Each year, millions of foreign nationals apply for work visas and work permits to be legally employed in the United States (and potentially seek permanent residency). Though the process for obtaining work authorization is clear, it is not easy to navigate alone. If you are interested in working in the U.S. the first step is obtaining the proper work visa.
Common work visas include temporary work visas, visas for exchange workers, seasonal work visas, as well as green cards (for permanent residents). Eligibility and requirements for a work visa will depend on the type of work that you are doing, the employer interested in your services, as well as your country of origin.
Listed below is a brief summary of the most common types of visas as well as information on obtaining a work permit. Due to the complex nature of applying for work visas and permits, The Law Office of Jing Yeophantong, PLLC recommends that you work with an experienced immigration attorney to increase the likelihood of approval.
Common Types of Work Visas
There are a plethora of available visa options for those that are seeking employment in the United States. The type of Visa that you have will have a direct impact on your ability to apply for permanent residency. Learn more about the most common types of work visas below.
There are five EB visa types that allow a foreign national to work within the U.S. See a brief description of each below.
EB-1: Exclusively for those that exhibit an “extraordinary ability” in the fields of science, art, education, business, or athletics.
EB-2: You must have an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability. This also includes those that have national interest waivers.
EB-3: Includes those that are skilled and professional workers (can include many other types of workers).
EB-4: This type of visa is for those that are religious workers, neglected or abused youth, certain current or former employees of a specific international organization (i.e. NATO)
EB-5: Strictly for those that are investing between $500,000 and $1 million into a US business (includes a job creation stipulation)
Temporary Work Visa
H-2B: A temporary work visa is strictly for foreign workers that are not working in agriculture. This could include jobs at amusement parks, hotels, resorts, etc. There is a cap placed on the number of foreign nationals that can obtain this type of visa. Furthermore, when the work (or season) is completed, they must return to their home country.
H1-B: A temporary work visa is for those that work in a specialized position or field and are especially skilled and/or educated. There is also a cap on the number of these types of visas granted.
H2-A: Is specifically for a seasonal agricultural worker. There are strict regulations and guidelines associated with this visa, so ensure that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney in Arlington, VA before applying.
Obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) - Work Permit
After you have been approved for a work visa, you are required to get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), otherwise known as a work permit. This document will serve as proof that you are eligible to work in the United States.
Each step of the process of becoming eligible to work in the U.S. requires exact documentation and you must follow all rules and procedures. If you do not, you risk being denied or having your application delayed for weeks or months. Working with an immigration attorney does not guarantee that you will be approved. However, it certainly increases that likelihood of it.