Employment Visas or Work Visas in the United States

United States immigration law provides several pathways for foreign nationals to gain entry to the US and work here either on a temporary or permanent basis. Obtaining employment visas or work visas in the United States can be a complicated process, especially for employers. It isn’t a picnic for immigrants who want to work in the US either.

If you are an employer and need to hire a foreign worker or you are an immigrant who wishes to work legally in the US, you should contact our experienced Blacksburg immigration attorney for assistance. Immigration attorney Jeffrey Van Doren helps employers and employees alike solve immigration problems. He has the experience to guide you through the rules and regulatory hurdles that often defeat people who try to go it alone. Call us today to schedule a consultation or use the form on this page to ask a question or request additional information about employment visas.

Who is a green card holder?

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is an individual who has been given permanent authorization to live and work in the United States. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a permanent residence card, popularly referred to as a “Green Card,” as confirmation of such status.

There are various methods to become a permanent resident. In the United States, the majority of persons are sponsored by a family member or company. Others may become permanent residents as a result of refugee or asylee status, or via other humanitarian measures. In certain instances, you may be able to file on your behalf.


Temporary Employment Visa

Most temporary worker visas require that the prospective employer or their agent file an employment immigration petition on behalf of the worker. The immigration petition must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States before a work visa is granted.

Temporary Employment-Based Visa Classifications

There are many different temporary employment-based visa classifications. Temporary employment-based visa classifications allow employers to hire and petition for foreign nationals for specific jobs for limited periods. Most temporary workers must work for the employer that petitioned for them and do not have the option to change jobs. In most cases, they must leave the United States if their status expires or if their employment is terminated.

The visa classifications vary in terms of their eligibility requirements, duration, whether they permit workers to bring dependents, and other factors. Below are several of the most common temporary employment-based visa classifications.

H-1B H-2A H-2B L-1A & L-1B  
Description Specialty Occupation Seasonal agricultural workers “Seasonal” non-agricultural temporary workers. Intra-company transferees  
Eligibility For skilled, educated individuals employed in specialized occupations. You need to have a bachelor’s or higher degree (or an equivalent degree) in the specific specialty for which you seek employment. For foreign agricultural workers to work in the United States on a seasonal or temporary basis, provided that there is a shortage of domestic workers. For foreign workers in non-agricultural fields to work in the United States, given that there is an insufficient number of domestic laborers to fill the position. Examples are jobs at re