Types of U.S. Work Visa For Foreign Nationals
In today’s blog, we will be informing you about the different categories of U.S work visas you should know about.
The United States has been a destination for economic opportunity for a long time. Immigrants have a significant history of being contributors and creators in American business. Immigrants have been involved in the development of the U.S, have laboured in factories and fields, and have also built some of the biggest U.S. businesses. There are various types of U.S. work visas and immigration statuses that may give employment privileges in the United States. However, the regulations for each can be different.
This is no complete list of all the prospects, but we’ve made a list of some of the more popular U.S. work visa types.
Immigrant Visas – Permanent Employment-Based Immigration
Immigrant visas, also commonly known as green cards, are held by permanent residents. There are some limitations on employment for permanent residents. Except for employment designated for only U.S. citizens, green card bearers can usually work for any employer and change employers according to their will. Proof of authorization for employment is the green card.
Immigrant visas always include permission to work. Hence, anyone provided a green card has many options for employment. There are specific green cards provided for employment reasons. That is, the kind of employment determines the eligibility of the candidate for a green card. Usually, employment-based green cards require an employer to be a sponsor. These types include the following:
EB-1: Priority Workers
The first preference EB-1 category is for priority workers. It’s divided into three categories specifically reserved for people of extraordinary ability (EB-1A), researchers and exceptional professors (EB-1B), and multinational managers and executives (EB-1C). Mostly, a U.S. employer should make an offer for permanent employment and apply for an employment-based petition. But, self-sponsorship, depending on qualifications, is available in the EB-1A extraordinary ability class. There is a yearly threshold of 40,000 EB-1 visas, however, applicants can be limited by their country’s limits.
EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability
The second preference EB-2 category is for members of occupations having an advanced degree or its equal or a foreign national who has extraordinary skills in the science, business or arts. Commonly, EB-2 visas require certification for approved individual labour from the Department of Labor. But, specific foreign nationals may be eligible for a National Interest Waiver. National Interest Waivers are usually provided to those who have extraordinary skills and whose employment in the United States would be beneficial to the nation.
EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers
The third preference EB-3 type is for skilled workers with a minimum of two years of experience or training, specialists with college degrees, or other workers for unskilled labor that is not seasonal or temporary. Although there is a less strict set of conditions that comes with an EB-3 visa, there is also a longer backlog
All cases in the employment-based, third preference (EB-3) and most cases in the second preference (EB-2) type need an employment sponsorship and approval of a Permanent Labor certificate.
The permanent labor certification program, commonly known as PERM, confirms that there are lack of sufficient willing, qualified, able and available U.S. workers to accept that job in that specific field and that employing a foreign worker will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The fulfillment of these conditions allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. In most cases, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the employer must attain a certified labor certification application from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Non-immigrant Work Visas – Temporary Employment-Based Visas
There are also different types of non-immigrant visas created for the purposes of employment. These U.S. work visas give authorization for temporary work and are not linked to permanent residency. Usually, there are some restrictions put on this type of employment, specific employers, and the period of time one can be employed for. Proof of authorization for employment is the visa.
Non-immigrant U.S. work visas are visas that provide a foreign national with the access to temporarily visit the United States. A foreign national who enters the U.S. in non-immigrant status is limited to the reason or activity for which they were permitted to enter and once that purpose is fulfilled or the approved stay expires, the foreign national must leave the United States. For instance, a B-2 visitor is allowed to visit for touring and pleasure purposes. A B-2 is not permitted to enroll in a university and become a student. An F-1 student visa and some other types of visas are for this purpose. The same applies to the employment visas:
E-1/E-2 Visa: Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor
The E-1 visa permits foreign nationals of specific countries to come to the United States for international trade reasons. On the other hand, certain persons may be eligible for an E-2 visa as a Treaty Investor. Candidates should be a national of a country that has sustained a trade treaty with the U.S. and should make it clear that they’re coming to the U.S on the basis of that treaty, to carry on substantial trade. For the investors of the Treaty, the investment must be significant in a real operating enterprise that has a generous economic impact on the U.S. A large investment in an inactive bank account will not fulfill the condition.
H-1B Visa – Professional Workers in a Specialty Occupation
The H-1B is a U.S. work visa that is high in demand. The candidate must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer, and the job designation must be in a specialty profession. Usually, this means that a bachelor’s degree or higher is essential for this job. The U.S. employer must financially support the foreign national for the H-1B visa by filing for an I-129 Petition with USCIS and submitting an application for a labor condition. Therefore, H-1B visas are connected to a specific employer, and usually, H-1B visa bearers can’t transfer employees. There are a specific number of H-1B visas granted each year. Because of the high demand for H-1B work visas, many companies employ an experienced immigration law firm to maneuver the complicated process. This U.S. work visa can be extended for up to six years.
L-1 Visa – Temporary Intra/Intercompany Transferee
The L-1 work visa is usually used by big companies to bring managers, employees, or executives with expert knowledge from a branch in a different country to the United States. The L-1 visa bearer may be a temporary transfer to the U.S. branch of the company or may have been sent for establishing a presence in the U.S. Moreover, the L-1 employee should have worked for the foreign employer for one year continuously in the past three years immediately leading up to the entry into the United States. The L-1 U.S. work visa is broken down into L-1A (managerial/executive capacity) and L-1B (specialized knowledge) visas. Additionally, nonprofit, religious, charitable organizations, and for-profit multinational companies may use the L-1 type of work visa. Organizations that often use the L-1 employees can file a blanket petition that allows them to get approval from USCIS only once for the transferring of multiple managerial, executive, and professional employees. Employees are granted an L-1 visa for an initial period of three years that can be extended up to a maximum of seven years.
O-1 Visa – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
The O-1 is a type of U.S. work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals with specific extraordinary skills. The O-1A visa includes persons with exceptional skills in the sciences, education, business, or athletics and the O-1B visa includes persons with exceptional skills in the arts or exceptional achievement in the motion picture or television industry. O-1 visa bearers are provided an early period of stay of up to three years that can be extended in a one-year increase in some cases.
TN Visa – NAFTA TN Professional
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created the TN visa. The TN visa is accessible to eligible nationals of Mexico and Canada for working for a U.S. employer. However, there are certain requirements for eligibility. This U.S. work visa type is only accessible to specific occupations. The list includes a variety of professions including architects, accountants, engineers, designers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers. Usually, the visa candidate should possess a Bachelor’s degree or higher to be viewed as a professional in the TN class. TN professionals are given an early period of stay of three years with the possibility of extensions of stay for a further three years.
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