What are the different types of work visas in the United States?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Immigration Explained

Work visas are one of the most common ways for people to legally gain access to the United States. Those with domestic employment opportunities can obtain a visa with the sponsorships of a company.

They can temporarily live in the country. Their spouses and unmarried minor children can potentially travel with them in most cases. Visas can eventually lead to green cards in some cases. People who enter the country via work visas sometimes even become United States citizens.

Temporary work visas

Many of the most popular work visa programs offer only temporary permission to live in the United States. For example, CW-1 visas are for transitional workers who can only work in the country for a total of three years if they renew their visas.

The E visa family extends opportunities for treaty traders, foreign investors and specific employees. E-3 visas are only available to those in special occupations hailing from Australia. The H-1B visa is for skilled workers, while H-1C visas are for registered nurses. H-2 visas are for seasonal or temporary agricultural workers. I visas exist for journalists and other foreign media professionals.

L visas are for intracompany transfers for international businesses with a presence in the United States. O visas are for those with extraordinary abilities, while P visas are for entertainers, artists and athletes. Q visas are for cultural exchange program participants, while R visas are for religious workers.

The TN visa is for workers from Canada or Mexico who do temporary work related to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Temporary visas only grant short-term access to the United States, although many of them are eligible for renewal at least once.

Permanent work visas

Every year, there are roughly 140,000 permanent work visas available. Those with certain skills, education backgrounds or work experience can secure visas that let them live in the country permanently. The level of priority for the applying professional influences the visa preference category. Those with extraordinary abilities may qualify for an EB-1 visa, while those who intend to invest in domestic business enterprises receive the lowest priority via an EB-5 visa.

Learning more about different employment visas, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, can help people choose the best option for lawfully entering the United States.