If you were not selected in this year’s H-1B visa lottery and you want to stay in the U.S., here are some possible visa options you could consider.

TN Visa for Canadian and Mexican nationals: If you are Canadian or Mexican national and you have an offer from a U.S. company to work in a profession that is listed on the NAFTA profession list, you could qualify for a TN Visa.

L-1 intra-company transfer visa: If you have been working for a foreign company for at least 1 continuous year out of the preceding 3 years, the foreign company and the U.S. company have a qualifying relationship, the company is doing business in the U.S. and at least one foreign country, and you are coming to the U.S. to work as a manager/executive or essential employee, you could qualify for L-1 Visa.

E-2 Visa if you want to start or purchase a business in the U.S. If you are a national of a treaty country, and you want to start your own business in the U.S. or purchase a business in the U.S., E-2 visa is a great option for you. For E-2 visa, you would have to invest substantial amount of money and the business would have to employ U.S. employees. You can read more about the E-2 investor visa when you click here.

E-1 visa if you are a treaty trader who engages in international trade between the U.S. and your home country: If you are a national of a treaty country and you engage in substantial trade between your country and the U.S. and more than 50% of international trade is between your country and the U.S., you could be eligible for an E-1 visa. If you are not engaging in international trade yet but you want to start a business, that is possible, but you will have to meet all the E-1 requirements at the time you apply for an E-1 visa. You can read more about the E-1 visa when you click here.

O-1A Visa if you have an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics and you want to come to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability: To qualify for O-1A, you must have received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel prize, or you have to prove that you meet at least 3 of the statutory requirements. You can read more about O-1A visa when you click here.

O-1B Visa if you have extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industry and you want to come to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability: This is a great visa option if you are an artist and you earned a high level of distinction in the artistic field. You would have to prove that you either received a major, national or international recognized award such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award or you meet at least 3 of the statutory requirements.

Can my employer sponsor me for a green card if I was not selected in the H-1B lottery?

Yes. Your employer can sponsor you for a green card even if you were not selected for the H-1B visa. Many people think that you first have to be in the U.S. on an H-1B visa for some period of time and only then can your employer sponsor you for a green card, but that is not true.

Your employer can sponsor you for Eb-1, EB-2 or EB-3 green card. Please note that your employer would have to test the labor market and file a Labor Condition Certification under these categories. It takes approximately 1,5 – 2 years from the time this process starts until you get the green card and you would have to leave the U.S. unless you have some other underlying immigration status.

My employer does not want to sponsor me for a green card. What other options do I have?

Eb-1(a) Extraordinary Ability Green Card:  You do not need an employer for this Green Card category and you could sponsor yourself. For this green card category, you must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim and your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation.

Eb-2 National Interest Waiver: You would still have to meet the Eb-2 requirements and you would also have to prove that the waiver of the job offer from a U.S. employer is in a national interest. You can read more about NIW when you click here.

Eb-5 Green Card: If you want to get a green card and you want to purchase a business in the U.S., and Eb-5 visa may be a perfect option for you. Generally speaking, for the Eb-5 visa, you have to invest either $1,800,000 in a city settings, or $900,000 in rural settings (or TEA), and in return, the U.S. Government will give you a Green Card. You will have to show that the funds came from a legitimate source and the entire investment must be “at risk” (you cannot just be thinking about buying a business and you have to put capital up that could be lost) and the investment must directly or indirectly result in the creation or preservation of 10 full time jobs. You can read more about the Eb-5 requirements when you click here.

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