Residents of British Columbia who wish to work in the United States and also apply for a green card might have many visa-related questions. U.S. Immigration laws require foreign applicants to show that they have no intentions to remain in the United States after the expiration of the work visa. They must also show the intent to leave the U.S. during the processing time of a green card.
However, foreign nationals have the option to apply for dual intent visas that include L-1, H1-B and O-1 visas. If an employer sponsors an employee with one of these visas, the worker will not have to leave the U.S. during the green card application and processing period. The dual intent means the intention to use the visa to work in the United States and also the intention to make an application for permanent residency during the time for which the work visa is valid.
This does not mean that foreign nationals who do not have dual-intent visas are prevented from applying for permanent residency. However, they will have to leave the U.S. and their jobs while waiting for green card applications to be approved. The advantage of a dual intent visa is job retention and uninterrupted earning ability.
The decision to leave British Columbia and apply for permanent residency in the United States is a significant one. Dealing with U.S. immigration laws can be daunting, and many choose to utilize the skills of a lawyer who is registered on both sides of the border to answer their questions and explain the pros and cons of the different visas. The lawyer can assess the client’s unique circumstances and work with the sponsoring employer before suggesting the most suitable visa type for which to apply.