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Texas has a rich technology history as one of the 10 largest venture capitalist magnets in the U.S. The state’s employment in computer systems design and related services has continually grown from employing 137,800 people in 2010 to 163,600 in 2018. When deciding to move to the southern technology hub, please consider the following:
- In the fiscal year 2016, about 10 percent of all positions fulfilled by an H1-B visa holder certified during the nationwide application process were jobs based in Texas. In the fiscal year 2015, nearly 105,000 positions in Texas were filled with H-1B workers. Dallas, the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States, was the county with the highest number of H-1B positions in the state
- Among the predominant industries petitioning and sponsoring H-1B visa workers include technology (ranging from large to small companies), healthcare, financial services, consulting firms
- Consistent with the nationwide trend in H-1B visa sponsors, the top two fields were in tech and engineering sectors
By consulting one of our expert LAWIMM immigration attorneys, we will make sure your immigration to the Lone Star State is not a struggle.
Considering the Texas oil boom, it should be no surprise that the state specialized in oil: many of the largest international corporations headquartered in the state are related to oil and gas industry, oil refining, oil and gas pipelines, and power and gas utilities. For foreign workers employed in these industries, fields and related companies, the L-1 visa is effective in enabling them to temporarily work for their employer’s parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate office in Texas. There are multiple requirements and criteria for L-1 visa applicants to consider.
There are two types of L-1 visas available for employees of qualified foreign companies:
- L-1A visas for employees in a managerial or executive capacity, effective for seven years, and
- L-1B visas for employees in a position requiring specialized knowledge, effective for five years
Both the U.S. employer and foreign employee are obligated to meet certain requirements in order for the employee to qualify for an L-1 visa. The first criteria is that the foreign employer and U.S.-based office are related as either:
- Parent and subsidiary
- Branch and headquarters, or
The second criteria is that the foreign employee must be:
- Sponsored by their employer
- Are managers, executives or have specialized knowledge, and
- Worked abroad for their employer for one (1) year minimum out of previous three (3) years in a manager, executive or specialized knowledge position.
Managers are defined by the following:
- Manages organization, department, subdivision, function or component of the organization
- Supervises and controls work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees; manages an essential function within the organization, or department or subdivision of the organization
- Has authority to hire and fire as well as other personnel actions
Executives are defined by the following criteria:
- Directs management of organization or a major component or function of the organization
- Establishes goal and policies of organization, component or function
- Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making
- Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization
Specialized knowledge is defined as:
- Special knowledge that is possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application to international markets, or an advanced knowledge or expertise in the organization’s process and procedures
If the individual is opening a new office in the United States, the petition must include evidence that the business is in the United States, and:
- Has sufficient property to house the office
- Currently, or upon the business being established, as a relationship with the foreign employer
- Has the financial capacity to start doing business in the United States, which includes showing:
- The amount of investment
- The structure of organization in each business
- The size and condition of the foreign employer’s finances
- If the individual is petitioning as an L-1 manager or executive seeking to open a new office, the evidence must establish that the operation in the United States will support the individual’s position within one year’s time
Please consult one of our expert LAWIMM immigration attorneys to address concerns you may have regarding this complex visa if your company or a related entity are sponsoring your intracompany transfer to a location in Texas.
TEXAS: PERMANENT RESIDENCE
As one of the largest states in the U.S., Texas also has one of the nation’s largest share of permanent residents living there: as of 2015, 9.5 per cent of people granted lawful permanent residence in the U.S. live in Texas. Thanks to the state’s relatively cheap cost of living, low tax rate and wide range of employing multinational corporations, Texas’ population has a relatively high growth rate for families. There are several ways to obtain Permanent Residence (or a “Green card”) in Texas, each containing their own eligibility requirements. Our green card lawyers at LAWIMM will help you identify the best eligibility category for your situation and requirements and file your petition or application with the USCIS.
Below are the most common ways and criteria to obtain a green card.
- You may be eligible for a green card through family under the following conditions:
- A close family member with U.S. citizenship can sponsor their spouses, children and siblings
- Permanent Residents can sponsor their children under the age of 21, unmarried children who are 21 or older, or spouses
- Citizens over 21 years of age can sponsor their parents.
- Siblings (brother/sister) can sponsor other sibling(s)
Through family, you may be eligible to apply (for a Green Card) as a
- Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, if you are a:
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
- Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
- Other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories, if you are the
- Family member of a U.S. citizen, meaning you are a:
- Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old
- Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
- Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
- Family member of a lawful permanent resident, meaning you are a:
- Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
- Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a lawful permanent resident
- Unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident of a U.S. citizen, and at least 21 years old (K-2 non-immigrant)
- Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen and were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died
- Family member of a U.S. citizen, meaning you are a:
- Violence Against Women Act self-petitioner: Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or parent of a U.S. citizen
- You are a U.S. citizen
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States on a K-1 non-immigrant visa
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry (and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment), and
- You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the two-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in-person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner
- Permission to work
- After being admitted to the U.S. on a K-1 non-immigrant visa, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for evidence of work authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In this case, your fiancé(e)’s work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the U.S.
