For most migrants to the United States, work authorization typically comes from a family-based petition. However, employment authorization in the United is not limited to just family-based petitions. With a variety of work visas available to migrants, the first question one needs to resolve is what type of visa is the best fit for their situation. Think of it this way; there are 2 main categories of work visas. There are non-immigrant-based visas that provide temporary work solutions and immigrant-based visas which provide a more permanent basis of work authorization.
There are a few factors that you should consider during your search. First, your work visa options will depend on the type of work you plan to do in the United States. Are you interested in investments or entrepreneurship? And if you are seeking an employer sponsorship instead, do you have the degree of skill to perform the jobs you seek? Answering these basic preliminary questions will give you an idea of which work visa category you should select. Below are the various work visas available to foreign nationals interested in working in the United States.
Temporary, Non-immigrant Work Visas
The non-immigrant or temporary work visas, allow you to live and work in the United States for a designated duration of time. Although temporary in definition, many of these visas are also renewable. The most common types of non-immigrants, temporary work visas include:
H-1B Visa. Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models.
H-2B Visa. Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
H-3 Visa. Nonimmigrant Trainee or Special Education Exchange Visitor
E-1 Visa. Treaty Traders
E-2 Visa. CNMI-Only Investor
L-1A Visa. Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
L-1B Visa. Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
TN Visa. NAFTA Professionals
In addition to the list above, there are non-immigrant visas that are essentially designed for students and trainees. For those who are seeking work authorization as students, there are a few options that provide that unique combination as well. With the student visas listed below, one may work while living in the US as a student and leverage their student status. Student and trainee visas include:
F-1. Student visas for academic students enrolled at accredited academic institutions
M. Student visa for students at vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions
J-1. Exchange visitor visas for those involved in work- and study-based programs.
Permanent, Immigrant-Based Work Visas
Immigrant-based or permanent work visas present migrants with the unique opportunity to live and work in the US as permeant residents or green cardholders. These applicants are typically considered priority workers, highly skilled, or have exceptional abilities and are seen as an expert in their individual fields. The most common types of immigrants, permanent work visas include:
EB-1 Green Card. Priority Workers. For those with “extraordinary ability” such as business professionals, academics and researchers, scientists, arts, or athletics.
EB-2 Green Card. Advanced Degree Professionals. For those who are a member of a profession and have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or an exceptional ability
EB-3 Green Card. Skilled, Unskilled, & Professional Workers. For those who hold a bachelor’s degree or at least 2 years of training or work experience
EB-4 Green Card. Special Immigrants. For individuals who may be eligible for lawful permanent resident status
EB-5 Green Card. Investors. For those wanting to invest
For more information about work visas and immigration to the US based on employment or student status, be sure to join our mailing list and check out more of our blogs! To schedule an initial consultation with us today, don’t hesitate to contact us at (469) 454-2596.