9 different types of Work Visas for Working in the US
- Business Immigration
Interested in a work visa and don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of nine different types of work visas to consider if you’re looking to work in the United States or employ foreign nationals in the United States.
The H-1B visa is a temporary work visa that allows skilled foreign workers to work for a specific employer in the United States for up to six years. The visa is commonly used by employers in the United States to hire foreign workers in fields such as technology, finance, engineering, medicine, and science. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience and be sponsored by a U.S. employer. To be eligible for an H-1B visa, an applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in work experience and must be sponsored by a U.S. employer. The visa program is subject to an annual cap, which limits the number of visas that can be issued each year.
The H-2B visa is a temporary work visa for non-agricultural workers in industries like hospitality, construction, and landscaping. The H-2B visa is used by employers in the United States who require temporary labor for seasonal or peak business periods. To be eligible for an H-2B visa, applicants must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, who must prove that there are not enough U.S. workers willing and able to do the work. The number of H-2B visas available is limited to 66,000 per year, with 33,000 issued for employment starting from October 1st to March 31st and the remaining 33,000 issued for employment starting from April 1st to September 30th.
3. TN Visa
The TN visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the United States in certain professional fields such as engineering, accounting, teaching, and scientific research. It is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and was created to facilitate the temporary movement of professionals across the borders of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
To qualify for the TN visa, applicants must have a job offer from a U.S. employer in a profession that is on the list of approved NAFTA professions. They must also have the necessary education and work experience to perform the job.
The TN visa offers numerous benefits, including easy and fast application processing, no annual cap on the number of visas available, and the ability to apply for an extension of up to three years. However, the TN visa does not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship in the United States.
4. O Visa
The O visa is a non-immigrant work visa for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the movie or television industry. The visa allows foreign nationals to come to the United States temporarily to work in their field of expertise.
To be eligible for the O visa, applicants must demonstrate that they possess exceptional ability in their field through sustained national or international acclaim. They must also provide extensive documentation of their achievements and recognition, such as awards, publications, or media appearances.
5. P Visa
The P visa is a non-immigrant work visa for athletes, entertainers, and performers who wish to come to the United States temporarily to perform, compete, or coach. The visa is divided into three categories: P-1, P-2, and P-3.
P-1 visas are for individual or team athletes who are internationally recognized and coming to the U.S. for a specific event or competition. P-2 visas are for artists or entertainers who are part of a reciprocal exchange program between a U.S. organization and a foreign organization that sponsors cultural programs. P-3 visas are for artists or entertainers who are participating in a culturally unique program.
To be eligible for a P visa, applicants must provide evidence of their qualifications, achievements, and recognition in their field, as well as a valid job offer or invitation from a U.S. organization. The organization must also provide extensive documentation of their involvement in the event or program.
Overall, the P visa is a useful option for foreign national athletes, entertainers, and performers to work in the U.S. temporarily and participate in important cultural and entertainment events.
6. J Visa
The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant work visa for individuals who wish to come to the United States temporarily to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor programs. This visa is intended for students, researchers, teachers, and cultural exchange visitors to enhance their skills in their respective fields.
To be eligible for a J-1 visa, applicants must apply through a designated sponsor organization that is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to administer exchange programs. The requirements and application processes may vary depending on the program and sponsor organization. Applicants must also demonstrate proficiency in the English language and show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in the United States.
J-1 visa holders may stay in the United States for the duration of their program, which can last from a few weeks to several years. Upon completion of their program, they are required to return to their home country to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through their exchange program.
7. E-2 Visa
The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant, temporary work visa that allows foreign nationals to come to the United States to invest in and manage a business. The visa is only available to people from certain countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
To be eligible for an E-2 visa, the applicant must be a citizen of the treaty country, have invested a substantial amount of money in a new or existing enterprise in the U.S., and be coming to the U.S. solely to develop and direct the enterprise. The applicant must also demonstrate that the investment is not marginal, and that the enterprise will create jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The E-2 visa can be extended indefinitely, as long as the enterprise remains viable, and the applicant continues to meet the eligibility requirements. E-2 visa holders may also change employers and work for their own company.
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of an E-2 visa holder may also obtain dependent visas to join the principal applicant in the U.S. The dependents are not permitted to work in the U.S., but they can attend school or university.
Overall, the E-2 visa provides a pathway for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to establish and manage businesses in the United States.
8. L Visa
The L visa is a non-immigrant, temporary work visa that allows companies operating in the United States and abroad to transfer their employees from their foreign location to a U.S. location. The visa is intended to facilitate global mobility for multinational companies and provide a mechanism for them to move key personnel to the U.S.
To be eligible for an L visa, the employee must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year, must currently be working for the foreign company in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity, and must be transferring to a U.S. location to perform similar duties. The U.S. employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company, such as a parent-subsidiary relationship, branch or affiliate office, or common ownership or control.
The L visa can be valid for up to three years for individuals coming to the U.S. to establish a new office and up to five years for all other L visas. L visa holders may apply for extensions and bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old to the U.S. as dependents.
Overall, the L visa provides multinational companies with the flexibility to relocate their employees to the U.S. and transfer their skills, knowledge, and experience to their U.S. operations.
9. EB-1 Visa
The EB-1 visa is an immigrant visa category that allows individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have achieved international recognition in their field, to become lawful permanent residents of the U.S. without the need for a job offer or labor certification.
This category also includes multinational managers and executives who have been employed abroad for at least one of the past three years by a qualifying multinational company. The standards for eligibility are high and require extensive documentation to prove extraordinary ability and international recognition.
Remember, it is important to consult an attorney to determine your eligibility and get a full understanding of which categories are best suited for you. You can call us at 202-618-4307 to speak with one of our expert attorneys about business immigration needs or contact us here.