How Do I Apply for a Work Visa in the U.S.?

an office worker

Many foreign professionals want to seek employment opportunities in the United States. If you want to apply for a work visa in the U.S., it’s important to understand the application process to prevent mistakes, because failing to submit your visa application properly can ultimately affect your chances of approval. Our Miami immigration attorneys explain the steps needed to apply for a work visa for the United States.

Employer Must File Petition

Before beginning your temporary work visa application process, your prospective employer must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition will need to be approved by the USCIS before you can begin the application process. The USCIS needs to ensure that you have a job aligned if you get approved for a temporary work visa. If you have the right combination of skills, education, and work experience, you might qualify for a permanent work visa.

Obtain a Labor Certification

Depending on the type of work visa you apply for, you might be required to obtain a labor certification. Your prospective employer should determine whether you need a labor certification when they file their petition.

Submit an Application Form

After the USCIS approves your prospective employer’s petition and obtains a labor certification (if needed), you can apply for a work visa. You will need to print your application for your interview, and you will need to upload your photo in the application form.

In this step, you will need to know which type of work visa category you will apply for. There are over twelve different types of work visa categories you can choose from. It is vital to apply for a work visa that is best suited for your set of skills, education, and work experience.

Below is a list of the most common types of work visa categories:

H-1B Visa: This visa requires a post-secondary degree, with at least four years in the field of specialization.

H-2A Visa & H-2B Visa: The H-2A visa is for temporary or seasonal agricultural work. This visa is limited to citizens or nations from designated countries. The H-2B visa is for temporary non-agricultural work.

H-3 Visa: This visa is for trainees or special education visitors. This visa is for applicants who are seeking training other than graduate medical or academic training. The practical training programs often involve the education of children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.

L Visa: The L visa is for intracompany transferees. This means that it is for workers who want to work at a branch, parent, or affiliate office of their current employer. The applicant must be an employee of that company abroad for at least one consecutive year within the last three years.

O visa: The applicant needs to have an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The applicant could have also received achievements in the motion picture and television fields.

P-1 Visa: This visa is for applicants that perform a specific athletic competition or as a member of an entertainment group.

P-2 Visa: This visa is for artists or entertainers who provide essential services in support of P-1 visa applicants.

P-3 Visa: This visa is for those who wish to perform, teach, or coach in the fields of art or entertainment.

Q-1 Visa: This visa is for participants in an international or cultural exchange program.

Schedule an Interview

Next, you need to schedule an appointment for your visa interview in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa. During the interview, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the visa category requirements you are applying for.

After the interview process, your application might require further administrative processing. If not, you only need to wait for the USCIS to provide you with the application results. If your application is approved, you can start preparations for entering the U.S.

If you want to apply for a work visa, you need the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Although some work visas are blocked due to the recent immigration ban, some are still available. Contact our Miami immigration attorneys today at (305) 858-2323 to schedule a consultation!

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