US Work Visa


irish-passportThe US Work Visa application process is complex and time consuming. Temporary workers who do not have a college degree will find it difficult to obtain a US Work visa. There are many work visa classifications each with specific qualifications, time limits and required documentation. The non-immigrant work visa options are available online.

Types of Visas: The Temporary Work Visa, the H visa, is for professional and highly skilled workers. This visa allows the individual to work in a specific field that lack enough qualified workers. The L-1 visa is for employees that are transferring from one office in one country to work at a different office owned by the same company in the United States. Individuals employed in the trade and investment field in a country that the US has a treaty with will need an E-1 or E-2 work visa. In all cases, the employer must file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS.) Before the individual can apply for a work visa, the employer's application must be approved. Non-immigrant work permits are difficult to obtain and are limited in number. A lottery is held annually granting only 50,000 unskilled worker visas.

Family: If you have qualified for a work visa you may be eligible to bring your spouse and children under the age of 21 with you during your stay in the U.S. The I-797 A or B application needs to be filled out and submitted to USCIS. If your family plans to remain in your home country, you can apply for a visitor visa; submit form B-2. Occasionally families of foreign nationals employed in the U.S. qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. Contact USCIS before you file any family visa applications to ensure you have the correct form.

Length of Stay: Employed foreigners are only allowed to work in the United States for the time listed on their work visa. Many work visas allow for extensions. Depending on the type of visa, stays can be limited to ranges of one year to seven years. Entertainers and athletes are usually not permitted to remain in the U.S. longer than one year. While skilled professionals like nurses and doctors can extend their work visa for up to seven years. Educational work visas that allow employees of companies with offices overseas are usually limited to two years.

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Special Consideration: Australian, Canadian and Mexican nationals have special work visa programs. There are 10,500 visas available for Australian citizens who work in a highly trained profession. The NAFTA Trade Agreement provides highly skilled professionals of Canada and Mexico opportunities to work in the U.S. Prior to seeking employment in the U.S. these workers must meet all the eligibility requirements.

Visa Applications and Assistance: Work visas are difficult to obtain. The applications vary, and sometimes you need more than one type of work visa application. The USCIS has booklets and pamphlets available at their web site. Before you or your employer, begin the work visa application process visit the web site. Contact information is available if you are unsure how to proceed. If time is a factor, or if you don't feel like you understand the intricacies of the work visa application process, there is help available. These private companies, for a fee, will assist you in choosing the correct application, filing forms and provide guidance during the application approval process.

The process for obtaining a US work visa may be daunting, but with a little effort, you could find yourself coming to the United States to work.

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