Category Archives: Business Immigration

A person’s hand on top of a United States permanent resident card, on top of two small American flags, in Houston, Texas.

Is It Possible to Get a US Work Visa Without Sponsorship?

How to Get an Employment-Based, Non-Sponsored Visa


Many people hope to come to the United States to further their careers or to seek opportunities for growth. While some individuals are able to obtain an employer-sponsored visa, some do not have that ability. Fortunately, there are options for certain highly-qualified or high-net-worth people hoping to work or invest in the U.S. despite not having sponsorship from an employer. It is important to discuss your case with an immigration lawyer to determine the best path forward.


At Fong Ilagan in Houston, Texas, we represent individuals hoping to work in the United States. Whether you are seeking to immigrate permanently and work full-time or just need employment on a temporary basis our lawyers can help. Contact our office online or call (713) 772-2300 to discuss your rights. Call now to schedule a consultation.

What Are Non-Employer Sponsored Permanent Work Visas?

Individuals hoping to work or invest in the United States have three options for employment-based permanent visas: non-employer-sponsored (self-petitions) or investor visas. If you do not have an employer that will sponsor you for permanent residency, you will need to seek a self-petition. Or, if you are wealthy and meet the required capital investment threshold, you could file an immigrant investor petition for yourself.


Self-petition and investor petition (non-employer-sponsored) visa options include:


    • EB-1A Visa: Individuals of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may be eligible for an “employment-based, first preference” visa. To demonstrate extraordinary ability, you must meet certain criteria or provide evidence of a major internationally-recognized award. Individuals are not required to provide proof of an offer of employment or a labor certification.
  • EB-2 Visa: Individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability may apply for an EB-2 visa without employer sponsorship if they can meet the requirements for a national interest waiver.

  • EB-5 Visa: The final employment-based visa for which a non-citizen can apply without employer sponsorship is an EB-5 Investor Immigrant visa. The EB-5 program enables investors who meet certain criteria to seek permanent residence.

Employment-based visas are generally faster to obtain than most family-based visas, but the process can be complicated. It is important to discuss your legal options with a skilled business immigration lawyer. An attorney can help to determine your eligibility for a non-sponsored employment visa.

Are There Non-Immigrant Self-Petition Work Visas?

No, generally, there are not. However, foreign nationals from a treaty country seeking to do substantial trade in the United States may apply for an E-1 trader visa, and those from a treaty country with a substantial amount of capital to invest in a U.S. enterprise may apply for an E-2 treaty investor visa.

Do I Need an Immigration Attorney?

In general, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney any time you are seeking immigration to the United States. The legal process can be difficult and complex. Employment-based visas require a significant amount of documentation. 


Without the help of a Houston business immigration lawyer, you may not meet all the requirements causing delays or even a denial of your application. A lawyer can help you understand the legal process and the best course of action to achieve your goals. 

Hiring a Business Immigration Lawyer

If you need to seek an employment-based visa in the United States, contact our office online or call (713) 772-2300 to schedule an appointment. Whether you are looking to work in the U.S. temporarily or are seeking permanent residence, we may be able to help. We offer cost-effective solutions for all of your legal needs. Do not wait until it is too late. 


At Fong Ilagan, our Houston lawyers understand the importance of compassionate representation throughout the immigration process. We have a team of dedicated business immigration lawyers with the resources you need to get the best possible outcome in your case. Let us help you get the results you deserve. We pride ourselves on client communication and Texas-friendly service. Call our office today to get started. 

A close-up of an immigration form next to a fountain pen.

Why You Need to Work with a Business Immigration Lawyer in Houston

When it comes to business immigration, individuals and businesses alike must contend with many specific processes if they are seeking a green card, visa, citizenship, or another legal status. If you find yourself in this situation, you must make sure to follow these processes accurately in order to be compliant with United States law. 


A Houston business immigration lawyer from Fong Ilagan can make the process much more streamlined. We offer a wide range of services—including citizenship, employment-based Visas, family immigration, green cards, and more. These services are foundational to the legal system and help many families or corporations navigate the frustrating process of obtaining legal status. Keep reading to learn more!


Call our Houston immigration law firm to speak with one of our world-class immigration attorneys — (713) 772-2300!

What is a Business Immigration Lawyer?

