US Work Visas (2023)

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To permanently or temporarily work in the US as a foreign national, you will likely need to obtain a US work visa. Read the information we have provided below to learn more about the process, the requirements, and more!

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US Work Visas (1)US Work Visas

Temporary Work Visas

Depending on the kind of work you are seeking or have experience in already, there are a number of different options for individuals seeking temporary employment in the States. These include temporary skilled worker visas, investor visas, and business visitor visas, among others.

Learn more about Temporary Work Visa options.

Employment Based Green Cards

Each year, many people obtain their green cards through employment based preferences, giving them permanent resident status in the US. The employment-based category is divided into five sections: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5. If you are interested in working in the US, you may be eligible to obtain a Green Card under one of these categories.

Learn more about Employment-Based Green Cardsbelow!

Student and Exchange Visitors

There are a couple visas that allow young adults interested in higher education or looking to come train in the United States. Some of these options allow one to work in the United States!

Learn more about work visas for students and exchange visitorsbelow!

Business Visitor Visa

The United States has created a visa specifically for those coming to the US temporarily for business reasons. This allows business individuals to come do a number of work and/or business-related things like attending a conference, take a meeting, and more!

Learn more about your business visitor visa optionbelow!


Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of Canada or Mexico with a job offer in the US may be eligible for a TN temporary work visa. This allows a qualified individual to obtain a work visa quickly and with minimal documentation. The US job offer must be from a list of occupations defined by NAFTA. If you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada, the TN visa may be an attractive option.

Learn more about your TN Visa through USMCAbelow!


How to Get a Temporary Work Visa in the United States

If you are interested in working in the United States, you may be interested in either obtaining a temporary work visa or an employment-based green card. A variety of temporary work visas exist, and each will allow you to stay in the US for a specific or definite amount of time. By obtaining an employment-based green card, you will be considered a permanent resident due to your employment status. Each option has different requirements, and it is important to determine for which you may be eligible.

To work in the United States, you must obtain a work visa to be employed in the country legally. There are several different types of work visas available for foreigners who are interested in working in the United States temporarily.

Types of Temporary US Work Visas

The most common temporary work visas in the United States include:

(Video) U.S. Work Visas, Explained

  • H-1B Visas
  • E Visas
  • L Visas
  • O Visas
  • NAFTA Work Visa

Many times it depends on what type of occupation you will perform in the US that decides whichvisa is best for you. Some other factors that make this decisioncan include whether you have a relationship with an employer, how long you’ll be employed in the United States, and what degree of skill it takes to perform the job.

US Work Visa Processing Times

Temporary Work Visas: 5 to 7 months

Employment-Based Green Cards: 6 to 33 months

Learn more about US Work Visa Processing Times in 2023.

Top Temporary US Work Visa Options

H-1B Visa (Skilled Workers)

An H-1B visa is a temporary US work permit that allows foreigners to work within “specialty occupations” for US employers. This means that your employment in the United States cannot be for just any type of work; the work performed must involve a high level of skill such as in a professional occupation. Most applicants under the H-1B work visa category are highly educated with a university degree. However, high education is not always necessary. Some H-1B visas can be granted to applicants with little education but with lots of work experience.

Other H category visas:

E1 and E2 Visas (Treaty Traders & Treaty Investors)

E-1 Visa

The E-1 or Treaty Trader visa is a nonimmigrant visa for citizens of countries that the US has a treaty of commerce with. While not all countries are eligible, business owners from those that are may qualify if they meet several criteria.

E-2 Visa

If you wish to work in the US by starting or investing in a US business, an E-2 Visa may be an option for you. E visas areUS work visas for people working in the US investment. E visas can only be issued to countries where there is a treaty between the foreign national’s country and the USA.

L1 Visa (Intra-Company Transfers)

If you are expanding your business to the US or being transferred to an existing American business, the L-1 visa is most likely the best type ofvisafor you. L-1 visas are available to employees working for companies outside the United States such as in Canada that havebranches,subsidiaries,affiliatesorjoint venture partnersin the United States. The L-1 Visa has two categories, which include:

  • L-1A
  • L-1B

O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Abilities)

The O-1 temporary visa is intended for people who possess extraordinary skills in arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics, or who have a solid track record of extraordinary performance in the motion picture and television industry and have been identified and acknowledged domestically and internationally for their excellence.

NAFTA Work Permit

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trade deal between Canada, the US, and Mexico that was implemented in 1994 but was re-written and named in 2018. NAFTA seeks to eliminate trade barriers between the three countries, such as tariffs on goods, with the goal of encouraging economic integration among them and economic prosperity.

