Year after year, thousands of people from all over the globe set their sights on the United States for work opportunities. The U.S. draws people with its diverse economy and the promise of better wages and working conditions. But before you can start working in the U.S., you need a work visa.
Work visas are legal documents that permit non-U.S. citizens to work in the United States for a specific period. Different visas cater to different professions and lengths of stay. Here are a few types of work visas available.
H-1B visa for specialized workers
H-1B visas cater to people in specialty occupations, typically requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. Occupations may include engineers, teachers, scientists or computer programmers. An employer must sponsor your H-1B visa application and prove that they could not find a U.S. worker for the position.
L-1 visa for intracompany transferees
If you work for a company with offices in both your home country and the U.S., you might qualify for an L-1 visa. This visa allows managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers to transfer to the company’s U.S. office.
O visa for extraordinary ability
The O visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in arts, sciences, education, business or athletics. This could include award-winning actors, internationally recognized athletes or leading scientists. To qualify for an O visa, you need to provide evidence of your extraordinary ability and prove that you will continue working in your area of expertise in the U.S.
E visa for traders and investors
The E visa is for individuals who engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and their home country (E-1) or who invest a significant amount of capital in a U.S. business (E-2). To be eligible, your home country must have a trade treaty with the U.S.
Selecting the appropriate work visa depends on your profession, the purpose of your travel and your plans once you reach the U.S. Research each visa type thoroughly to understand its requirements and benefits.