Immigration & Mobility

Mercado & Rengel provides immigration and relocation assistance to corporate clients and individuals. We have a team of professionals that can assist you with any legal, tax, and administrative issues before and after the relocation to the United States or Spain.

Mercado & Rengel provides immigration and relocation assistance to corporate clients. We begin with a comprehensive consultation during which an experienced attorney will review your immigration goals and analyze your eligibility for any of the various programs available under U.S. immigration law. Our firm has been practicing immigration law for more than 20 years and our immigration clients include individuals, small-businesses, multinational corporations and other commercial and non-governmental entities that employ foreign nationals on a temporary and permanent basis in the United States. Mercado & Rengel also provides relocation and other legal support after the individual is in the U.S. in an effort to facilitate the transition.


There are several categories of visas available for investors and other business-related purposes. Regardless of the size of your business, we can successfully guide you through the complexities of U.S. immigration law. Our experienced attorneys not only prepare your immigration forms, but also assist in the preparation of all of the supporting documents that are required in order that there are no errors or omissions that might delay your application, or worse, result in a denial. Whether you need to start new operations or send executives or employees to an existing business in the U.S., we can help with each step of the immigration process.

We evaluate your specific circumstances and your goals and help you choose the visa that will best serves your needs:


There are numerous U.S. visas (to see all visa visit State Department site) available for relocation to the United States under the current immigration laws, some of the most common are outlined below and further explained on this site.

Non-immigrant visas are available for temporary visits to the U.S. for tourism, study, or work, these fall within the B Category — a B-1 Conference/Business Visa or a B-2 Medical/Tourism Visa. However, if you wish to enter the country for a longer period to work and live in the U.S., you may need to apply for an L Visa (Executive Transfer) or H1-B Visa (Employment).

Those who wish to invest in a Business in the U.S. may obtain an E Visa (E-1 or E-2 Visa for Investors or Treaty Traders). Those with “extraordinary” or “exceptional” ability in their field may qualify for a visa via the EB-1 and EB-2 Visa categories.The EB-3 Visa, EB-4 Visa, and EB-5 Visa, are also designed to allow qualifying individuals to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. through employment and investment opportunities.

We can also help companies that wish to relocate employees to companies in the US using L-1, E-2, H1 or other visas.

There also exist O and P Visas for artists, writers, performers or athletes. In addition, students may study in the United States with F1, M1, H3 or J-1 visas. There are also Immigrant Visas (IR-1 or CR-1) for spouses of U.S. citizens as well as minor children (under 21 years of age).

Finally, the annual Diversity Visa Lottery also known as the Green Card Lottery is a U.S. government program that makes 55,000 Permanent Resident cards available via an electronic lottery open to nationals of selected countries. To apply free of charge for the DV Lottery visit the official U.S. State Department Website.

The United States immigration process is notoriously complicated and it can often prove difficult for those wishing to move to the U.S. to get a sense of where or how to begin the process. At Mercado & Rengel, we have the experience to help you successfully traverse this complex system. We will work with you in every step of the process — from visa selection, visa application, approval and interviews, and relocation services.

Once in the U.S., and even prior to your relocation, our Relocation Team can assist Expats settle in to their new home. We have the first-hand experience and knowledge to assist in making the transition as smooth as possible. We can help with home search, lease negotiations, school search, and other unexpected legal matters.


The B visa is the generic category used for foreign citizens seeking entry for a temporary period to visit the United States. Individuals from certain countries, including Spain and most E.U. countries, are eligible to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver program should apply with Homeland Security through the ESTA Website, thus making they do not need a visa for ordinary short-term travel.

The two types of B visas are:

  • B-1 visa, issued to those seeking entry for business purposes;

  • B-2 visa, issued to those seeking entry for tourism or other non-business purposes.

In practice, the two visa categories are often combined together and issued as a “B-1/B-2 visa,” valid for a temporary visit for either business or pleasure, or a combination of the two. However, legally speaking, the B-1 and B-2 fall into two distinct categories. The business activities permitted under the B-1 include, but are not limited to, attending business meetings, seminars, trade-shows, etc. Additionally, the B-1 visa regulations sets forth various subcategories of B-1 activities that are permitted, which we can explain to you in greater detail when you contact us.