(Video) Breaking! US Embassy Suspends Immigrant Visas for 70+ Countries | Green Card, US Visa, EAD Limbo

Other Temporary Work Visas to Explore

  • P Visas (Entertainment & Performance Workers)
  • R-1 Visa (Religious Workers)

How to Get a Permanent Work Visa in the United States

Permanent residents, other known asgreen card holders, are non-US citizens who are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Many people obtain their green card through afamily-based green cardor employment-based green card. Each year many applicants are awarded green cards in employment-based categories such as:

  • EB-1 Green Card
  • EB-2 Green Card
  • EB-3 Green Card
  • EB-4 Green Card
  • EB-5 Green Card

Permanent US Employment-Based Green Cards

EB-1 Visa (Priority Workers)

The EB-1 Green Card, First Preference visa category was created for priority workers looking to live in the United States.More specifically, those eligible for an EB-1 visa would need to fall under the following categories:

  • EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability
  • EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers
  • EB-1C: Multinational Manager or Executive

EB-2 Visa (Advanced Degree Professionals)

The EB-2 immigrant visa category is within theImmigration Act for those interested in US permanent residency. It was created for foreign nationals who hold an advanced degree, exceptional abilities or are looking to waive their labor certification requirement. The three visas that fall under the second preference category include:

  • EB-2A: Advanced Degree
  • EB-2B: Exceptional Ability
  • EB-2C: National Interest Waiver (NIW)

EB-3 Visa (Skilled, Unskilled, & Professional Workers)

The EB-3 Green Card is a permanent residence category based on work experience. Workers that are competent, professional, or “other” fall into the third preferred group. Those that obtain an EB-3 Green Card who are considered skilled, unskilled, or professional workers

EB-4 Visa (Special Immigrants)

The EB-4 category is an immigrant visa preference category for “exceptional immigrants.” If a person satisfies the qualifications for special immigrant status, they may apply for legal permanent resident (LPR) status in the EB4 category. There are two main categories of the EB-4 visa but in addition to these there are several other categories:

  • Religious Workers
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles

EB-5 Visa (Investors)

The EB-5 immigrant investor visa category was created within theImmigration Actto attract foreign capital to the US and create jobs for American workers in the process. Ultimately, the investor would then be entitled to apply for US permanent residence.

Student and Exchange Visitors

There are a few temporary visas that were created specifically for student and exchange visitors. A lot of those who obtain one of the following have the chance to possibly adjust their status to a green card.


F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 “Academic Student” visa is meant for individuals who plan to study at an academic institution (including accredited colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, and academic high school and elementary schools) or language training program. To qualify, the program in which you are enrolled must culminate in the receipt of a degree, diploma, or certificate and the school must be authorized by the US government to accept international students.

M Student Visas

The M-1 “Vocational Student” visa is meant for students in vocational or other non-academic programs, other than language training.

J -1 Exchange Visitor Visa

The J-1 visa is used by international visitors to enter the United States temporarily for educational or cultural exchange purposes. Participants of theExchange Visitor Program are expected to return to their respective home countries to utilize the skills that they acquire while in the US.

Temporary US Business Visas

B-1 Business Visitor Visa

If you are entering the United States for business purposes, you may require a B-1 visa. The B-1 visa is a very fast and relatively simple means of visiting the United States for business purposes. Canadians, in particular, are usually are not issued formal B-1 visas but rather receive a stamp on their passport admitting them on B-1 Status, which they can obtain at a US/Canadian port of entry.

NAFTA Based Visa

TN Visa

The NAFTA-based TN visa was specifically designed for Canadians and Mexicans looking to work in the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now also referred to as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) allowing these individuals to work in the US as a result in goods, services, or investment trades. The visa is known for being very quick to process and a great option for those looking to avoid the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) requirement.

How To Adjust Your Temporary Status to Green Card

If you didn’t qualify for a permanent residency Green Card, no worries, because you may have the chance to adjust your status in the future. You can do this through any of the EB Green Cards through employment or Family Sponsorship.

Steps to Adjust Temporary Status

  1. Determine if you are eligible for a US Green Card
  2. File your immigrant petition
  3. Check visa availability
  4. File Form I-485
  5. Attend your biometrics appointment
  6. Go to your immigration interview (if needed)
  7. Submit additional supporting documents (if needed)

With so many applicants each year from around the world applying for US Work Permits, it is important to get experienced legal help that will ensure your application package has the best chance of being accepted. Missed or incorrect details can result in a visa refusal, which can be unsettling after all the effort you put into your application. If you are ready to apply for a temporary or permanent US work visa, book a consultation or contact us to speak with an immigration professional.

