Different Types of U.S. Work Visas


Living in the United States opens many opportunities for all kinds of people, and many foreign nationals desire to work in the U.S. because of these opportunities. Jobs in the U.S. for foreigners are usually temporary at the beginning, but work opportunities in the U.S. can sometimes lead to getting a permanent residency status or green card.

In this article, we’ll try to provide an overview of a few of the different types of work visas that are commonly used. We’ll give a summary of both immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas to help with your decision.

Nonimmigrant Visas

U.S. Work VisasNon-immigrant visas are used by foreign nationals who are planning to enter the United States temporarily – for medical treatment, tourism, temporary work, study, business, or other similar reasons. If you entered the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, you’ll have to leave the country on the date that your visa expires, or apply for a visa extension. Consulting with Durham immigration attorneys will be helpful in knowing which option will best work for your situation.

Under this visa classification, there are different types of temporary work visas:

  • H-1B. To be eligible for an H-1B visa, a foreign national must have a job offer in a specialty occupation from an employer in the U.S. A high education degree or its equivalent is required, and a U.S. employer must file an I-129 petition form at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS office to sponsor your H-1B visa.
  • O-1. The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the field of science, education, arts, athletics, business, or extraordinary achievements in the fields of television and motion pictures, as demonstrated by national or international acclaims, who are planning to pursue a career in their field of expertise. This visa could include foreign individuals who will provide support and essential services for the O-1 visa holder.
  • L-1. This visa is for foreign employees who work at a branch, parent, or affiliate of the company in a managerial or executive position (L-1A visa) or a position requiring specialized knowledge (L-1B visa). To qualify, the employee must have been employed by the same employer abroad for at least 1 year within the three preceding years before being transferred to a U.S. company branch. 
  • E-1. The E-1 visa is reserved for foreign individuals from certain countries who will act as treaty traders to conduct trade activities in the U.S. Qualifications for an E-1 classification include: being a national of a country that maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or maintains an international agreement with the U.S. Employees and family members of such individuals may also apply for a visa with an E-1 nonimmigrant classification.

Immigrant Visas

Individuals who come to the United States with an immigrant visa will immediately get a green card and receive permanent resident status upon entry into the U.S.

Below are some of the immigrant permanent employment work visas which you can apply for to be able to work and live in the U.S. with no limit for how long you’ll stay. Foreign nationals who are already in the U.S. can also apply for these visas; they just have to apply for an adjustment of status at the USCIS office to become a permanent resident. 

  • EB-1. If you’re an alien with extraordinary ability, an outstanding professor and researcher, or a multinational executive or manager, then the first preference EB-1 visa is for you. You can apply for a green card under this classification so long as you’ll go to the U.S. to pursue a career in your field of expertise. 

Persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, business, or education must show documentation proving their sustained national or international acclaim in their field of expertise. No job offer is needed when they apply for a visa and they can just file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or Form I-140 at the USCIS office.

Professors and researchers must have at least three years’ worth of experience in teaching or research, and they must be recognized internationally. 

As for multinational executives or managers, they must meet the same criteria as the one for an L1-A visa.

  • EB-2.

The second preference EB-2 visa is for professionals holding advanced degrees or professionals possessing exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. To qualify, the applicant must have a labor certification that has been approved by the Department of Labor. A job offer is required, and a U.S. employer must petition for the applicant. An applicant may apply for a National Interest Waiver or NIW to be exempted from these requirements as long as the exemption would be for the country’s national interest.

Planning to get a visa? Our Durham Immigration Attorneys Can Help

Here at Diener Law, we have an immigration attorney who can help you with your visa application and immigration process.

Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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LA VERDAD SOBRE LOS INMIGRANTES Y LA LEY

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LA VERDAD SOBRE LOS INMIGRANTES Y LA LEY

truth about immigrants and the law

Lecciones aprendidas ayudando a más de 50,000 inmigrantes en todo el país.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT IMMIGRANTS & THE LAW

truth about immigrants and the law

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THE TRUTH ABOUT IMMIGRANTS & THE LAW

truth about immigrants and the law

Lessons learned helping over 50,000 immigrants nationwide.

THE TRUTH ABOUT IMMIGRANTS & THE LAW

truth about immigrants and the law

Lessons learned helping over 50,000 immigrants nationwide.

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