Types of Employment Visas in the US & How to Get Them

Entrepreneurs holding their passports ready to come into the United States to work after receiving their employment visas.
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The path to come to America for employment isn’t always straightforward. It involves navigating a complex system of employment visas, each with its unique requirements and eligibility criteria.

Whether you’re a researcher from Vietnam, a software engineer from India, a marketing executive from the UK, or a renowned athlete from China, your path to working in America begins with understanding the specific visa that aligns with your qualifications and career goals. Each visa category has unique eligibility requirements and application procedures, making it essential to choose the right fit.

That’s where we come in. At SKT Law, we’ve helped countless individuals achieve their American dream by securing the appropriate employment visas. We understand the complexities of immigration law and can guide you through every step of the process, ensuring your application is complete, accurate, and compelling.

Types of US Employment Visas

H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for foreign professionals in specialty occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. This category is prevalent among individuals in the technology, engineering, and medical fields. However, the H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap and a lottery system, making the application process highly competitive.

H-1B Cap and Lottery: To qualify for an H-1B visa, you must have a job offer from a US company willing to sponsor your application. The position must require a specialized skill set that aligns with your educational background and experience. The timing of your application is crucial, as the H-1B cap is often reached quickly, necessitating a strategic approach to maximize your chances.

Related Article: What Immigration Lawyers Want You to Know About H-1B Visas

L-1 Intracompany Transferee

The L-1 visa is designed for employees transferring to a US branch, parent company, or subsidiary of their current employer. There are two types of L-1 Visas: L-1A for executive and management-level employees and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. This visa allows you to work in the US for up to seven years (L-1A) or five years (L-1B), with the possibility of obtaining a green card in the future.

The Importance of Demonstrating a Qualifying Relationship: A critical aspect of the L-1 visa is proving a qualifying relationship between the foreign and US companies. This involves showing that the companies are related through ownership or control and that the foreign company has employed you for at least one year in the preceding three years.

Related Article: Come To The United States By Expanding Your Business With a L Visa

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

If you possess “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, business, education arts, or athletics, the O-1 visa may be your path to working in the US. You must demonstrate national or international acclaim in your field through awards, publications, media recognition, or other evidence of exceptional achievement to qualify.

Building a Compelling Case for Extraordinary Ability: The O-1 visa requires substantial documentation to prove your extraordinary abilities. This may include evidence of your work’s impact, letters of recommendation, and documentation of your accomplishments. A skilled immigration attorney can help you gather and present the necessary evidence to make a strong case.

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader & Investor Visa

The E-1 and E-2 visas are for individuals from countries with a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US. The E-1 visa is for treaty traders, while the E-2 visa is for treaty investors. To qualify, you must be a national of a treaty country, have a substantial investment in a US business (E-2), or be engaged in significant trade between the US and your home country (E-1).

Navigating the Treaty Requirements: Each treaty country has specific requirements for E-1 and E-2 visas. It’s essential to understand the treaty terms between your country and the US to determine your eligibility and ensure your application meets all the necessary criteria.

How Do I Get a US Employment Visa?

“The complexity of employment visas should never deter your ambitions. With the right legal guidance, you can reach your full potential working in the United States.”

Eliot Krieger, Co-Founder & Managing Partner USA, SKT Law

The process of obtaining a US employment visa can seem daunting, but understanding the steps involved can help you navigate this path with greater confidence:

Secure a Job Offer

The cornerstone of your employment visa application is a valid job offer from a US employer that is willing to sponsor your visa. This employer will be your advocate throughout the process.

Employer Petitions on Your Behalf

Your sponsoring employer will need to submit a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition details your qualifications, the nature of the job offer, and how you meet the requirements for the specific visa category.

Labor Certification (If Applicable)

Certain visa types, such as the H-1B, may require a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). This process verifies that there aren’t enough competent US workers available for the position and that hiring an immigrant worker won’t negatively impact US workers’ wages or working conditions.

Complete Your Visa Application

Once your employer’s petition (and any necessary labor certification) is approved, you’ll submit your visa application. This involves providing required documentation, such as your passport, educational credentials, and employment history, demonstrating your eligibility for the visa.

Attend a Consular Interview (If Required)

Depending on your nationality and the visa category, you may need to attend a consular interview at a US embassy or consulate in your home country. This is where a consular officer will assess your eligibility and verify the information in your application.

Visa Approval and Entry

Upon approval, you’ll receive your employment visa and can then enter the United States to start your new job. It’s important to understand and adhere to your visa conditions to maintain your legal status in the US.

Remember: Each visa type has specific requirements and timelines. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Consult with SKT Law About Your Immigration Case

Securing an employment visa is a significant step toward building a successful career in the United States. By understanding the different types of visas available, you can choose the path that best suits your skills and experience.

At SKT Law, we’ve helped countless individuals and businesses navigate the intricacies of employment-based immigration. Our team of experienced attorneys can provide the support you need to make your American dream a reality. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you embark on this exciting new chapter in your career.