A variety of US work visas are available to foreign workers
of various skill levels and occupations.
In almost every
case, to apply for a work visa you must already have a firm job
offer with a US company or be able to invest substantial capital
in a new or existing US business. Click
here for US career and job links to help you find a US job..
For a complete list of work visas, see the top right side
of this page. (For information on investing in a US business,
go to our investor visas page.)
Work Visa Categories
Work visas are divided into two main categories: immigrant
work visas and non-immigrant (temporary)
Immigrant work visas allow a worker to live and work permanently
in the US, while a non-immigrant work visa lets a worker stay in
the US for a limited period of time, after which the temporary visa
holder must return to his home country.
Examples of non-immigrant visas include the H-1B
visa for skilled professional and, the L-1
visa for transferring foreign executives and managers to the
US branch of a company. Other temporary visas include religious
worker visas, TN visas for Mexican and
Canadian workers who must regularly commute across the border, and
H-3 job training visas.
How long does it take to get a work visa?
The length of time it takes to get a visa usually correlates inversely
with the applicant's skill level. A top executive at a multinational
company may be able to obtain his immigrant visa almost immediately,
while an unskilled laborer may have to wait up to ten years, even
with a job offer. Details about each visa's application period can
be found by clicking here.
Some work visas, like the H-1B and all the immigrant visas, have
quotas, while others, like the L-1, do not. A quota means that only
a certain number of visas are distributed each year. If you apply
after a given year's quota has been reached, you must apply for
the following year. Click here
for a list of quotas for the different types of visas.
Applicants from countries which have a disproportionate number
of people seeking US work visas, like China, Mexico and the Phillipines,
sometimes face waiting periods. Currently there is no waiting period
for employment-based visas. Please check
our priority dates chart to keep up-to-date on waiting periods.
Free Immigration Consultation
Do you have a question about work visas or would like to apply
for a work visa? Immigration Law Offices offers a free 1/2 hour
consultation with no obligation.
Please click here to contact us online, or call us at (305)