific circumstances for immigration, including your country of origin, profession, and the nature of your work. As your dedicated attorney, I'm here to help you navigate these difficulties and find the right visa for your needs. 

How to Apply for Employment Authorization

Applying for employment authorization can seem overwhelming, especially if you're doing it for the first time. Some visa and immigrant categories allow employment just as a function of the person's status in the U.S. Other categories, listed in the regulations, require an affirmative filing for an Employment Authorization Document ("EAD"). As an experienced attorney, I can guide you through every step of the process, helping you avoid errors that could lead to denial. Here's a step-by-step guide: 

  • You must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to work but requires evidence of approval, having a pending application to adjust status to Permanent Resident ("Green Card"), having a pending asylum application, or having an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa that does not allow you to work without permission. 

  • If you are not in the class of people authorized to work because of the status they are in, you need an EAD, if your status qualifies for one. To obtain an EAD, you'll need to file Form I-765. This is the official application for employment authorization. 

  • Gather the required documents. This includes your passport, travel document, or departure-arrival record (form I-94), a copy of your last EAD, if any, or a government-issued ID, two passport photos, and the G-28 form if you're represented by an attorney. 

  • Please note that self-employed individuals are in general not eligible for specific work-authorized visas or status (one exception being E-1 and E-2 discussed above). Many can enter with a so-called "Business Visitor" (B-1) Visa or enter via the Visa Waiver Program available to citizens of many countries, but may not be employed in the U.S. under those categories.

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Renewal of Employment Authorization Documentation

Renewing your employment authorization documentation is a requirement if you wish to continue working in the United States. I understand that the renewal process might seem daunting, but it's critical to maintaining your right to work legally in the U.S.  

The following is a breakdown of what we'll do: 

  • Step 1: We'll start by reviewing the expiration date on your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or, for non-EAD cases, your I-94 and/or petition approvals. We must apply for renewal before your current EAD or I-94/petition approval expires, so keeping an eye on that date is crucial. 

  • Step 2: We'll either file Form I-765, which is the Application for the EAD, which is necessary whether you're applying for the first time or renewing your EAD, or we'll prepare documents to extend status if it's one that allows employment without an EAD. 

  • Step 3: We'll gather the necessary supporting documents. These documents may include a copy of your current EAD or approval notice, your passport, I-94, other government-issued ID, and two passport photos (for I-765). 

  • Step 4: Along with the completed Form I-765 (or Petition for extension of status for non-EAD cases) and supporting documents, we'll submit the required filing fee to USCIS. The amount can change, so we'll make sure to verify the current fees. 

The goal here isn't just to renew your EAD or status. It's to give you peace of mind knowing that you can continue to work and build your life in the U.S. without worrying about your employment authorization. 

As mentioned before, each situation is unique, and there might be additional steps or requirements based on your specific circumstances. But don't worry; I'll walk you through every step of the process, ensuring everything is done correctly and on time. 

Possible Consequences of Working Without Authorization

If you work without proper employment authorization in the United States, it's a serious matter that can lead to severe consequences, and I want to make sure you understand the risks. Here's a detailed look: 

  • Legal Penalties: If you work without proper authorization, you could face legal consequences. These can range from fines to removal (deportation), or even being barred from entering the United States in the future. 

  • Employment Difficulties: Working without authorization can make it challenging to find legal employment opportunities later on. Remember, employers are required by law to verify the work eligibility of their employees. If you've worked illegally in the past, this could raise red flags for potential employers. In fact, in many cases, even one day of having been out of status or having worked without authorization, at any time in the past, can be enough to make it impossible to adjust status to Permanent resident inside the U.S.

  • Limited Rights and Protections: Unauthorized workers often don't have access to certain rights and protections provided by labor laws. This includes benefits like minimum wage, overtime pay, and workplace safety regulations. You deserve fair treatment and safe working conditions, but working without authorization could put these rights at risk. 

  • Loss of Immigration Benefits: If you're going through any immigration processes or applications, such as visa or green card applications, working without authorization could jeopardize these. It's not worth risking your chance at a better future. 

  • Negative Impact on Immigration Status: Unauthorized employment can negatively affect your overall immigration status. This can make it harder to obtain legal status or pursue a path to citizenship in the future. 

Now, I don't share this information to scare you, but rather to help you understand the importance of obtaining and maintaining valid employment authorization. It's about more than just staying on the right side of the law. As your work visa attorney, I'm here to guide you through the process and help you avoid these potential pitfalls.

Work Visas Attorney Serving
Los Angeles, California

From obtaining visas and green cards to assisting with citizenship and employee immigration, at Paul D. Cass, Attorney at Law, I'm committed to providing the guidance and support you need. Whether you're in Los Angeles, Burbank, Inglewood, Glendale, Pasadena, or anywhere in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, or San Diego County, I'm here to serve you.