Noncitizens of the United States often have many questions about the various types of work visas. In this article, we compare the general characteristics of H-1B, TN, E-3, and H-1B1 visas. The H-1B visa classification is the one that most employers and foreign nationals think about. But the H-1B is numerically limited. Working with an attorney that knows the treaty based visas may provide options.
Canada and Mexico have entered into a trilateral agreement with the United States called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that reauthorized the use of the TN classification (which was originally authorized by NAFTA).
Similarly, treaties with Singapore and Chile authorized the H-1B1 visa and the E-3 visa classification is based on a treaty between the U.S. and Australia.
However, to use any of these treaty based visas, the employee must be a national from the respective country.
Is a TN Visa Better than an H-1B Visa?
Determining whether an H-1B or TN visa is better depends on each person’s unique set of goals and circumstances. TN visas may not have a limit on the number of times they can be renewed. TN visas are also considerably less expensive than H-1B visas in terms of government filing fees. However, TN visas are limited to citizens of Canada and Mexico, whereas the H-1B has no citizenship requirements.
TN visas are also limited to 63 NAFTA-approved occupations. In contrast, H-1B visas do not necessarily restrict the type of profession permitted as long as the job may be classified as a specialty occupation. A big difference, however, is that H-1B workers may seek permanent residence (because of a concept called “dual intent”) whereas TN visa holders cannot.
Is an E-3 Better than an H-1B Visa?
When it comes to E-3 visas, there is no H-1B lottery, like there is for H-1B visas. There is a cap on the number of E-3 visas that can be issued every year, but because so few people apply for E-3 visas the cap has never been reached in this firm’s memory. As a result, E-3 visas are usually available all year long. In contrast, there is a lot of competition for a limited number of H-1B visas every year, as the H-1B schedule is quite rigid. For example, in Fiscal Year 2022 more than 300,000 registrations were submitted for the approximately 85,000 H-1B visas.
Another great aspect of the E-3 visa is that spouses of E-3 visa holders can apply for a work permit that allows them to work anywhere in the U.S. H-4 spouses of H-1B holders do not have this same privilege at least not immediately. Most H-4 spouses must wait a long time and wait for their H-1B spouse to reach a certain point of the immigrant visa process (sometimes known as PERM) . Additionally, the ACWIA and Fraud Prevention Fees associated with H-1B applications cost anywhere from $1,250 to $2,000. In contrast, these fees don’t apply to E-3 applications.
H-1B visas can be extended to a maximum of 6 years, whereas E-3 visas are renewable beyond this 6 year timeline. Plus, applying for an E-3 visa can be done directly to a U.S. consulate abroad and there is no requirement to first file an I-129 petition with USCIS in the U.S.
H-1B1 Visas for Chilean and Singaporean Nationals
The H-1B1 visa is a temporary employment visa that is similar to the H-1B visa, in that it is given to noncitizens in specialty occupations. H-1B1 visas were established by the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
1,400 H-1B1 visas are available for citizens of Chile and 5,400 H-1B1 visas are available for citizens or nationals of Singapore every year. H-1B1 visas are multiple entry visas. Additionally, H1B1 beneficiaries do not need to have prior approval of their H1B1 petition from the USCIS. Generally speaking, the application process for H-1B1 visas is straightforward. These visas can be obtained within a week after the interview with the U.S. Consulate.
One downside to the H-1B1 is that it is only valid for 1 year whereas the H-1B is usually valid for up to 3 years.
Need Help Navigating H-1B, TN, E-3, and H-1B1 visas?
If you have additional questions about TN, E-3, or H-1B1 visas, feel free to reach out to our team at Philip Levin & Associates for further assistance.