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To work in the U.S.

1. Employment-Based Immigration

(Permanent Residency: Green-card holder)

Employment-Based Immigration is divided into five categories. EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 are for general employment or specialist, and EB-4 is for a religious immigrant. Lastly, EB-5 is an investment immigrant, but it is slightly different from a regular work immigrant. In order to be able to get a permanent residency through employment, you need an employer who has agreed to provide a work place and sponsor the immigration process. When an employer is decided, the level of education, major, and career of each applicant will determine the rank in which they will be based on what type of job the sponsor offers.

2. Transfer to a U.S. Affiliated Company or Branch Office from Korean Headquarter

L-1 Intracompany Transferee v. E-1 Treaty Trader visa / E-2 Employee of Treaty Investors

The L-1 Visa and E-2 Employee visa allow a Korean company to dispatch an executive managerial position or an employee with specialized knowledge that is already established or newly established in the United States to serve as an expatriate. Both L-1 and E-2 visas must demonstrate a legitimate relationship between the headquarters in Korea and the US office, and all or a majority of the shares in the US office must be owned by the Korean headquarters.

L-1 visa can be acquired even if the head office in Korea is a foreign national. It is also okay for an employee applying for an L-1 visa not to have a Korean nationality. On the other hand, E-2 visa should be more than 50% owned by Korean company, Korean company should own more than 50% of US office, and the nationality of the person dispatched to the US also should be Korean. The L-1 visa requires that the staff member have been in Korea for at least one of the last three years. In other words, if you want to recruit experienced staff from another company and send the employee to the United States, you should choose an E-2 visa without these constraints.

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L-1 visas have two categories. Those who have worked as executive officers at headquarters will receive an L-1A visa and will receive a three-year, initial extension of seven years. The L-1B visa is available to those who have worked in a technical profession that requires specialized knowledge from our headquarters. The L-1B visa can also be extended for a total of five years with three years of initial approval. In the case of newly establishing a branch office in the United States, you must demonstrate that there is at least space available for lease contracts in the United States, and you must remit a one-year operation fee from Korea. In this case, you must obtain a valid L visa for one year and then apply for an extension of stay with proof that you are operating well in the US office. The maximum stay is 7 years, or 5 years. If you have completed this period, you will need to stay outside the United States for at least one year to receive your visa again.

Like L visas, there are two types of E-2 visas. Those who will be working at the same level as the L-1A visa and those who have competent skills / skills such as the L-1B visa that are difficult for applicants to obtain in the United States. The E-2 visa can be renewed for two years as long as the business is operating well in the U.S.

Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1C)

The Multinational Executives or Mangers / Persons of Extraordinary Ability are allowed to obtain permanent residency without having to obtain a Labor Certificate (L/C). The executives and managers here are conceptually the same as the executives and managers who can obtain an L-1A visa. To fulfill this requirement, you must have at least one year of the three years prior to your application as an executive, executive or manager in an overseas multinational corporation. It is an important issue to show whether a company is in charge of  a managerial or higher position.

3. Specialty Workers (H-1B Nonimmigrant visa)

A representative nonimmigrant visa that can be legally employed in the United States is the H-1B (Specialty Workers) visa. The H-1B visa is a work visa issued only after the occupation has proved that it is a professional occupation that requires a degree of four years or more. For example, engineers, lawyers, accountants, professors, teachers, architects and architects are considered to be H-1B professions, whereas professions such as chefs, hairdressers, dental technicians and web designers can be more challenging to acquire H-1B visa because it is not a job group that always require a bachelor degree. Recently, the immigration authorities have been criticizing the eligibility of professions very seriously.

A H-1B visa applicant must receive a job offer from a US employer, and a sponsoring company must have the financial ability to pay the regular wages offered by the U.S.

Department of Labor. In recent years, a large number of applications have been found to be false and counterfeit. Accordingly, due diligence is being done more often to confirm the applicant's application, including their academic background and career through extensive document reviews, visiting the physical place of the employers, etc.

An H-1B visa is issued for a limited number of 85,000 a year (20,000 for the master's degree first, 65,000 for the holders of the master's degree not awarded here and the remaining bachelor degree holders). Every year, H-1B applicants are first screened in the form of a lottery. If you pass this lottery successfully, then you get a visa after the rigorous screening of the immigration officer.

H-1B visa holders will be able to work legally in the United States for three years and will be able to extend the visa for a total period of 6 years. After 6 years of stay, you must return to your home country if you do not change to another visa or apply for a green card within 60 days of Grace period. Also, once a six-year stay has passed, workers must actually leave the United States for at least one year to receive the H-1B visa again. The spouse of H-1B holder and unmarried children under the age of 21 can stay in the United States with an H-4 visa.

4. Temporary Agricultural Workers (H-2A visa)/Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers (H-2B visa)

H-2A is a visa issued for short-term farmers or seasonal workers who work on farms or work in fisheries, including 83 countries including South Korea. Employers seeking to sponsor an H-2A visa must demonstrate that there are not enough American workers who are employed and willing to work in the temporary / seasonal agricultural occupations. It should also prove that employing a foreign H-2A worker will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of US workers in similar situations.

H-2B visa for workers in a wide range of industrial sectors that require seasonal demand, such as construction, leisure, hotels, restaurants, and medical care, except agriculture. In fiscal 2018, H-2B has a total of 66,000 visa been issued to 82 countries that are eligible to participate in the H-2B program. The US Department of Homeland Security annually updates and lists the eligible countries for H-2A and H-2B programs.

Spouses of H-2 visa holders and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for H-4 visas just like H-1B's accompanying family members.

5. Exchange Professor or Short-term Interns (J-1 visa)

J-1 exchange visitor visas are for interns and exchange students to work in the US for short periods. J visas are the most comprehensive and complex visa out of non-immigrant visas, the purpose of which is to promote research and training in the relevant areas that the US government would like to encourage. Those who can get a J-1 visa vary widely from interns, visiting professors, researchers, doctors, teachers, international organizations or government visitors, students, camp counselors, and American families' babies (Au Pair). Legitimate length of stay for each program varies from four months to seven years.

One of the major issues with J-1 status is determining whether or not you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, The two-year home residency requirement (or 212(e), as it is referenced in the immigration regulations) means that those who come the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status in the U.S., or get work or family-based visa status such as H, L or K until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. To find out if a J-1 visa holder is subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you can check if the "Subject to the two-year residence requirement" box at the bottom left of DS-2019 is checked, or if your visa has "BEARER IS SUBJECT TO SECTION 212 (E) TWO YEAR RULL DOES APPLY".

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