- Your fiancé(e) may also apply for work authorization at the same time he or she applies for a Green Card. In this case, your fiancé(e) can file Form I-765 together with the Form I-485. In this case, your fiancé(e)’s work authorization is valid for one year and may be extended in one-year increments.
- Is married to you
- Is the beneficiary of Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative that you filed for them); and
- Seeks to enter the United States to await USCIS’s decision on Form I-130
- Under 21 years of age
- Unmarried, and
- The child of the K-3 visa applicant on whose behalf you filed for
- You may be eligible for a green card through employment if:
- Your employer or prospective employer can sponsor you for permanent residence
- You are a highly-skilled worker willing to take positions that cannot be filled by a U.S. citizen due to shortage of workers with your skill set
- You plan to open a business in the U.S. that creates a certain number of jobs for U.S. citizens; this category has the lowest preference among work-based options
- Are a first preference immigrant worker, which means you:
- Have extraordinary skills in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or
- Are an outstanding professor or researcher, or
- Are a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria
- Are a second preference immigrant worker, which means you:
- Are a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree, or
- Have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or
- Are seeking a national interest waiver
- Are a third preference immigrant worker, which means you are:
- A skilled worker (your job requires a minimum of two years training or work experience), or
- A professional (your job requires at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or a foreign equivalent and you are a member of the profession), or
- An unskilled worker (meaning you will perform unskilled labor requiring less than two years training or experience)
- Are a physician (Physician National Interest Waiver) who agrees to work full-time in clinical practice in a designated underserved area for a set period of time and also meets other eligibility requirements
- Have invested or are actively in the process of investing (Immigrant investor) at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. which will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees
- Religious worker: if you are a member of a religious denomination coming to work for a non-profit religious organization in the U.S.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ): if you are a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parent and you have SIJ status
- Afghan or Iraq national, if you:
- Served as an Afghan or Iraqi translator for the U.S. government
- Were employed by or for the U.S. government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for at least one year
- Were an Afghan employed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
- International broadcaster: if you are coming to work as a member of the media in the U.S.
- Employee of an international organization or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member, if you
- Are a retired officer or employee of certain international organizations, or NATO and certain family members
Please consult one of our expert LAWIMM immigration attorneys to discover the best way for you, your significant other and/or your children to become Permanent Residents in the family-friendly Lone Star state.
TEXAS: INVESTOR VISA
With 32 foreign trade zones and an upwards of 1,500 foreign corporations with ongoing operations in Texas, the state has been a leading global destination for foreign direct investment for over 14 years. Considering the amount of energy, gas and oil production that the state produces, Texas leads the nation in attracting foreign projects in those fields. To immigrate to Texas through investments, there are two main kinds of Investor Visas: E-1 Treaty Traders and E-2 Treaty Investors. The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the U.S. to conduct international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of said person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible. To qualify for an E-1 you must be:
- A national of your treaty country own at least 50 percent of the stock of the company
- A citizen of a treaty country and involved in international trade
- An immediate family member of a principal E-1 visa holder
- An executive, manager or specialist in a treaty country’s company operating in the U.S., or you own 50 percent of the company
The E-2 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. when investing substantial capital in a U.S. business. Similarly, certain employees of said person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible. To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must meet all of the following qualifications:
- You are an entrepreneur from a treaty country entering the U.S. to invest a minimum of 50% stake in a business or will assume a significant managerial or operational control
- Capital is at risk and has been committed
- U.S. workers will be employed at your organization
- Entering the U.S. to develop or direct investments from the treaty country. This will be established by showing 50% ownership
- You are an immediate family member or a key employee of an E-2 visa holder
- You have a business plan with a five-year forecast
E-1/E-2 visas are issued with five-year limits and can be renewed or extended in five-year increments as long as the applicant still qualifies. The applicant’s spouse and children will be admitted in the same category and eligible for employment authorization during the time of the visa. Benefits can include:
- Direct filing with the consular post without approval of the USCIS
- The ability to remain in the United States indefinitely
- No requirement of prior work experience or advanced degree
- No statutory limitations to the number of E visas which can be issued.
In addition to being a national of a treaty country, the trade must:
- Be a traceable exchange between the U.S. and the treaty country
- Be international
- Involve goods, services and money
- Exist between countries with ratified trade treaties with the U.S.
- Consist of at least 50% with a U.S. enterprise
- Be consistent, substantial and ongoing
Larger and more valuable transactions improve the chances of being approved for an Investor Visa: the involved trade must be able to support the trade, and his or her family. The applicant must be essential to the organization with regards to holding a managerial or supervisory role, or demonstrate a highly valued skill, expertise or experience essential to the organization they represent. The owner must also be a national of the same treaty country and have a minimum 50% stake in the organization.
Please consult one of our expert LAWIMM immigration attorneys who will help you invest in the Lone Star state’s energy sector.