Work Visas allow employees who are not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Residents (Green Card) to work in the United States for an extended period of time. Due to the increased demand in people applying for work visas there has been a cap on the amount of Work Visas which will be approved each year. There are several types of Employment Visas which a person may apply for:
The most common non-immigrant visa is the B-1 Visa. This is offered to temporary visitors for business.
The H-1B Visa is issued to skilled foreign workers and is applied for by the United States employer on behalf of the applicant. The Visa is valid for 3 years, however it can be extended up to 6 years if the applicant is still employed by the sponsoring employer. To be eligible for an H-1B Visa, the applicant must have a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field or the equivalent of 12 years of relevant experience.
The H-2A Visa is a seasonal agricultural visa, offered to foreign agricultural workers seeking to work in the United States on a temporary basis. Typically, the H-2A Visa expires after 364 days.
The H-2B Visa is issued to temporary or seasonal non-agricultural workers. The H-2B Visa has been extremely beneficial to employers which experience a significant changes in their need for employees from one portion of the year to the next. Some examples of H-2B Visa positions include servers, bussers, front desk/concierge employees, chefs, golf and ski instructors, and ski lift operators.
The J-1 Visa is part of the Exchange Visitor Program, and its purpose is to increase mutual understanding between the people in the United States and the people of other countries through cultural and educational exchanges. The J-1 Visa is administered by the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation in the Bureaus of Education and Cultural Affairs. To obtain a J-1 Visa you must be sponsored by a designated public or private exchange sponsor. There are several categories in which you an exchange visitor may participate in such as:
- Au Pair
- Government Visitor
- Professor or Research Scholar
- Specialist (maximum duration is one year)
- Summer work/travel
Trainee (maximum duration of participation is 18 months, except for agriculture programs – 12 months, and hospitality training program- 12 months- hospitality programs must also have three departmental rotations for training programs lasting longer than 6 months.
The L-1 Visa is for workers who are considered a Intracompany transferee. An intracompany transferee is generally an executive, manager, or specialized personnel continuing employment with international firm or corporation in the United States.
The O-1 Visa is issued to a person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The O-1 Visa is initially granted up to 3 years, and may be extended for 1 year at a time. There is no limit to the amount of extensions which may be granted. To qualify for an O-1 Visa an applicant must supply documents showing that he or she is has sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in their respective field.
A P-1 Visa is granted to alien athletes, artists, and entertainers. In order to obtain a P-1 Visa the applicant must demonstrate international recognition. To establish “international recognition,” a petitioner may rely either on documentation of a major, one-time achievement by the group, such as the nomination for, or receipt of, a significant international award or prize, or at least three of the following:
- Has and will perform as leading/starring group in productions/events with distinguished reputations;
- International recognition/acclaim for outstanding achievements;
- Has and will perform as leading/starring group for organizations with distinguished reputations;
- Record of major commercial/critically acclaimed success;
- Significant recognition from organizations, critics, governments, other recognized experts;
- Commanded/will command high salary/other substantial remuneration relative to others similarly situated.