If you’re a citizen from a foreign country, and you are interested in working in United States, you’re going to need to know how to apply for a work visa. Generally, these visas fall into two categories: temporary worker visas (you’re here for a fixed period of time, then return home), and permanent work visas (you plan to live and work here indefinitely). Regardless of the type, your employer must first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS). An approved petition for a specific visa category is the very step in the process for how to apply for a work visa.
How To Apply For A Work Visa : Worker Categories
There are a number of different categories under which your visa might qualify. We’ve gone ahead and laid them all out below:
H-1B Work Visa: Person in specialty occupation Requires work in a specialty occupation, and an advanced degree or significant standing in the industry. Government research, international executives, business executives and the occasional high-end fashion model (Heidi Klum and Giselle: we’re looking at you).
H-1B1 Work Visa: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) professional You work in a specialty occupation requiring a post-secondary degree at a minimum. You also likely have four years of study specific to your field of specialization. (Note: not a petition-based visa; for details, check out the U.S. Embassy websites for Singapore and Chile).
H-2A Work Visa: Temporary agricultural worker For individuals specializing in temporary/seasonal agricultural work, from specific designated countries. Must be considered to be in the U.S. interest.
H-2B Work Visa: Temporary non-agricultural worker For individuals specializing in temporary/seasonal non-agricultural work, from specific designated countries. Must be considered to be in the U.S. interest.
H-3 Work Visa: Trainee or special education visitor For individuals receiving training other than graduate-level medical or academic, not otherwise available in the individual’s home country. Also includes practical training for the education of children with physical, mental or emotional disabilities.
I Work Visa: Intra-company transferee If you work at a company’s offices overseas, and you are in a position requiring unique or specialized knowledge, and you have worked at the company continuously for a minimum of one year, this might apply to you.
O Work Visa: Individual with extraordinary ability or achievement For people with extraordinary ability, achievements or other notoriety in education, the arts, business, athletics, and so forth. Also applies to individuals employed in assisting the “extraordinary” individual. Think film stars like Sir Ben Kingsley, or soccer studs like David Beckham.
P-1 Work Visa: Individual or team athlete, member of an entertainment group To perform at a specific athletic competition or concert performance. Must be internationally recognized. Also includes support staff. Think traveling Cirque de Soleil shows.
P-2 Work Visa: Artist or entertainer Performance under a reciprocal exchange program between the U.S. and another country. Goodwill soccer matches fall into this category.
P-3 Work Visa: Artist or entertainer To perform, teach, or coach a culturally unique or ethnically traditional performance of presentation. Can range from musical to theatrical to artistic, and includes support staff required to assist the artist or entertainer.
Q-1 Work Visa: Participant in an international cultural exchange program Applies to the practical training and employment required for sharing history, culture and traditions of your home country through international exchange.
How To Apply For A Work Visa : After Petitioning, What’s Next?
Once the USCIS approves your I-129 form (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker Status), you may then apply for a visa. The visa application itself can vary by country and may be dependent on the Consulate or Embassy receiving your application. You can check the specific instructions regarding their process through their website.
To complete the application, the items you need are a Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) and a photo meeting the requirements outlined during the application process. You’ll then schedule an interview and pay a fee.
For the interview you will need all of your required documents, which include papers proving your offer of employment and so forth. You’ll then attend your interview at the scheduled time. From there, it’s just a question of approval timelines and processing.
How To Apply For A Work Visa : Apply Right the First Time
Still have questions about how to apply for a work visa? You don’t have to find answers about how to apply for a work visa on your own; contact the Lee Law Firm now, and get help.