The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has an extensive list of visa options for foreign nationals who want to enter the United States to work legally. In this short guide, you will find an overview of the types of US work visas.
Types of Work Visas in the US – Temporary Visit for Business
When a foreign national want to conduct limited, short-term business in the United States, the B-1 visa permits that individual to attain it. Usually, it may be used to negotiate a contract, attend a business convention, or settle an estate.
Types of Work Visas in US – Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas
The H visa category includes the H-1B visa (highly skilled professional or academics with special expertise), the H-2A (temporary agricultural workers) and H-2B (temporary non-agricultural workers) visas, and the H-3 visa (nonimmigrant trainees or special education exchange visitors).
The I visa category permits eligible members of the foreign press to enter the United States to perform their activities, which includes reporters, film crews, editors, and similar professionals.
The L visa category encompasses foreign nationals who are temporarily transferring to the United States to work for a multinational company. This category includes the L-1A visa (intracompany transferee executives or managers) and the L1-B visa (intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge).
The O visa category includes four subcategories, which are the O-1A, the O-1B, the O-2, and the O-3. Respectively, each category encompasses:
- Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures, or television industry)
- Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
- Individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance
- Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders
Generally issued with event-based durations, the P visa category applies to foreign nationals who excel in performance, athletic, or artistic endeavors.
The R-1 visa permits a member of a religious denomination to enter the country to work temporarily for that denomination or an associated non-profit organization.
TN NAFTA Professionals
According to USCIS, the TN NAFTA visa allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
Types of Work Visas in the US – Immigrant Worker Visas
Four main types of immigrant worker visas permit eligible foreign nationals to live and work in the United States permanently – the EB-1, the EB-2, the EB-3, the EB-4, and EB-5 visas.
The EB-1 visa encompasses eligible foreign nationals who have extraordinary abilities, are outstanding professors or researchers, or occupy certain multinational executive or managerial roles.
The EB-2 visa applies to foreign nationals who are members of professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent or have exceptional ability. Within this category, there are also those individuals whose employment is in the national interest of the United States.
The EB-3 visa encompasses skilled workers, professionals, or other workers who meet the USCIS eligibility requirements for this specific visa. The EB-4 visa includes specialized workers in different niches, such as religious workers, retired employees of international organizations, among others.
Also known as the “million-dollar visa,” the EB-5 visa permits that eligible foreign investors enter the United States upon investing a preset amount of money in a US business enterprise to create or maintain at least ten full-time jobs for qualified US workers.