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Other visa categories

TN Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Workers

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement. It creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to come to the U.S. to engage in specified professional activities under the provisions of the NAFTA Treaty that require at least a baccalaureate (bachelor's) degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional. Only certain occupations may serve as the basis for receiving TN status to work in the U.S.

Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.

Canadian and Mexican citizens may enter the U.S. in TN status for up to 3 years. Upon completion of the initial time in TN status, an extension of stay may be requested for up to 3 years. 

The U.S. Department of State provides information on applying for a TN visa as a Mexican citizen or entering the U.S. in TN status as a Canadian citizen. Included in this information is an overview of TN status, requirements for both Canadian and Mexican citizens, how to apply for the actual TN visa, required documentation, and required visa fees. 

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens will apply for TN status at pre-flight inspection or a U.S. port of entry. They do not need to apply for or obtain a U.S. visa before being admitted into the U.S. in TN status. However, a Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and children would need a visa to enable the spouse and children to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join the NAFTA Professional, as a TD visa holder.

Mexican Citizens

Mexican citizens will apply for and must obtain a TN visa at a U.S. consulate before being admitted into the U.S. in TN status. 

E-3 Australian Visas

E-3 is a visa status only available to Australian citizens to work temporarily in specialty occupations in the U.S.  The specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in a professional field and at least the attainment of a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S. If a position does not require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field and/or if the occupation does not generally require this, E-3 status is not an option even if the foreign national holds such a degree/

  • An individual cannot self-sponsor in this category. Employer sponsorship is required, and E-3 status is employer specific.

  • There is no cumulative time limit on E-3. In general, it can be renewed every two years, with some exceptions, provided that the stay remains temporary in nature.

  • E-3 offers the advantage for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization. 

Application

Similar to the H-1B application process, the E-3 application requires a prevailing wage determination and certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) by the Department of Labor (DOL). E-3 status can be obtained without the need to file a formal petition with USCIS. As a result, there are no governmental filing fees and the application process can be significantly faster. 

However, if the foreign national is currently in the U.S. and/or unable to travel, an E-3 petition can be filed with USCIS. The processing timeframe is comparable to the H-1B application. Please see the H-1B Temporary Specialty Occupation page for additional information on the application process and timeframe that is also applicable to E-3 visa status.

Extensions

Extensions can either be applied for at a consulate abroad or through a petition filed with USCIS.  Employees holding E-3 status can file for a change of employer under the portability clause provided the new employer files a new LCA and new E-3 petition with USCIS.

B-1/B-2 Short Term Visitors

The B nonimmigrant category is intended for temporary visits to the U.S. for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). It is recommended that foreign visitors coming to ASU specifically to participate in short-term academic activities do so in the B-1, Visitor for Business category.

The B-1 category may be appropriate for foreign scholars wishing to visit ASU for short periods of time to engage in professional activities, as long as those activities do not constitute employment. Appropriate activities include:

  • consultation with professional associates

  • participation in scientific, educational or professional conventions or seminars

  • independent research

The B-2 category is intended for those coming to the U.S. as tourists. Appropriate activities include travel and tourism.

Admission Period

The admission period for visitors in the B-1 category is based on the amount of time needed to accomplish the purpose of the visit. Although the initial maximum admission period is one year, B-1 visitors are usually admitted for 6 months or less. The standard admission period for visitors in the B-2 category is six months. B-1/B-2 visitors may request extensions of stay by filing form I-539 and supporting documentation with USCIS.

Getting a Visa

To obtain a visa and admission to the U.S. the visiting scholar must demonstrate eligibility for B-1 status. This includes evidence of the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the U.S., and financial support during their stay in the U.S.

The letter of invitation is used to indicate the purpose of the trip. Visiting scholars who will apply for the B-1 visa should submit the letter of invitation to the appropriate consulate/embassy along with the other required forms (DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158). Those entering without a visa (WB and Canadians) will present their letter of invitation to the immigration inspector at the Port of Entry.

Upon admission the visitor will be given Form I-94, Record of Arrival/Departure. This is the visitor’s evidence of legal entry to the U.S. The form will be stamped B-1 or WB and will have a date written below it, which is the end date of the B-1/WB status.

Admission Without a Visa

The U.S. provides for two exceptions to the requirement for a visa. One is for citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows citizens of participating countries admission for business (WB) or tourism (WT) for up to 90 days without a visa. The same rules apply to those entering with a visa or on the VWP, except that those in WB or WT status cannot extend their stay or change status within the U.S.

The following countries are participants with the U.S. in the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The other visa exemption applies to Canadian citizens who are not required to obtain a visa for admission in any immigration (visa) category.

Reimbursements

Visitors in the B-1/B-2 classification are not permitted to engage in any form of employment in the U.S. They are allowed to receive reimbursements and honoraria under certain conditions. Information on reimbursements and honoraria is available from ASU Financial Services.

ASU Departmental Procedures

The following steps are suggested for departments intending to invite B-1 visitors:

  1. Contact the International Students and Scholar Center (ISSC) if you have any questions regarding whether or not the B-1/WB category is the most appropriate.

  2. Contact Financial Services if your department intends to pay the visitor an honorarium or reimbursement of expenses.

Issue an invitation letter which includes the following information: purpose of the visit, dates of the visit, funding information, any other pertinent information, such as the provision of office space or library privileges.

O-1 Individuals

The O-1 classification is used occasionally for the small percentage of foreign national scholars who have extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. Extraordinary ability is a high level of expertise and indicates that the person is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field. The foreign national must seek to enter the United States to continue work in the area in which he or she is extraordinary. 

Sponsorship

A foreign national cannot self-sponsor in this category. Employer sponsorship is required and O-1 status is employer specific.

There is no limit to the time an individual can hold O-1 status. The first petition can request up to three years. Thereafter, USCIS will adjudicate the extension, with updated documentation, and determine the time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity in increments of up to one year.

Eligibility

The O-1 petition needs to demonstrate extraordinary ability by documenting at least three of the following:

  • Evidence of major international prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;

  • Membership in associations in the academic field which requires outstanding achievements of their members;

  • Published material written by others in professional publications and major newspapers/media about the scholar's work in the academic field;

  • Evidence of participation as the judge of the work of others, either individually or on a panel, in the same, or an allied, academic field. This includes peer review for academic journals;

  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions of major significance in the academic field;

  • Evidence of the scholar's authorship of scholarly books or articles in scholarly journals or major media with international circulation in the academic field;

  • Employment in a critical capacity for organizations and institutions that have a distinguished reputation in the field.

The petition must also include at least 5 letters of support from senior people in the field of specialization outside of ASU attesting to the scholar's demonstrated extraordinary ability, and highlighting significant contributions to the field.

Foreign nationals subject to the 212e Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement are eligible for the O-1 classification, but they cannot change from J-1 to O-1 status within the U.S. They must apply for the O-1 visa abroad and re-enter the U.S.

Application Process

Begin the process six months before the intended O-1 start date or as soon as possible within that window.