What is a U.S. Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
U.S. Visa Types
These are visitor visas for travelers coming to the United States for business (B-1), tourism/vacation (B-2) or a combination of both.
This visa is for students coming to the United States to attend grade school, college, seminary or other types of academic institutions.
Issued to participants in private sector cultural exchange programs. Cultural exchange categories include scholars, interns, teachers, seasonal workers, au pairs and professional trainees.
This visa is a combination crew member/transit visa issued to employees of airlines and cruise ships whose jobs involve continuous travel in and out of the United States. The C-1 visa is a transit visa, while the D visa is for crew members. Both visas are required for workers who come from other countries to work on a United States-based ship or aircraft.
- H-1B Specialty Workers Visa
This visa is for specialty workers, highly skilled professionals in fields including engineering, technology, medicine and higher education.
- H-1C Nurse Work Visa
The H-1C Visa program allows foreign nurses to work in the United States for a maximum of three years in a health professional field where there is a labor shortage.
- H-2 Temporary or Seasonal Work Visa
The H-2 Visa allows employers to bring temporary workers to the United States to fill a job opening for a specified time period up to one continuous year. The employment must be a one-time need based opening due to a labor shortage in the United States, or be fulfilling a temporary or cyclical need. In order to obtain H-2 Visa, the employer must obtain a Temporary Labor Certificate from the United States Department of Labor asserting that no American workers will be displaced by the hiring of foreign nationals, and that the foreign national will be paid the prevailing wage for American workers in the same position.
- H-3 Professional Training Visa
Companies that have training programs to educate individuals in a specific industry are able to sponsor foreign participants by obtaining the H-3 Visa. The H-3 visa allows foreign nationals to temporarily live in the United States for a specified period of time (the duration of their training) in order to train with a U.S.-based company in various occupations including commerce, agriculture, finance, government and business. It is important to note that individuals receiving medical training are not eligible for this Visa program.
- TN – NAFTA treaty visas for citizens of Mexico and Canada
Obtaining a temporary work visa is often simpler for some Mexican and Canadian professionals. If you are seeking to bring a Mexican or a Canadian professional to work with your organization, you need to make them a job offer and seek a TN visa.
- Religious workers – R-1
Many types of religious workers, their spouses and their children can take advantage of R-1 visa opportunities. Both the religious worker as well as the religious organization hiring the religious worker are required to provide documentation of credentials and legitimate religious affiliations.
- L-1 Multinational Corporation Employee
The L-1 visa is a visa option for inter-company transfers between a non U.S. company and its parent, child or sister company within the United States. L-1 visas are often used by companies to expand operations into the United States by sending experienced managers and other executives to oversee the expansion.
- E-3 for Australian professionals
E-3 visas are available to Australian professionals in specialty occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree and theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in their fields. E-3 visas also require legitimate offers of employment to fill positions that qualify as specialty occupations, as well as possession of adequate credentials.
- O-1 Extraordinary Ability Work Visa
Businesses may hire foreign employees with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” to come work temporarily in the United States. A genetic engineer who has written extensively on modified food or an Olympic athlete who has won multiple medals in their respective sport are examples of qualified applicants for the O-1 Visa. In order to qualify for this visa program, the foreign national must prove their high level of expertise in a given field by winning an internationally-recognized award, such as the Noble Prize, or by meeting three of the following criteria to prove extraordinary ability.
- Professional publications written by others documenting the individuals work in a particular field.
- Evidence of the foreign national’s participation as a judge on the work of others within their field of specialty.
- Membership in an association in the field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement for membership.
- Evidence of the foreign national’s original significant contribution in their respective field.
- Evidence of the foreign worker’s authorship of articles in the field published in major media or professional journals.
- Evidence of past employment with distinguished organizations or establishments which serve as an authority in the field of endeavor.
- Evidence of high salary for services in relation to other peers in the field.
- The O-1 Visa is granted for an initial stay of three years; however, the Visa may be extended in one year increments for the duration of the foreign employee’s work in the United States. Unlike most of the temporary nonimmigrant visas, there is no maximum length of stay in the U.S. for holders of the O-1 Visa. Our attorneys can assist you in obtaining an advisory opinion to prove eligibility and in the preparation of the O-1 petition and supporting documentation.