The most common reason for being denied a visa is because the US Embassy believes that you plan to remain in the United States instead of returning to your home country. When you apply for a B1/B2 visa, you promise the U.S. government to leave the United States when your stay period expires, usually 6 months. If the U.S. Embassy thinks that you will not leave when you are required to do so, they will generally not give you a visa. If you have strong financial and family ties to your country, you are more likely to be issued the visa. Other common reasons for denial are having an immigration petition pending on your behalf, a criminal arrest or conviction, or previous history of not complying with U.S. immigration law, such as having been deported or overstaying a visa.

It is important that you fully understand the process because a visa denial may have adverse consequences for future attempts to enter the U.S. Call us for an explanation of the B1 and B2 visa for executives and others.


The L-1 visa is the official name of the nonimmigrant visa category in the United States that allows multinational companies to transfer executives, managers, and employees with specialized knowledge from a foreign branch to a branch in the United States. Therefore, the name of the visa is simply “Visa L-1”

The L Visa category is applicable for businesses which operate in their home country (such as Spain) as well as in the United States and have a need to move personnel to their U.S. affiliate. However, the L1 visa is not available for “new employees” and is strictly limited to the expat situation where the employee is reassigned to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate operating in the U.S. who is already employed abroad.

There are two kinds of L visas:

  • L-1A for transferees who work in an executive or managerial position, and

  • L-1B for transferees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge.

Who Is Eligible

Employees who are being transferred from a foreign subsidiary, branch, affiliate or parent of a U.S. company: who have specialized knowledge (L-1B) or are employed in an executive or managerial position (L-1A), and have been employed for at least one continuous year during the past three years, with the foreign subsidiary, branch, affiliate or parent of the U.S. company being the sponsor of the application.

Visa Duration and Renewability

L-1 visas may be granted for an initial period of up to 3 years and may be renewed for a maximum of 7 years for an L-1A, and a maximum of 5 years for an L-1B. After 1 year with the L visa, the beneficiary may apply to become a permanent resident and obtain a “green card” which would allow indefinite residence in the U.S. After 5 years as a permanent resident, the beneficiary may apply to become an American Citizen.

Family Benefits

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are allowed as dependents under an L-2 visa. L-1 dependents are allowed to legally live and study in the U.S. without any additional permits, and the spouse of the L-1 visa holder may obtain work authorization.

We at Mercado & Rengel have successfully handled hundreds of L visa applications and we can help you with all your visa needs.


The E Visa category was designed to give effect to trade and investment treaties between the U.S. and other countries in order to provide reciprocal trade benefits. The E-Visa allows investors making a substantial investment in the U.S. (see below definition of “substantial” for investment purposes); or business owners, managers, and employees of an enterprise conducting trade to live and work lawfully in the U.S.

Who Is Eligible

Only aliens who are citizens of countries that have entered into a trade and investment treaty with the U.S. are eligible for E-Visas, see State Department Website for current list. There are two distinct types of visas, which are denominated as E1 and E2 Visas, they are distinguished as follows:


This subcategory allows the visa holder to carry on or engage in substantial trade between his/her country and the U.S., including trade in services or trade in technology. The business of the company must be principally (at least 50%) between the United States and the country of which the visa holder is a citizen with substantial operations already in place. “Substantial” in this context means a continuous exchange of goods and services between the U.S. and the treaty nation of the alien applicant, involving numerous transactions that began prior to the filing of the E-1 application.


The E-2 allows one to obtain a visa under various scenarios:

  1.  to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested; or
  2. develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital; or
  3. As an employee who will perform services that require special qualifications essential to the operations of the treaty investor´s enterprise, who has the same nationality as the treaty investor employer.

The initial statutory limitation on the period of stay for an alien with an E-1 or E-2 can be no longer than two years. (Note: It is not uncommon for the U.S. Consulate to issue an E-1 or E-2 visa for five years). The E-2 visa requires a showing that the visa holder has the intention to depart from the United States upon the termination of his or her status.

Family Benefits

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of treaty trader or treaty investor aliens qualify for the same status as the principal alien, and their nationality is not relevant to their qualification.

They can live and study in the U.S. without any additional permits. The spouse of the visa holder may obtain authorization to work in the U.S.

