U.S. Immigration Options to Sponsor Chilean Workers



Navigating U.S. immigration policy can be a daunting task for employers looking to sponsor foreign workers. For Chilean nationals, several special visa options are available that facilitate their employment in the United States, each with unique requirements and benefits. This article provides an overview of these options, focusing particularly on those uniquely available to Chileans, such as the H-1B1 visa along with the broader spectrum of visas such as the E-1 and E-2, which are also applicable under specific conditions.


The H-1B1 Visa: A Unique Pathway Only for Chilean and Singaporean Professionals

The H-1B1 visa is a distinctive nonimmigrant category available exclusively to Chilean and Singaporean nationals who wish to engage in specialty occupations in the U.S. This visa offers several advantages over the traditional H-1B visa, most notably the absence of the lottery system, allowing for a more straightforward application process.

Eligibility and Application

To qualify for an H-1B1 visa, applicants must:

  • Engage in a specialty occupation requiring a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a specific field.
  • Hold the necessary educational qualifications or a combination of education and relevant work experience (three years of relevant experience can equate to one year of higher education).
  • Receive a job offer from a U.S. employer who must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor, ensuring compliance with wage and working condition standards.

Chilean professionals can apply directly at a U.S. Consulate, bypassing the need for prior U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval, which is required for the H-1B visa and certain other petition-based visa categories.

Validity and Extensions

The initial validity of the H-1B1 visa is 18 months, with possibilities for extensions, providing a shorter duration compared to the H-1B visa’s three-year increments.


E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

Chileans can also leverage the E-1 and E-2 visa categories due to a treaty of commerce and navigation between Chile and the U.S. These visas are suitable for companies engaged in substantial trade (E-1) or who have made significant investments in the U.S. (E-2).

Eligibility Criteria

  • E-1 Treaty Trader: The applicant must be involved in significant international trade between the U.S. and Chile. The trade must be substantial in terms of volume, frequency, and monetary value.
  • E-2 Treaty Investor: The applicant must have invested, or be actively investing, a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business.

Both visa types require that the business primarily owned by nationals of the treaty country (Chile), and the applicant must hold a supervisory or executive position or possess skills essential to the firm’s operations in the U.S.


General Visa Options for Professional Employment

Apart from the special provisions for Chilean nationals, general U.S. immigration policies also offer various visas such as H-1B and L-1, applicable under different conditions based on the job role, industry, and other criteria.

  • H-1B Visa: For occupations that typically require a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field. Subject to an annual lottery, with certain exceptions.
  • L-1 Visa: For certain intracompany transferees who have worked abroad for an affiliate of the U.S. sponsoring company for at least one year in the preceding three years.

Our Services page provides a list of other common U.S. temporary nonimmigrant and permanent immigrant visa categories, hyperlinked to articles with more information about each option.



For Chilean nationals, the U.S. immigration framework offers multiple pathways tailored to various professional scenarios. From unique options like the H-1B1 visa to broader categories such as E-1 and E-2, Chilean workers and their employers can find a range of solutions to fit their specific needs. Employers considering sponsoring Chilean nationals should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the complexities of these options effectively.


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.