To obtain an employment (work) visa, either temporary or permanent, foreign nationals generally must have a U.S. employer who will sponsor them. Such an employer will first need to request permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to bring a qualified foreign worker to the U.S., and only if the employer cannot find a qualified U.S. worker for that job. A limited number of visas for persons of extraordinary abilities and high acclaim, and workers of high skills and international recognition does not require a sponsoring employer.
There are two kinds of work visas: non-immigrant visas (E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-2B, H-3, J-1, L-1, O, P, TN status), and immigrant visas (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3). Each of these visas have specific eligibility requirements and require filing of a petition by an employer. The process usually involves several steps. For example, in order to obtain a permanent work visa, which leads to permanent residency (green card), the process generally involves the following three steps:
1. Filing of the PERM Labor Certification – assessment of whether or not there are qualified U.S. workers.
2. I-140 petition - filed by employer on behalf of a foreign worker.
3. I-485 application for permanent residence (green card application) - filed by the foreign worker. This step may include filing of an application for advance parole - ability to leave and re-enter the country, and employment authorization - for permission to work while waiting.
If you think you qualify for a work visa in the United States, we are here to help you realize your dreams. Contact us today for a free 20 min. consultation.