Employment Visas

In order to work in the United States you must have either a Permanent Resident Card (also known as the Green Card), an Employment Authorization Document (work permit) or a specific employment-related visa that enables you to work for a specific employer. Each of these situations has different requirements and processes to obtain. Employment-related visas typically require you to have obtained an offer of employment and have your employer petition on your behalf. If you have special high demand skills there may be a specific visa category related to your work. Obtaining employment authorization can be a lengthy and complicated process. Our law firm can help guide companies and their employees through the process successfully.

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Temporary Workers

In order for you to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily in the United States your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS. There are a variety of temporary worker classifications including treaty traders, investors, temporary or seasonal agricultural employees, foreign press, persons with extraordinary ability (O-1), internationally recognized athletes (P1A), internationally recognized entertainers (P1B), artists and entertainers (P3), cultural exchange, and religious workers among others.

Permanent Workers

Approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year for aliens (and their spouses and children) who seek to immigrate based on their job skills. If you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, you may be able to live permanently in the United States. The five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (categories) are listed below.

Some immigrant visa preferences require you to already have a job offer from a U.S. employer. This employer will be considered your sponsor. For some visa categories, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to USCIS, the employer must obtain an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL labor certification verifies the following:

  • There are insufficient available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to fill the position being offered at the prevailing wage
  • Hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers

There are five categories of visa known as EB-1 through EB-5. Each category has special requirements and may or may not require labor certification. Contact us today so our firm can assist you in determining your eligibility for these categories.

Students and Exchange Visitors

If you wish to pursue full-time academic or vocational studies in the United States, you may be eligible for one of two nonimmigrant student categories. The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students.

If you wish to participate in an exchange program you may be eligible for the “J” category for exchange visitors. The J visa program is for educational and cultural exchange programs.