If your spouse is working in the United States on an H-1B visa, you may already know that you are eligible for an H-4 visa, which comes with a work permit. That may be changing. The Trump administration has announced a plan to end the H-4 visa's work permit.
H-1B visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow people from three categories to live and work in the U.S. for between three and six years:
The Trump administration has telegraphed since early 2017 its intention to remove a path for early employment eligibility for spouses of H-1B visa holders.
For 10 years, the U.S. military recruited immigrants with critical language skills to serve in exchange for a chance to become U.S. citizens. In 2016, however, the Trump administration put that program on hold, concerned about inadequate vetting and security threats. The Pentagon increased the level of vetting and had been planning on relaunching the program this fall. Unfortunately, barriers remain.
Dozens of U.S. business leaders, including CEOs at top American companies, recently signed a joint letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They expressed "serious concern" over several Trump administration immigration policies, focusing on those surrounding H-1B visas. The signatories of the joint letter included the heads of Apple, IBM, Salesforce, BlackRock, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase and others.
If you would like to come to the United States for work, you need an employment-based visa. There are two classifications of employment-based visas: temporary and permanent. Each type has many visas to choose from, but you may only qualify for specific ones.
If you want to live and work permanently in the United States, you may qualify for a visa based on your education or work history. EB-3 visas are available for baccalaureate professionals, skilled workers and even unskilled workers when qualified workers are not available in the U.S.
EB-2 visas are for qualifying individuals who wish to immigrate permanently to the United States for reasons of employment. These are second-preference immigrant visas, meaning that the visas only become available once all EB-1 visas are awarded.
With the right combination of background, education and talent, you may be able to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. The United States offers 140,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year for people who wish to immigrate based on their job skills.