If you are a foreign national who wants to travel to the United States to work, a work visa is a requirement. The type you need will depend on a number of factors, including how long you intend to stay in the U.S., the field you work in and your current employer.
Here are some of the different types of work visas you should consider.
Temporary worker visas
If you intend to work in the U.S. only temporarily, you will likely want to pursue a nonimmigrant temporary work visa. There are more than 20 types of these visas. Typically, your employer will need to sponsor you by filing a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf. The H-1B visa is commonly used for professionals in a specialty occupation.
Permanent worker visas
With an employment-based visa, you can live and work in the U.S. permanently. A limited number of these visas are available to people with the right set of skills, education and experience. There are five preference categories for employment-based applications:
- First Preference: People with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers and multinational executives and managers
- Second Preference: People in professions that require advanced degrees and people with exceptional skills in arts, sciences or business
- Third Preference: Professional and skilled workers
- Fourth Preference: “Special immigrants,” including some religious workers and U.S. foreign service employees
- Fifth Preference: Certain business investors who invest large amounts in a new business that employs 10 or more full-time U.S. workers
For both permanent and temporary workers, you may have the option to bring your spouse or children with you while you work in the U.S. Regardless of the type of visa, an accurate application and thorough understanding of the petition process will help to ensure your acceptance.