Types of US Work Visas and Requirements

By hrlineup | 30.01.2020

The US has often presented itself as the land of dreams. It is not just for observation of human rights and liberties, but as well as the various opportunities the country offers. Thus, many workers seek greener pasture in the county.  Its immigration system acknowledges this fact and provides diverse visa opportunities to cater to various types of people, whether they are workers or employers.

A visa is an endorsement granting your entry or stay in a foreign jurisdiction. If you’ve obtained a work visa, it means you are eligible for admission to the country for work.

Do you seek to live and work in the US? Well, you must know how the USA work permit requirements and the nitty-gritty involved in hiring foreign nationals. But first, you need to know which category of foreign national you fall as it will determine the visa you get. Take a look at some of the most common US work visa types:

1. Special Occupation Visa – H-1B

H-b1 is a US short term work visa for specialized educated professionals such as doctors, engineers, and professors. It is the most common type of US visa, so the country caps it a year a total of 85,000 successful requests. Out of these slots, the state reserves 20,000 for master’s degree holders

2. Non-Specialized Occupation Visa – H-2B

H-2B visa permits foreign nationals to perform temporary nonagricultural services or provide labor on a peak-load, seasonal, intermittent or one-time basis. Such jobs include those working in hotels, amusement parks, beach resorts etc. The opportunities are limited to the available job opportunities but capped at 66,000 annually.

3. L-1 Visa

An L-1 visa is meant for foreigners working for multinationals but seeks to transfer into the US as managers, executives, or experts in specific fields. Such individuals must have stayed with the company for at least 12 months and established a relationship with their US entity.

4. TN Visa

Qualified citizens of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries, such as Mexico and Canada, are free to seek admission and work in the US. These individuals, who must be professionals or serve specially designated roles, can acquire a TN visa.

5. Green card visas

A US green card is a permanent resident visa. There are various employment-based (EB) green card visas. They include:

  • EB-1 – offered to priority level professionals and talents, regardless of their field of work.
  • EB-2 – to educated professionals with a master’s degree or bachelor degree holders with at least five years’ work experience in their respective fields.
  • EB-3 – skilled professionals filling positions that require a college degree.
  • EB4 – intended for special immigrants, including retired employees of specified international organizations or their family members, religious workers, neglected or abused teens.
  • EB5 – targets investors willing to put in at least $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area to benefit the U.S. economy. The enterprise must create at least ten full-time positions.

The State Department also runs an annual lottery program dubbed the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (Green Card Lottery). In this lottery, the agency picks participating citizens of qualified countries to be permanent legal residents of the US. The current lottery, DV2021, will allow 55,000 foreign nationals to enter the country in 2021.

With certain visas, such as green card and employment-based visas, you don’t need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which we usually call the work permit. If you need help, you can always consult immigration professionals and employment legal counsels.