How to Get a Work Visa in the United States
There are plenty of great reasons to seek employment in the United States. And the United States certainly needs foreign workers. For example, the US recently announced it will be offering 300,000 temporary work visas for Mexicans and Central Americans.
Employers are fast-straining the caps for H-2B visas, the temporary nonagricultural worker visas.
All the same, getting a work visa is not easy. There are multiple visa types. Each type comes with its own requirements.
The types of visa are:
- The E-class visas, which is an employment based category that offers a path to a green card.
- Exchange visas, which allow you to work in specified programs for a predetermined period of time while a United States citizen takes advantage of a similar program in another country.
- Business visitor visas which cover individuals who are attending conferences, seeking investors, making sales calls, opening up branch offices, or handling other legitimate business needs.
- Temporary work visas meant to fill specific job openings, primarily in agriculture, where temporary work is a normal part of doing business, or within specialty applications where there are shortages, or to fill seasonal positions.
- Intra-company transfer visas for companies that have branches, subsidiaries, affiliates, or joint venture partnerships in the United States. This allows companies to transfer their employees to and from American offices with ease.
- Foreign press visas which are indefinite visas for reporters, film crews, and others who are involved with the media; they are indefinite as long as you work the same job for the same company.
In every case, the firs step is to receive a job offer from a US employer. There is no need to seek the visa until you have the offer in hand. In addition, most employers will help cover some of the costs of obtaining the visa. These employers already had to go through their own process to show they are eligible to hire foreign employees or otherwise meet the requirements to bring a foreign employee into the United States.
You will then fill out the appropriate documents and send the appropriate evidence. In some cases your employer must fill out a petition as well.
The amount of evidence you will need depends on the visa you’re trying to get. For example, if you are trying to secure an EB-1 visa then you will need evidence of your extraordinary ability in business, academics, STEM, or the arts.
Knowing which form to use, which program to target, what evidence to include, and how much evidence to include is rarely straightforward. In addition, you will need the appropriate visas for your family members. The most successful applicants for work-based visas work closely with immigration attorneys who can help keep the process running smoothly while addressing issues early and ensuring no mistakes are made.
Indeed, putting yourself in touch with an immigration attorney is wise, even before you begin your job search.
Need help? Reach out to our office today.
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