You will need a work visa if you want to travel to the U.S. and legally hold down a job there. However, there are many different types of visas to get.
The type you need will differ depending on several factors like your field of work, current employer and how long you want to stay in the country.
Temporary and permanent worker visas
USCIS discusses the types of visas available to immigrant workers. Temporary workers have the option of pursuing a temporary work visa, of which over 20 types exist. An employer will usually sponsor you, filing the necessary forms on your behalf. In specialty occupations, the H-1B visa often sees the most use.
Permanent work visas also exist for those who intend to work in a non-temporary capacity. Employment-based visas mean a person can work and live in the U.S. permanently.
The five categories of preference
A limited number of these visas exist. They go to the people with the right education, experience and set of skills. For employment-based applications, five categories exist: first through fifth preference.
First-preference candidates serve as extraordinary professors or researchers, multinational managers or executives, and people who have truly outstanding abilities.
Second-preference candidates have exceptional skills in business, sciences or the arts. They may also have an advanced degree in a profession that requires one.
Third-preference candidates include skilled and professional workers. Fourth preference candidates are “special immigrants”, such as U.S. foreign service employees or religious workers.
Finally, fifth preference candidates are business investors who invest significant money into businesses with ten or more full-time U.S. employees.