Working in the United States is a dream for many people. It can also become a necessity when a foreign company with a US affiliate needs to transfer a worker from his or her home country to work at the company’s US business. A foreign national, of his or her own choice, might want to find employment at a US organization or university.

In addition, there are instances when a person of extraordinary ability, such as an artist, athlete, entertainer, scientist, businessperson or scholar desire to work in the US on a specific project for a fixed period of time.

Employment based visas are covered under two main categories:

  • Non-immigrant visas for temporary stay
  • Immigrant visas for permanent residence

A Temporary Worker Visa is for a prospective employee who plans to enter the US with specific employment for a defined period of time. The prospective employer must first file a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Approval of this petition is required in order to apply for the work visa.


Temporary Worker (non-immigrant) Visa Categories

  • H-1B Work in A Specialty Occupation

    To qualify for this visa, one must work in a Specialty Occupation.  At minimum, a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent must be required for the position.  Some of the accepted Specialty Occupations are Professor, Researcher, Scientist and all licensed professions.

  • H-3 Trainee or Special Education Visitor

    This visa is for the training and education that foreign nationals would not be able to receive in their home countries, excluding graduate medical and academic degrees.

  • L-1 Intracompany Transferee

    This visa applies to individuals working in an executive or managerial position, or in a capacity requiring special knowledge.  The individual must be employed for at least one year by the same employer abroad within three preceding years.

  • O-1 Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

    Individuals can qualify for this visa to work in their field of expertise in the US with proven extraordinary ability and achievement in the arts, athletics, business and sciences, and in the film industry and television showing sustained national and international acclaim.  Persons acting in support of these individuals are also included.

  • P-1 – Individual or Team Athlete or Member of an Entertainment Group

    An internationally recognized level of performance over time is needed to qualify for this visa.  Also, those persons acting in support of these individuals can be included.

  • P-2 Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group)

    This visa is for those persons or groups who will be performing under the auspices of and exchange program.  Persons who are in support of these groups or individuals are also included.

  • P-3 Artist or Entertainer (Person or Group)

    Any person or group scheduled to perform, teach or coach under a traditional ethnic or culturally unique program, including folk, cultural, musical, theatrical or artistic performance would apply under this visa.  In addition, those individuals supporting these artists and entertainers would be included.

  • Q-1 Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program

    Visa for visiting the US in order to participate in an international exchange program for the purpose of employment in the training and sharing the culture, traditions and history of one’s home country.

  • National Interest Waiver (NIW) Eb-2 Category

    National Interest Waiver (NIW) Eb-2 Category

Additional Non-immigrant Visas

  • B-1/B-2 Visitors Visa

    Short term (up to 6 months) visitor for business or pleasure (or both) temporary stay visas.

  • E-1/E-2 Trader and Investor Visa

    Visas for investors and traders and their companies.


Study Visas

  • F-1 and M-1 Student Visa

    Visas for people seeking to study and, or train in their field of study at a school in the United States.

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

    Visas for people coming to the US in an approved exchange program. This can include students, research scholars, business trainees, camp counselors, au pairs, among others.


Permanent Residence

Important Reminder

  • Most non-U.S. citizens must report a change of address within 10 days of moving within the United States or its territories

Read More at USCIS.GOV