U.S. Immigration Options for Mathematicians


The demand for mathematicians in the United States is driven by the growing need for data analysis, cryptography, and advanced research in various industries. For mathematicians who were international students in the U.S. or trained outside the U.S., understanding the various immigration pathways is essential to navigating the immigration sponsorship process to be able to continue to live and work in the country after graduation. This article explores the temporary and permanent visa options available to mathematicians seeking to start, continue, or advance their careers in the U.S.


Temporary Nonimmigrant Visa Options

  1. H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations:
    • The H-1B visa is the standard professional visa for mathematicians from countries not covered by specific professional visa treaties and agreements for any jobs which are in an occupation which requires a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related field. This visa is generally subject to an annual lottery, except if the employer is a University, University affiliate, or a nonprofit/governmental research institution.
  2. TN Visa for Canadian and Mexican Mathematicians:
    • Under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), qualified Canadian and Mexican mathematicians can apply for TN visas to work in mathematician jobs. This visa status allows them to work in the U.S. with approvals in increments up to three (3) years for Canadians and up to four (4) years for Mexicans. Canadians can apply directly with CBP at a Port of Entry, whereas Mexicans generally need to apply for TN visas at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico.
  3. E-3 Visa for Australian Mathematicians:
    • The E-3 visa is a specific category for Australian citizens entering the U.S. to work in specialty occupations, including mathematics. This visa is similar to the H-1B but provides for a more streamlined application process. The E-3 visa does not require an annual lottery and allows for an application to be presented directly to a U.S. Consulate in Australia, with proof of qualifications, a U.S. job offer in a specialty occupation, and a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
  4. H-1B1 Visa for Singaporean and Chilean Mathematicians:
    • The H-1B1 visa provides a pathway for Singaporean and Chilean nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S., including mathematical roles. The application process is nearly identical to the E-3 visa, bypassing the H-1B lottery system, offering a more predictable route for qualified mathematicians from these countries.
  5. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa:
    • Mathematicians may use the E-2 visa as managers or essential skills employees to work for U.S. companies that are 50% owned by citizens of a treaty country if the mathematician shares citizenship with the company’s owners.
  6. J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa:
    • The J-1 visa is suitable for mathematicians participating in exchange programs, including internships, training programs, research fellowships, and teaching positions. This visa provides opportunities for practical training in the U.S. and may or may not require participants to return to their home country for at least two years upon completion unless they obtain a waiver.
  7. L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa:
    • For mathematicians employed by multinational companies, the L-1 visa facilitates the transfer of managers, executives, and employees with specialized (proprietary company) knowledge to U.S. affiliate offices.
  8. O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences:
    • The O-1 visa is for mathematicians with extraordinary ability, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim. This visa requires evidence of significant achievements and recognition in the field.


Permanent Immigrant Visa Options

  1. EB-1A for Extraordinary Ability:
    • The EB-1A immigrant visa classification is for mathematicians who can demonstrate extraordinary ability through sustained national or international acclaim. This visa does not require a job offer, allowing for more flexibility.
  2. EB-1B for Outstanding Professors and Researchers:
    • Mathematicians generally with at least three years of experience in research or academia can qualify for the EB-1B immigrant visa classification. This visa requires a job offer from a U.S. employer and proof of outstanding achievements.
  3. EB-1C for Multinational Managers and Executives:
    • The EB-1C immigrant visa classification is for mathematicians in current or prospective managerial or executive roles within multinational companies who served in these roles with an affiliate abroad.
  4. EB-2 Immigrant Petition for Advanced Degree Professionals:
    • The EB-2 immigrant visa is for mathematicians with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field. This category requires a job offer and labor certification unless the mathematician qualifies for a National Interest Waiver (NIW), which can bypass these requirements if their work significantly benefits the U.S. Mathematicians who can demonstrate their work is in the national interest of the U.S. may apply for a National Interest Waiver. This waiver is particularly relevant for those working in critical research areas or sectors of national importance, eliminating the need for a job offer and labor certification.
  5. EB-3 Immigrant Petition for Skilled Workers and Professionals:
    • Mathematicians may qualify for the EB-3 immigrant visa if they hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and have a permanent, full-time job offer from a U.S. employer. The employer must first secure labor certification from the Department of Labor.
  6. PERM Labor Certification under EB-2 or EB-3
    • PERM is a process where U.S. employers demonstrate that they cannot find a qualified U.S. worker for a specific position and need to hire a foreign worker. This certification is required for most EB-2 and EB-3 green card applications and involves a rigorous recruitment process.


U.S. Citizenship

After five years of permanent residency, during which the majority of time is spent in the U.S., lawful permanent residents can apply for U.S. citizenship. Any time spent in nonimmigrant status does not count towards these five years.


For more detailed information on U.S. immigration options for mathematicians, visit our Services webpage, which offers a comprehensive list of visa categories and additional resources for further development in a business immigration legal consultation.


The above is informational and not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an experienced business immigration attorney on your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with any U.S. immigration strategy.