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Work Visa

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us-passport4Citizens of other countries will need a work visa if they wish to be work in the United States on a temporary basis. The U.S. values the skills and diversity of workers from other countries, but has strict requirements that all applicants must meet before being issued a work visa. It's important to start the application process well in advance as they are carefully reviewed and approval can take several months.

The Immigration and Nationality Act covers various classifications of employment visas based on the type of work and the reason for your visit. These categories are H, L, O, P and Q, with levels within each. For example, H-1C classification visas are for applicants who are foreign nurses and will be working in the nursing field in areas of the U.S., which are in need of nursing services. O-1 classification covers persons with extraordinary artistic, scientific, educational and motion picture or television skills. P-1 work visas are for team or individual athletes.

The employer who wishes to hire a non-US citizen for temporary work must take the first step in the visa process. The employer must first apply for a labor certification approval from the U.S. Department of Labor. Once approved, they must file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security.

Once these requirements are met, applicants may apply for a temporary work visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that serves the area they currently live in. All applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must undergo an interview at the consular section of the embassy. In order to schedule an appointment, applicants must have the receipt number printed on their approved Form I-129 petition.

When reporting for an interview, each applicant must present a completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application; Form DS-156 dated March 2006. Some embassies require the new DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application instead of the DS-156. Male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 years old must also submit Form DS-157, called the Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

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All applicants must have a valid passport that will not expire within six months of the date of entry to the U.S. A nonimmigrant visa photograph is also required and must meet the same standards at a photograph for a passport. This photograph must be no more than six months old and must be glued or stapled to the DS-156 form.

The processing fee for a nonimmigrant visa is currently $131.00. This fee must be paid in advance and a receipt brought to the visa interview. There may also be a visa issuance fee based on what other countries charge to issue visas to U.S. citizens. A current list of applicable countries is posted on the U.S. Department of State web site. A work visa is a necessary and valuable document, worth the time and effort, for those who wish to work in the United States,

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