The United States of America is well known for its lucrative work opportunities to both its citizens and for internationals or foreigners because work opportunities are open to both the skilled and unskilled workers. The working conditions in the US are favorable making all income earners be able to live above the poverty line and because the minimum income is high it reduces the gap between the rich and the poor.
The US is also known too for its touristic sites and causes people to request for the US visa a whole lot. If you decide to move to the US for work purposes you have to consider doing that as a temporal employee or as a sponsored/permanent employee.
As a temporal employee you would need a US non-immigrant visa and if you decide to move as permanent employee you would need an immigrant visa.
We are going to cover all that you need to understand about getting a US Work Visa as a temporary employee.
What is the US Work Visa?
The United States of America’s work visa is the type of visa granted to people who want to go and work in the US. The period of time is specified and is to be mentioned in the employment contract or when applying for the visa because the visa does not allow an individual to work in the US permanently. To be able to get a US Work visa applicants need to match the criteria provided in the list of US Visa Requirements and further present the document at the US Embassy.
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US Work Visa Types: Types of US Work Visas and Categories
There are many different types of US Work visas, but it also depends on the purpose and the kind of work to be done. Below is a list of all the different types of Work Visas for the USA.
H-1B Visa (Individual in Specialty Occupation)
To acquire this kind of visa you need a higher education degree or any equivalent. People who qualify for this visa type Include models of distinguished merit and ability, government-to-government research and development, co-production projects administered by the department of defense.
: All you need to Know about the H1B Visa
H-1B1 Visa (Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional- Chile and Singapore)
This kind of visa requires a post-secondary degree which involves at least four years of study in the field of specialization and equally not a petition-based visa.
H-2A Visa (Temporary Agricultural Worker)
This visa type is for seasonal or temporary agricultural work which is in the interest of the United States. The temporary agricultural worker Visa is only for citizens of some particular countries with limited exceptions.
H-2B Visa (Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker)
This visa type is for seasonal or temporary non-agricultural work which is in the interest of the United States. The temporary agricultural worker Visa is only for citizens of some particular countries with limited exceptions.
H-3 Visa (Trainee or Special Education visitor)
This is for individuals who want to receive training which is different from the field of medicine or any other academic training which is not available in the individual’s country. This can be training in the education of kids with mental, emotional or physical disabilities.
I Visa (Representatives of foreign media)
This visa type is for journalists and any individual who works in the information and media sector, this visa would assist them to complete their work in the US.
L1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee)
This kind of work visa is for people transferred to work at a branch, affiliate, and parent company in a managerial position or a position which requires specialized expert knowledge. To acquire this position the individual should have worked with the same company for at least a year before the transfer is made.
P-1 Visa (Individual or Team Athlete or Members of Entertainment Groups)
This could be to perform at an athletic or any other competition you would be required to be recognized internationally for your performance same as the people providing assistance to this group of people.
P-2 Visa (Visa For Artist or Entertainer)
This kind of visa could involve an individual or a group of people exchanging programs between the United States and other countries and includes individuals or groups assisting or rendering services to these people.
P-3 Visa: Visa For Artists or entertainers)
This kind of visa is gotten when you need to perform, coach a program that involves culture, art, tradition which could be unique and this is the visa that is also granted to the individuals or groups assisting or rendering services to these people.
R-1 Visa (Temporary Nonimmigrant religious workers)
This visa is to assist foreign religious workers to come to the US and work in religious organizations. Only people directly tied to religious work are qualified for this kind of visa.
TN Visa (NAFTA Workers)
This kind of visa is granted only to scientists, engineers, teachers from Canada who want to work in the US temporarily.
This kind of visa is for people who are experts in business, art, education, science and have been internationally recognized for their work.
How To Get A US Work Visa: US Work Visa Requirements
There are conditions to be met by anybody interested in obtaining a US work visa, and these conditions are to be met before visa application, you stand a high chance of having a visa rejection if you don’t meet any of these criteria. The conditions are as follows:
Get a job offer in the US
The first thing you need is to apply for a job in the US and should be hired for that job, because the information concerning the job would be needed at the Embassy to process your work visa.
Approved petition by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Before you apply for a US work visa, your employer must file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS. It is also known as an I-129 form and it is the most important document as concerns you getting a work visa. You can start applying for your visa when the USCIS approves your employer’s petition. And in case your petition is approved, that does not guarantee that the U.S Embassy will automatically give you a work visa. There are reasons best known to the Embassy, why you could be denied the work visa even if your USCIS petition is approved.
You Need a Labor Certification Approval By The Department Of Labor (DOL)
Some work visas such as the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, and H-2B requires the person or company employing you to have a certification from the Department of Labor. The person or organization employing you will have to apply for a Labor Certification Approval at the DOL on your behalf right even before they file the petition with the USCIS. The government of the United States requires it as proof that these US employers actually need foreign workers. This is also to prove that the position you are going to be occupying cannot be filled by US employees. Also, it has to show that foreign workers are not having an impact or hindering job opportunities for US citizens.
US Work Visa Requirements
Upon meeting up with the aforementioned conditions, you will also need to have these documents stated below:
- A confirmation page that you have completed your Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160 Form).
