There may be any number of reasons you’re researching temporary work visas to the U.S. If you live abroad, you may be coming to work and send money back to family, or maybe you have a unique business opportunity or offer of employment.
Along with people who want to come to the U.S. to work temporarily, these types of visas are also of interest to U.S. employers and businesses. Many employers are having a hard time filling employment positions because unemployment in the U.S. is low and there is also a shortage of skilled labor.
If you are a citizen of a foreign country and you’re planning to come to the U.S. for most any reason, you will need to get a visa. There are quite a few different types of visas.
The following are some general things to know about getting a visa to do business or temporarily work in the U.S.
Temporary Worker Visa Overview
When it comes to visas in general, they can be divided into two very broad categories. The first category is for visas that allow employment and the other group is those visas that would allow a traveler to come to the U.S. to visit but not to work.
In the case of temporary work visas, sometimes the foreign employee can apply and seek one out, but in other cases, the visa has to be obtained by the employer to bring the potential employee to the U.S.
The H-1B visa is for workers who are in a specialty occupation. The U.S. government defines what a specialty occupation is. Specialty occupations require a high level of specialized knowledge. There is typically a minimum requirement that applicants have a bachelor’s or four-year college degree.
To qualify for an H-1B visa, the worker would need to show that not only they have the specialized knowledge for a certain position, but also that there is a position or demand for that knowledge.
The H-1B temporary work visa allows approved applicants to stay in the U.S. for three years at a time, and they can extend their time in the U.S. for up to six years. When someone has an H-1B visa, they are required to continue working for the employee who sponsored them while they’re in the U.S.
Along the lines of the H-1B visa is the H-1A, which is for registered nurses, specifically.
Other Worker Visas
While the H-1B visa is one of the most common that people apply for to work temporarily in the U.S., there are others. For example, there is the L-1, which is an intra-company transferee visa. There are also O-1 and O-2 visas which are geared toward temporary workers in the sciences.
The TC visa classification is for a professional business worker who can come to the U.S. under the U.S. Canada Free Trade Act (NAFTA), and along those lines, there’s also the TN, which is for professional business workers who are admitted under NAFTA.
Finally, there are H-2 visas as well. These temporary work visas are for jobs in agriculture and other areas of the economy where there are limited U.S. workers. All H visas do require that applicants have an offer of employment from an employer in the U.S, and the wages for the position have to be comparable to other positions within that occupation.