Business immigration lawyers represent individuals, families, and/or businesses in front of a variety of legal departments. Some of these can include the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), The Board of Immigration Appeals, Immigration courts, or federal circuit courts. Business immigration lawyers often help corporations and their noncitizen employees from foreign offices to the United States. 

What do Business Immigration Lawyers Do?

Work visas require sponsorship to complete work for a United State employer. There is a long list of sponsor-based employment visas for the United States, including the E-1 visa, h1-b, and O-1 visa. Each of these classifications has its own requirements for eligibility, which is where a business immigration lawyer can help. 


Some examples of these classifications include: 

  • EB-5: For investors that are investing one million USD in a new commercial enterprise or 500,000 if the enterprise is in a rural or economically-depressed area 
  • First Preference EB-1: Multinational executive level individuals or companies, outstanding professors and researchers, or those who are highly recognized in their field
  • E-3: Applies to nationals of Australia who are coming to the United States to perform a specialty service 
  • H2-A: Allows United States agents or employers to bring in foreign nationals to assist with agricultural roles 

What is Required for Sponsors? 

Sponsors or employers must sign the correct forms to attest to the required visa. They will have to pay fees associated with the filing and return of the employee if there is termination. They must also report any changes in employment to the USCIS. They must confirm that the individual is eligible for employment in the United States by completing an I-9 form. Depending on the category of the visa, they may also need to maintain a Public Access File. 

Common Business Immigration Concerns

With reforms and legal information constantly adapting and changing, it can be challenging for many businesses to keep up. There are also difficulties in understanding how policy works with spouses, dependents, or those who are considered self-employed. Documentation may also be a hurdle, as it can be time-consuming and extensive. 

Why Work with a Business Immigration Lawyer?

As a corporation or business, you want to make sure you do things right when it comes to the legal system. This is especially true if you are working with a highly valued employee who is willing and eager to commit. We can assist in helping your executives with getting visas or reorganizations and guide you through the process. 

Business Immigration Law Firm in Houston

At Fong Ilgan, our Houston, Texas, immigration lawyers are skilled in how businesses can most effectively get legal services. We have decades of experience that provides us with detailed knowledge of how the process works most effectively. This can save you time, money, and frustration. 


We have helped a variety of different industries, such as oil, gas, technology, health, research, import, and finance companies. Our core values are being honest, cost-effective, and offering insight as to what legal road would be best for your company. Contact us by calling (713) 772-2300 to get started! 


Business immigration lawyers Houston

Senior Attorney, Candida Paris, Speaks at the 2019 University of Texas’ Continuing Legal Education Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law

Senior Attorney, Candida Paris, Speaks at the 2019 University of Texas’ Continuing Legal Education Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law

November 6, 2019 (Austin, TX)- Senior Immigration Attorney, Candida O. Paris, of the immigration law firm, Fong Ilagan, LLP, was invited to speak at the 43rd Annual Conference on Immigration and Nationality Law for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) hosted by the University of Texas (UT) School of Law in Austin, Texas.
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Business immigration lawyers Houston

What does the future look like for the H-1B Visa Program?

What does the future look like for the H-1B Visa Program?

Recent reports from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) show that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is denying H-1B visa petitions at higher rates than ever. NFAP reports show in 2015 H-1B visas were being denied at a rate of 6%. This year, the denial rate is averaging a whopping 24%. Houston immigration attorneys, William Fong and Gary Ilagan, break down why this is happening, what the increase of denials means for employers and international employees, and what’s ahead for the H-1B visa program.

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Business immigration lawyers Houston

5 Facts about the New EB-5 Rules

5 Things You Need to Know About the New EB-5 Visa Rules

The EB-5 Visa, otherwise known as the Immigrant Investor Program, came into existence in 1990 to stimulate the American economy. Through capital investment in job-creating real estate projects classified as New Commercial Enterprises (NCE’s), immigrant investors can secure conditional U.S. residency for themselves and their qualifying family members. Whilst this is the basic premise of the EB-5 Visa program, the regulations are numerous and are about to change considerably.
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Business immigration lawyers Houston

Wilka Toppins to hold immigration Seminar in Mexico City

Fong Ilagan of Counsel Attorney, Wilka Toppins, invites you to join her in Mexico City

From the 5th through 14th August, Attorney Wilka Toppins will be holding a seminar in Mexico City, for the benefit of clients and businesses seeking immigration advice.

Wilka is a highly experienced business immigration attorney who has represented hundreds of individual investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world and worked with many privately owned international companies.
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