Can we hire someone currently in the U.S. on an E visa?

Got a job candidate who already has an E visa? Here are the legal possibilities.

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Question

I'm the human resources manager for a company with nearly 1,500 employees. One of our division managers asked me about a candidate he wants to hire who has an E visa. What is an E visa, and what do we need to do to bring her on board?

Answer

Check with your candidate to ask whether her employer actually sponsored her for the E visa or whether she is instead the spouse of an E visa holder who is working in the United States. If she has an E visa as the spouse of an E visa worker, she can apply for a work permit on her own by preparing and submitting Form I-765 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She will receive an "Employment Authorization Document" or "EAD" in about two to three months, at which time she can start working for you.

If your candidate has an E visa of her own, which her employer sponsored, that means she is working in the U.S. for a company that is at least 50% foreign owned, and she has the same nationality as the foreign owners. To employ her with an E visa under this scenario, your company would need to be at least 50% owned by citizens of her country, and you would need to register the company with the U.S. consulate in that country. You didn't mention anything about the ownership of your company, but you may want to review the articles on E visas on the Nolo site for more information, and the article "E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors in the U.S.: Who Qualifies?".

If neither of the above options is available, you may be able to pursue an H-1B visa if there still are visa numbers remaining for the current year's quota. However, the window of opportunity for this is very short, since these visas tend to get used up every April, soon after the application period for the new fiscal year’s supply of visas opens. To qualify for the H-1B visa, your job must require at least a U.S. bachelor's degree in a specific field, and the candidate must have a relevant degree or the equivalent combined education and experience. See the many articles on the H-1B visa on the Nolo site for more details.

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