The United States of America (USA) is one of the most sought-after destinations for people looking for work opportunities in different sectors.
The US has a thriving job market and a diverse economy that attracts professionals from all over the world. However, getting a work visa for the US can be challenging due to the complex and ever-changing immigration laws.
In this article, we will discuss the different types of work visas available in the US and the requirements and processes involved in obtaining them.
Types of US Work Visas
There are several types of work visas available in the US, each with its own set of requirements and limitations. Some of the most common work visas are:
- H-1B Visa: The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. The visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended for an additional three years. To qualify for an H-1B visa, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or higher and the job they are being hired for must require specialized knowledge and skills.
- L-1 Visa: The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their US offices. The visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended for an additional two years. To qualify for an L-1 visa, the applicant must have worked for the company for at least one year prior to the transfer and must be a manager, or executive, or have specialized knowledge.
- E-1/E-2 Visa: The E-1/E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US to work in the US. The visa is valid for up to five years and can be extended indefinitely. To qualify for an E-1/E-2 visa, the applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country and must be coming to the US to engage in substantial trade or investment.
- O-1 Visa: The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to work in the US. The visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended indefinitely. To qualify for an O-1 visa, the applicant must demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field through awards, publications, and other forms of recognition.
- TN Visa: The TN visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the US under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended indefinitely. To qualify for a TN visa, the applicant must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico and must be coming to the US to work in a professional occupation.
You may also read: Facts About H1B Visa | Eligibility | Requirements | Validity
Requirements for US Work Visas
The requirements for US work visas vary depending on the type of visa. However, there are some general requirements that apply to most work visas, including:
- Job offer: To apply for a work visa, the applicant must have a job offer from a US employer. The job offer must be for a specific position and must meet certain requirements, such as minimum salary and job duties.
- Labor certification: Some work visas require the US employer to obtain a labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL) to prove that there are no qualified US workers available for the job.
- Qualifications: The applicant must meet the qualifications for the job, such as education and work experience.
- Health and character: The applicant must undergo a medical examination and provide evidence of good character.
- Passport and photo: The applicant must have a valid passport and provide a recent passport-sized photograph
A potential employer must submit and have authorized by USCIS a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, on your behalf before you may apply for a temporary worker visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
This often includes filing a “PERM” application for labor certification, which takes a while and is challenging to complete. A helpful way to think of this is that the likelihood that someone will obtain employment in the USA increases with their level of education and competence.
To be eligible to apply for the work category, you must have a job and a letter from your employer verifying that you are employed. I-129 and I-797 forms from your employer are required. The US Department of Labor’s Labour certification approval is a requirement for your employer.