Work visas are for immigrant who wants to seek work in the United States for a fixed amount of time.  This visa requires a petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services before you can apply. It is a lengthy process and can be obtained in various steps based on the embassy where you apply.

To begin, you must first complete the online visa application where you also upload a photo and print your information to bring to an interview. There are different categories of visas based on the type of work you would like to do. Some categories require a labor certification from an employer or approval from the department of labor. Your spouse or minor children may also apply for the same visa to join you on your trip to the United States. The interview is generally not required for people 13 and younger or 80 and older. You must schedule the interview at the U.S. Embassy in your country of residence. Before the interview you must bring required documentation. This includes, but not limited to a passport, visa application, application fee receipt or receipt number. You must pay all necessary fees before the interview. If you are a L visa applicant, you must bring a L blanket petition. The additional documents that may be required are proof of ties to your original country to show proof that you will return after your temporary stay in the United States. This could be a residence, family history, financial situation, or long term plans. When you meet with a consular office at the interview they will determine which type of visa you qualify for. Your finger print will then be scanned and your application will be sent for approval. Later, you will be able to pick up your passport with your visa.

A visa allows a foreign citizen to enter a U.S. airport and request permission to enter the United States. However, it does not guarantee entry. Boarder protection officers have the authority to accept or deny your entry. An inspection will happen before you enter. Remember, you are not allowed to bring any food or pest with you. If you are denied entry you may apply for a visa again in the future. Even though most are accepted, others may be denied because of inaccurate or missing paperwork. “If you are denied because of fraud or misrepresentation, then this could result in permanent denial of a visa or entry into the United States.” After you enter you may request extended stay before your visa expires. You can also change your current nonimmigrant status to a different nonimmigrant category.

The type of visa to apply for can be tricky. There are many and they have different objectives and time limits. A H-2A visa is for agriculture work, B-1visas are for business workers and last for 6 months. It is for business people conducting sales, attending meetings, and making investments. The L-1A visa is an intra company transferee and it is for, “managers who have worked in their foreign country for one year in the last three years.” It last for seven years. The E-1 visas are for treaty traders. Staff direct and develop import/ export trade between the United States and the treaty company. Its time limit is indefinite. The P-1 visa is for athletes and entertainment group member. This is to perform at an athletic competition. The P- 3 visa is for artist are entertainers to preform or teach under a program that is culturally unique or artistic.

Not only are there temporary work visas, there are permanent worker visas. This allow an immigrant to work permanently in the United States. This is also known as a green card. If you have the required set of skills, education, and experiences, then you could qualify for this visa. With this via you must receive a labor certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor to verify that your employment will not affect the wages and working conditions of the U.S. workers or it there are not enough U.S. workers to fill that position. There are five “permanent worker visa preference categories.” Preference one (EB-1), “is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, or athletics. This category does not require a labor certificate. Preference two (EB-2), “is reserved for [people] who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees.” This category requires a labor certificate, “unless applicant can obtain a national interest wavier.” Preference three (EB-3), “is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.” This category requires a labor certificate. Preference four (EB-4), “is reserved for ‘special immigrants’, which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of the courts in the [U.S.], and other classes of aliens.” This category does not require a labor certificate. The last category is the fifth preference (EB-5), and this category “is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000…in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.” This last category does not require a labor certificate.

As you can see, applying for a visa is a long process and can be difficult. Depending of which type of visa you apply for, there are different set of rules to follow. Each visa serves different purposes based on which type of work you would like to do. Each visa also has limitations. You will just have to make sure you obtain all the required paper work and you should be able to gain access into the United States.