Mercado & Rengel can help you with your investor visa needs at every step of the visa process, from incorporating your company and preparing a business plan to submitting your applications, call us today so you can get started right away. with your E-1/E-2 Investor Visa Process. This is just a brief explanation of E-2 / E-2 visas, please call us to discuss your particular situation in more detail.


The EB1 visa is a type of United States immigrant visa that is issued to people who are “priority immigrant workers.” The EB1 category is reserved for people who have exceptional ability and achievement in fields such as the arts, sciences, business, sports, or education.

There are three subcategories within the EB1 category:

  1. EB1(a): Individuals with exceptional ability and achievement in the arts, sciences, education, business, or sports who do not require a specific job offer in the United States
  2. EB1(b): Outstanding professors and researchers who have worked abroad for at least two years and who have been employed by an academic or research institution in the United States
  3. EB1(c): Executives and managers of multinational companies who have worked in a company abroad for at least one year and who are transferred to an affiliated company in the United States.

EB1 visa applicants must demonstrate that they have exceptional skills and achievements in their fields and that they are internationally recognized for their achievements. They must also demonstrate that their presence in the United States will benefit the country's economy, culture, or well-being.

If approved, an EB1 visa allows an applicant and their immediate family to live and work permanently in the United States. Additionally, the EB1 visa does not require the applicant to have a specific job offer in the United States, which can be an advantage for those seeking to settle in the United States on their own.


The Green Card Lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, is a United States government program that grants permanent residence to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. This special green card lottery is held each year and allows citizens of eligible countries to participate in a random drawing to obtain an immigrant visa.

The application process for the Green Card Lottery is free and takes place online. Start and end dates for filing applications are announced each year by the US Department of State.

To be eligible to participate in the Green Card Lottery, an applicant must be a citizen of an eligible country and meet certain educational or work experience requirements. The US Department of State publishes a list of eligible countries each year, and this list may change from year to year.

Once the application period closes, a random drawing is held and winners are selected. Winners are notified by email and must follow an additional application process to receive their immigrant visa.

It is important to note that being selected for the Green Card Lottery does not automatically guarantee the issuance of an immigrant visa. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass medical and security screenings before being approved for visa issuance.

In short, the Green Card Lottery is an opportunity for citizens of eligible countries to immigrate to the United States and receive permanent residence. However, competition is high and only a limited number of visas are available each year.


There are several types of work visas related to employment in the United States, here I mention some of the most common:

  1.  H-1B Visa: This is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that require at least a bachelor's degree.
  2. L-1 Visa: This is a nonimmigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer executives, managers, and employees with specialized knowledge from a foreign branch to a branch in the United States.
  3.  E-2 Visa: Also known as a trader visa, investor visa, US investor visa, This is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to enter and work in the United States to supervise and direct the development and operations of a company in which they have invested.
  4. O-1 Visa: This is a non-immigrant visa for people with extraordinary abilities and achievements in fields such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or sports.
  5. TN Visa: This is a non-immigrant visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens working in certain occupations to enter and work temporarily in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

It is important to note that each type of visa has its own requirements and procedures, and obtaining a US employment visa can be a lengthy and complicated process. If you are in Spain, we can help you directly with our immigration lawyers in Madrid.

  1. develop and direct the operations of a business in which you have invested; or.
  2. develop and direct the operations of a business in which it is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.


EB2 and EB3 visas are categories of immigrant visas in the United States, which allow foreign workers to reside and work permanently in the country. Here I briefly explain each of them:

  1. EB2 Visa: This visa is intended for foreign workers with advanced skills and experience in their field, and requires a job offer and labor certification from the employer. It can also be awarded to people with advanced degrees, such as masters or doctoral degrees, and who can show that their work will benefit the United States to a substantial degree.
  2. EB3 Visa: This visa is intended for foreign workers with skills and experience in occupations that require at least two years of training or experience. It can also be granted to unskilled workers in occupations that require less than two years of training or experience, such as jobs in restaurants, hotels, construction, among others. An offer of employment and labor certification from the employer are required.

It is important to note that obtaining an EB2 or EB3 immigrant visa can be a long and complicated process, and there are a number of requirements and procedures that must be carefully followed. Additionally, there are a limited number of visas available each year, and demand often exceeds supply, which means there is significant competition to obtain one of these visas.