Call: 1.866.449.5904

Online Assessment

(Video) No In-Person Interview For US Visas: State Department | Interview For Visa USA


What are the 4 types of visas? ›

Which type of visa do you need? Probably 1 of the 4 main types: tourist, immigration, student, or work. U.S. citizens can visit 143 countries and territories without a pre-approved visa.

What is H-1B vs H-2B visa? ›

Difference between H1B and H2B Visa

H-1B visas are for the employment of skilled workforce who possess university degrees and experience in a certain domain. These applicants, if approved, are granted a period of three to six years. Whereas, H-2B visa holders are allowed for one year, with renewal for two years.

What is the easiest work visa to get in the US? ›

The EB-1 Green Card, First Preference visa category was created for priority workers looking to live in the United States. More specifically, those eligible for an EB-1 visa would need to fall under the following categories: EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability.

Can I get a US work visa without sponsorship? ›

Yes, it is possible to obtain a work visa without sponsorship from an employer in the United States. There are three types of visas that allow this, and they are known as EB-1, O-1, and EB-5. An immigration attorney can help with obtaining one of these visas.

How much does a US work visa cost? ›

Visa Types and Application Fee Amounts

The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are US$190. K visas cost US$265 and the fee amount for E visas is US$205.

Who is eligible for H-1B visa? ›

H-1B status is available to a person who has been offered a temporary professional position by a U.S. employer. A bachelor's degree or higher in a related area is the minimum educational level required for a position to qualify for H-1B status, and the H-1B employee must have this degree (or higher).

What is e2 visa USA? ›

What is an E-2 Visa? The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is part of the family of U.S. visas available to citizens or nationals of 30+ countries that have trade treaties with the United States. Individuals with significant funds to invest can come to the U.S with an E-2 visa to set up a business, practice , or office.

What is a j1 visa USA? ›

The J-1 exchange visitor visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Q-1 visa is for participation in certain international cultural exchange programs.

What is an l1 visa in the US? ›

(Intracompany Transferee) The L-1 visa is a temporary work and residence permit for the United States. This work visa category allows internal staff transfers within a company group from the current foreign location to a U.S. location.

How long is b2 visa valid for? ›

While B-1 or B-2 visas may be valid up to 10 years, visitors on B-1 or B-2 will only be permitted to stay in the United States for a short duration (maximum 6 months), as granted by US Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.

Can I get sponsored to work in USA? ›

How can I get sponsorship for a US work visa? Before you can even apply for a US work visa, you must have a job offer from a specific US employer. The employer will then sponsor your visa by filing a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

How fast can you get a US work visa? ›

If a visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is 7-10 working days. At least a further 2-3 workdays should be allowed for delivery. If you are eligible for the 'Interview Waiver Program' and submit your application by courier without attending an interview.

How fast can I get a US work permit? ›

In general, it takes about 150–210 days (5–7 months) for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process Form I-765. Previously, USCIS processed work permit applications within 90 days, but a growing backlog has caused additional delays.

Is it difficult to get work visa in USA? ›

The work visa application process in the United States can be difficult and time-consuming. By doing these actions, you can improve your chances of receiving a work visa and have a prosperous career in the US. Finding employment is the primary need for Indian nationals seeking a work visa for the United States.

Who can sponsor me in USA? ›

All sponsors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be at least 18 years old, and be living in the United States (including territories and possessions) when they file the affidavit of support.

What is the easiest way to immigrate to USA? ›

Immediate relatives are spouses of US citizens, parents of US citizens, and unmarried minor children of US citizens. There is no limit on the number of visas available each year for immediate relatives. Being a US citizen's spouse is the fastest, easiest way to immigrate to the US.

How long can you stay in the US on a work visa? ›

Under U.S. law, a foreign worker with an H-1B visa can stay in the U.S. for a maximum of six years (plus extensions in certain circumstances, discussed below). The H-1B visa and status is initially valid for three years and can then be extended for another three years.

How long does a work visa last in the USA? ›

How long the work permit lasts depends on your current immigration status, or what type of visa you are here on. Most EADs are valid for one year. Obviously, however, no person will be given a work permit that lasts longer than their permitted stay in the United States.

How much bank balance is required for US work visa? ›

How Much Bank Balance is Required to Get a work visa for US? As the permit is of work category, there is no requirement of funds. However, for your own safety, it is suggested to possess enough funds to support your stay until you take up the job.

Is it hard to get H-1B visa? ›

H1B visa requirements can be difficult to meet because you must first be hired by a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor you. Competition for jobs in the United States is fierce, and demand for visas to enter the US grows daily. Furthermore, there is a limit on the number of H1B visas granted each year.

