U.S. Work Visas:

work visa lawyers dc

It is commonly known that a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. There are many types of visas. In this chapter we will discuss the visas for a specific purpose – employment.

All employment visas are called temporary in the law and are always given for a certain amount of time.

Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time, and are not considered permanent. Work visas allow its holders to legally work in the US. There are not unlimited work visas. The visas without any validity dates are called immigrant visas that allow to stay indefinitely in the US. When an immigrant visas is approved, the recipient may receive a green card.

Under U.S. immigration law, if a foreign national intends to work in the U.S. temporarily as a non-immigrant (not a green card holder), that person needs a specific visa based on the type of work he will be doing. Most temporary worker categories require that a prospective employer or agent files a petition, which must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before one can apply for a work visa. Therefore, every work visa pursuer must have a petitioner, which a sponsor, a US employer. Noone can sponsor himself for a work visa, there is no such provision in the law yet. There always must be an employer. That said, it does not mean that an owner, or an investor cannot obtain a visa, he certainly can. However, a US legal entity has to be created beforehand. Below, we will discuss the most common work visas:

Visa Description and Qualification:

H-1B Visa:

An H-1B visa is required if a worker is coming to the United States to perform services in a pre-arranged professional job. To qualify, you must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty for which you seek employment.

H-2A Visa:

An H2-A visa allows a U.S. employer to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. This non-immigrant classification applies to you if you seek to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States on a temporary basis.

H-2B Visa:

This visa is required if you are coming to the United States to perform a job which is temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers.

H-3 Visa:

An H-3 visa is required if you are coming to the United States to receive training from employers in any field of endeavor, other than graduate education or training. This visa allows you to receive training in the United States for up to two years.

H-4 Visas:

If you are the principal holder of a valid H visa, your spouses and unmarried children may receive an H-4 visa to accompany you to the United States. However, your children are not permitted to work while in the United States.

L-1 Visas:

Please find the description here.

L-1 New Office Visas:

The full description is here.

L-2 Visas:

This visa is similar to the H-2 visa. However, this visa allows spouses of L-1s to seek employment authorization for work in the United States.

When to Apply ?

The embassy may process your visa application up to 90 days prior to the beginning of your employment status as noted in your I-797. However, when making your plans, please note that due to federal regulations, you can only use the visa to apply for entry to the United States starting ten days prior to the beginning of the approved status period noted on your I-797.

Supporting Documents:

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe will be helpful in order to support the information provided to the consular officer.


Do not present false documents. Fraud and misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, you should bring your document to the embassy or consulates in a sealed envelope. The embassy or consulate will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural, and other factors during adjudication . Consular officers may try to discern your specific intentions for coming to the United States by asking questions related to your family situation and your long range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.


Your dependents should bring all required documents for the non-immigrant visa, plus:

  • An original marriage certificate and birth certificates (for unmarried children under age 21).
  • A letter from your spouse’s employer confirming his or her continued employment.

More Information:

The above information is all related to work visas. Other visas are also available, such as O, P, and Q visas. You can also click on one of our immigration specialists for a free consultation, ilexlaw team is waiting to help you.