- The Receipt Number, which you can find on your approved Petition for a nonimmigrant worker (I-129 Form) which your employer filed.
- A Valid passport which needs to be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the U.S and an additional six months after you return
- US visa photo which you need to upload when you fill out the online application form.
- The receipt that proves that you have paid the application fee. For US work visas, the application fee is $190. There might also be additional fees that apply to your location, so you should check with your local U.S Embassy about more details.
- Evidence of return to your home country after you are done with your work in the U.S. This applies to all types of work visas with the except for the case of the H-1B and the L visa. Below are some ways by which you can prove you will return from the U.S and they include the following:
- Submitting your economic situation
- Your family relationships in your home country
- Any long term plans you might have
- The residence that you plan on returning to
- For those applying for an L Visa, you will also need to have a filled I-129S form (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition). You should bring this form with you when you have your visa interview.
Apart from the aforementioned documents, there might also be other documents which you would need to submit, but this would depend on the Embassy and the visa application in question.
US Work Visa Application Procedures
Once you have fulfilled the three prequalifying conditions listed above and gathered all the necessary required documents, then you can qualify to start your application for the U.S work visa. The way you can apply is by completing the following listed steps:
Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160 Form) :
You have to fill the form with adequate and truthful information because submitting any incorrect information would give the Embassy enough reasons to deny you the visa. The DS-160 form is available in many languages, but must be filled must be in English.
[Read Also]: Guide on how to properly fill the DS-160 Form Online
Schedule your Appointment interview
There are always many people at every point in time seeking US visas from the Embassy, so it is advisable for you to schedule your interview as soon as you have met all the requirements for your visa. A visa interview is generally not required for kids who are 13 years old and below and elders 80 years old and above. But people between the ages of 14 and 79, interviews are compulsory. But when renewing your visa there can be exceptions.
Show up for the interview
Present yourself at the interview in person because the information on the DS-160 form will serve as a guide for the decision to be taken by the U.S Embassy on whether you should be given a visa or not. So it is highly important that you show up to the interview on time, dressed appropriately, and with all the required documents. In addition, you should answer all the questions as fully as possible, always giving true information. Visa interviewers are trained to detect when someone is falsifying information, so if you do that, you will get your visa application rejected.
Complete additional procedures
You will have to provide your digital fingerprints before, during, or after your interview depending on your location, then later pay any additional fees if required. After the visa processing, you might also be required to pay a visa issuance fee if the U.S Embassy grants you the work visa, and this amount of the visa issuance fee is determined based on your country of origin
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Your Rights and Responsibilities
All temporary workers in the U.S have a set of rights granted by the US government. They are protected from being violated and exploited, and can exercise these rights without being penalized by any. If a US resident violates your rights and you have them report it, your visa will not be terminated and also, the government cannot force you to return to your home country if your visa still has not yet expired, only as a result of you reporting those violations.
If the inspectors of Homeland Security and other departments of law allow you to enter, stay and work in the U.S, you have every right to apply to extend your stay by renewing your visa. However, once your visa expires, you cannot stay in the US and you have to move back to your home country unless the Embassy extends your visa. If you stay when your work visa is expired, you may lose eligibility to apply for another visa in the future.
Holders of the US Work Visa also have the right to apply for a visa for their relatives such as spouses or children in the same visa category that they have.
- For H visa holders: your spouse and children should apply for an H-4 visa
- For L visa holders: your dependents should apply for an L-2 visa,
- For O visa holders, spouse and children should apply for an O-3 visa,
- For P visa holders: spouse and children should apply for a P-4 visa, and
- For Q visa holders: spouse and children should apply for a Q-3 visa
Labour Conditions Application
The Labour Conditions Application (LCA) or Certifications are issued by the US Department of Labor to companies that plan to hire foreign workers. The LCA gives the company the right to hire workers who are not citizens of the US and also not Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) and sponsor their work visas.
The LCA ensures that the company needs to hire foreign workers only if US workers are not available, qualified, or willing to work in that job position. Also, it states that the foreign employees’ salary will be the same as that of a US worker and also ensures that the foreign employee is protected and won’t face discrimination or a bad work environment.
An employment petition is the type of petition which is submitted by a US company that wants to sponsor a foreign employee for a work visa. It is submitted to the USCIS for processing and carries details of the job position, salary, and qualifications of the foreign employee.
When the employment petition is submitted by the US employer, the employer must also pay the processing fees and also sponsoring the employee. Also, the employee must attach supporting documents that act as evidence that the company is capable of hiring foreign workers, also be able to prove that all their taxes have been paid, and obtained a Labor Certification Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.
Employment Authorization Document
Individuals who have been given the U.S nonimmigrant visas cannot start working in the US unless they have been granted a work permit. To be able to start working, you need to be granted a work permit which is also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and you can obtain this immediately after your US Work Visa has been approved.
The Employment Authorization Document lets you legally work in any US firm or company as long as your visa is valid and has not expired. Spouses of holders of US Work Visas can also acquire the EAD if they qualify. Once your visa expires and you have to extend or renew it, you’d also be required to renew the Employment Authorization Document.
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