Ray Law International

Noncitizen STEM Professionals

Work Visas for Noncitzen STEM Professionals in Chicago

For a considerable time, the United States has served as a magnet for exceptional individuals from around the globe. Our capacity to draw in international brilliance, particularly within the realms of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), has ignited groundbreaking advancements. As a result, the United States created a unique pathway for noncitizen STEM professionals to obtain temporary and permanent work visas.

At Ray Law International, our unwavering dedication revolves around delivering the distinctive Ray Law Advantage on every occasion. This includes a wealth of expertise to guide you through the swiftest path, proactive and punctual communication, as well as pricing that remains competitive.

Contact our firm today at (888) 474-8048 to speak to our experienced team about the many immigration pathways for STEM professionals.

Types of Visas for STEM Professionals

Noncitizen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals have several options to work in the United States. Here are some common pathways available to noncitizen STEM professionals:

  • H-1B Visa: This is a popular temporary work visa for skilled foreign workers, including those in STEM fields. To be eligible, you need a job offer from a U.S. employer, and the employer must sponsor your H-1B visa application. The number of H-1B visas is limited and subject to an annual cap, which can make it competitive.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): If you're an international student in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa and have completed a degree in a STEM field, you can apply for up to 12 months of OPT. If you have a degree in certain STEM fields, you might be eligible for a 24-month extension of your OPT.
  • STEM OPT Extension: If you've completed your initial 12 months of OPT and are in a STEM field, you can apply for a 24-month extension of your OPT. This allows you to work for a total of 36 months in the U.S. after graduation.
  • J-1 Visa: The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program allows for educational and cultural exchange, and some J-1 categories, like the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor, can provide opportunities for STEM professionals to work at U.S. academic institutions or research organizations.
  • O-1 Visa: If you have extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, you might qualify for an O-1 visa. This is for individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise and recognition in their respective STEM fields.
  • EB-2 or EB-3 Employment-Based Green Cards: These are permanent residency options that require employer sponsorship. The EB-2 category is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, while the EB-3 category is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The process can be time-consuming and involves labor certification.
  • National Interest Waiver (NIW): This is a subset of the EB-2 category. If you can demonstrate that your work benefits the U.S. national interest significantly, you might be able to bypass the labor certification requirement.

The nuance between the various STEM visas is often subtle. Let our experienced employment immigration lawyers in Chicago guide you through the process and help you find the right pathway for temporary or permanent immigration.

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