How much money required for H-1B visa? ›

Under the proposed rule, published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday, the application for the H-1B visa increases from USD 460 to USD 780, and L-1 from USD 460 to USD 1,385. The application fee for O-1 visas has been proposed to increase from USD 460 to USD 1,055.

How much does it cost to sponsor H-1B? ›

An H-1B Visa or H-1B transfer will cost you around $5000 (including government fees). H1B attorney fees should costs $2000 to $3000, while filing fees are around $3000. An employer must have enough money in the bank necessary to pay the H1B employee's salary for a reasonable period of time.

What is E3 visa USA? ›

E-3 status provides for entry on a non-permanent basis into the United States. Similar to E-1 and E-2 visa applicants, the E-3 must satisfy the consular officer that s/he intends to depart upon termination of status.

What is E2 vs EB2 visa? ›

The E2 Visa is accessible to nationals of treaty countries. The EB2 Visa is available to any nationality in the world. Timeline: The timeline is the period of time spent processing the visa application.

What is L1 vs E2 visa? ›

The primary difference between L1 and E2 visas* is that L1 visas are employer-sponsored, non-immigrant visas whereas E2 visas* are a type of investor visa that is granted by the US in return for a substantial investment in an approved United States business.

What is J-1 and J-2 visa in USA? ›

The J-2 visa is for a dependent spouse or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21. J-2 status enables dependents to stay in the United States during the J-1 visitor's program. J-1 visitors submit information about J-2 dependents during the J-1 application process.

Who can apply for f2 visa? ›

Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) who accompany the primary visa holder to the U.S. may receive F-2 dependent status.

What is a M visa? ›

An M1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for nonacademic or vocational studies. The visa is issued by the US Department of State after you have been accepted to study at a community or junior college, post-secondary vocational school, or post-secondary business school, with at least 12 semester or quarter hours.

Which is better L1 or H-1B? ›

H1B has stringent requirements while L1 Visa is more suitable for multinationals and is less time consuming than H1B visas. Also, L-1 and H-1B have ˜dual intent in that visa holders in both categories can aim for green card while staying as a nonimmigrant in the United States.

What is L1 visa vs H-1B? ›

H1B Visas are for those candidates who are planning to work as a professional for a US-based company or organization, whereas L1 Visas are for candidates who already work for a foreign branch of a US-based company, or are planning to open operations in the US of a foreign-based company.

What is L4 visa? ›

L4 Issuing limited purpose visas where temporary visa applied for. L5 Direct applications for a limited purpose visa or permit. L6 Policy requirements where direct application for limited purpose visa or permit. L7 Determining direct applications for limited purpose visas or permits.

Can B1 B2 visa be converted to green card? ›

As a B-1/B-2 visitor, you could potentially apply for a green card from within the United States, a process known as “adjustment of status” (AOS). You can also apply from your home country using consular processing.

Can I work in USA with B2 visa? ›

An individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.

Can a US citizen sponsor a friend for a tourist visa? ›

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.

Can I work with B1 B2 visa in US? ›

An individual on a visitor visa (B1/B2) is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.

What is H-1B visa in USA? ›

The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

Can I convert my tourist visa to work visa in USA? ›

The answer is yes, you can, but should you? A change of status means a change in your intention. For example, when you obtain a visa and enter the USA, you would have expressed to the US government your intention of a brief visit. The change in such intention can be construed to be deliberate and preconceived.

Can B1 B2 visa be converted to H-1B? ›

Can I convert B1 visa to H-1B? Individuals can apply for the H-1B visa under the standard application process, provided they meet the visa requirements such as having a qualifying US sponsor.

Is H-1B visa easy to get? ›

As part of those non-immigrant temporary work visa options, the most popular visa type for specialty occupation areas is H1B Visa. Getting a H1B Visa is not easy. Due to very high demand for this visa type, USCIS has been conducting H1B lottery for the last 9 consecutive years.

Is H-1B only for 6 years? ›

H-1B aliens who are already eligible for the AC21 extension benefit, but who have some time left towards their regular 6-year maximum, can use a single petition to extend their stay for the remainder of their 6 year eligibility, as well as for up to a year of AC21 eligibility beyond 6 years.

Which US visa is better L1 or H-1B? ›

H1B has stringent requirements while L1 Visa is more suitable for multinationals and is less time consuming than H1B visas. Also, L-1 and H-1B have ˜dual intent in that visa holders in both categories can aim for green card while staying as a nonimmigrant in the United States.


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