For individuals seeking employment opportunities in the United States, navigating the complex world of immigration law can be overwhelming. Understanding the different types of visas available and the requirements for obtaining them can be a daunting task. This can be especially challenging for those who are unfamiliar with the U.S. immigration system. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and guidance, it is possible to obtain a visa that allows you to work legally in the United States.
Understanding U.S. Immigration Law
Before we dive into the specifics of working in the United States with a visa, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the country’s immigration laws. The U.S. immigration system is complex, with numerous visa categories and a wide range of eligibility requirements.
Types of Work Visas
If you’re looking to work in the United States, there are several types of visas that may be available to you. Here are a few of the most common that are specifically employment based:
The H-1B visa is designed for foreign workers in specialty occupations that require a high level of education or expertise. To be eligible for an H-1B visa, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a U.S. employer.
The H-2b visa is a temporary visa when there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do temporary work. Usually, these visas are for one time occurrences where the petitioner (the employer) experiences a temporary event of short duration that has created the need for a temporary worker; when there is a season need where the job is tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern and is of a recurring nature; or when there is a need to temporarily supplement a permanent staff due to a season or short-term demand and the addition will not be part of the petitioner’s regular operation of business.
The L-1 visa is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to the United States. To be eligible for an L-1 visa, you must have worked for the company for at least one year and be coming to the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
E-1 and E-2 Visas
The E-1 and E-2 visas are designed for individuals who are coming to the United States to engage in trade or investment activities. To be eligible for an E-1 or E-2 visa, you must be a national of a treaty country and be coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade or investment.
The O visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to come to the U.S. to work in their field of expertise. To be eligible for an O visa, the individual must have received national or international recognition for their achievements and must be coming to the U.S. to work in their area of extraordinary ability.
A TN visa is a nonimmigrant employment visa which allows Canadian and Mexican citizens who work in specific professional occupations to work in the United States. The arrangement is open to citizens from these countries under the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
In addition to the specific requirements for each type of visa, there are some general eligibility requirements that apply to all work visas. These may include:
- A job offer from a U.S. employer;
- Evidence that you have the necessary skills and qualifications to perform the job;
- Proof that the job is not taking away opportunities from qualified U.S. workers; and
- A clean criminal record and no previous violations of U.S. immigration law
The Application Process
Once you have determined which type of visa you are eligible for, the next step is to begin the application process. This typically involves filling out an application form and submitting supporting documentation, such as educational credentials and work experience. Generally, a prospective employer must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa.
Working with an Immigration Lawyer
Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be a complex and time-consuming process. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that your application is complete and accurate, increasing your chances of success. At The Law Office of Nathan Earwood, we have extensive experience helping clients navigate the immigration process and obtain the visas they need to work legally in the United States.
Contact The Law Office of Nathan Earwood
If you need help navigating the complex world of immigration law or have questions about your visa status, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Office of Nathan Earwood. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with the guidance you need to achieve your goals. Call us today at 828-354-4300 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation.