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Short primer on US Visas for guest workers

 
What kind of visas are there for foreign workers?

The H-1B is by far the most popular of visas for guest workers. The regulations for an H-1B require a “specialty occupation”: a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to:

  • architecture,
  • engineering,
  • mathematics,
  • physical sciences,
  • social sciences,
  • medicine and health,
  • education,
  • law,
  • accounting,
  • business specialties,
  • theology, and the arts

Most or all of these specialties require the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum. Likewise, the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.

The duration of stay is 3 years, extendible to 6. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances: (i) 1 year extensions if a labor certification application has been filed and is pending for at least 365 days; and (ii) 3 year extensions if an I-140 has been approved.

 
Types of US Visas

 

Visa.
Who is this visa for:
Family & Notes
A-1 The A-1 nonimmigrant visa is given to diplomats representing a foreign government inside the USA. Spouses and dependents are also eligible for this visa.
A-2 The A-2 nonimmigrant visa is given to officials representing a foreign government inside the USA. Spouses and dependents are also eligible for this visa.
A-3 The A-2 nonimmigrant visa is given to employees of A-1 and A-2 visa holders representing a foreign government inside the USA. Spouses and dependents are also eligible for this visa.
B-1 The B-1 non immigrant visa is given to people who wish to conduct business transactions inside the USA. This visa is deigned to allow people to conduct business while in the US, but does not allow the holder to actually be gainfully employed or to run a business in the USA. B1 Visa is always issued together with B2 visa and is called B1/B2. It embodies 2 different reasons for travel. First is Business and second is Tourism.
B-2 Visa for tourism connected to the B-1 B-1 and B-2 are issued together.
E-2 Investor Visa. There is no minimum investment, approximately $150,000 invested in the US is considered enough. An investor must "contribute" to the US economy. The investor must hire US citizens or residents. Nationals of India and China not eligible.
E-3 Australian Visa. Similar to an H-1B, but only Australian citizens are eligible. spouses of E-3 visa holders may work in the United States without restrictions. Spouses and children do not need to be Australian citizens.
EB-5 The EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest at least $1,000,000 USD, creating at least 10 jobs. In certain regional centers with high unemployment rates, the required investment amount is only $500,000.
F-1 Student Visa F-1 students must not work in the US without prior authorization from Citizenship & Immigration Services
H-1B Foreign Guest Worker - the foreign worker must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and state licensure, if required to practice in that field. H-1B work-authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer.
H-2A Agricultural Worker Visa. An H-2A visa allows a foreign national entry into the U.S. for temporary or seasonal agricultural work. The H-2A certification is valid for up to 364 days
H-4 This visa is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders. H-4 visa holders are not allowed employment in US and are not eligible to get a Social Security Number and cannot be employed, but can hold a driver's license, open bank account(s) and get ITIN for IRS Tax purpose.
J-1 Visitor (Exchange Student) Visa - A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa to expose foreign students and to the unique culture and heritage of the United States. Students must meet certain eligibility criteria and be sponsored by a private sector or government program. Exchange visitors are expected to leave the United States at the completion of their program and return to their home country.
K-1 A K-1 visa is a United States non-immigrant visa benefiting fiancés and fiancées of US citizens.  
L-1 An L-1 visa (Relocation) is a a non immigrant visa, L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both a home country and the United States, or which intend to open a new office in the United States while maintaining their home country interests. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation's US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one year prior to being granted L-1 status. The US office must be a parent company, child company, or sister company to the foreign company. Valid for a relatively short amount of time - generally three years.
L-2 An L-2 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States by the dependent spouse and minor unmarried children of qualified L-1 visa holders. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is onlyvalid for the duration of the spouse's L1 visa.
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa - The O-1 classification is a type of employment visa under United States immigration law that applies to aliens who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and who are coming temporarily to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize would qualify someone for this visa.
P-1 Athletes - The P classification is a type of temporary employment visa, under United States immigration law, that applies to foreign-based athletes and entertainment groups.  
P-2 Entertainers  
P-3 Entertainers in a culturally unique group  
P-4 Families of "P" visa holders  
T A T visa is a type of visa allowing certain victims of Human trafficking to remain in the United States if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators.  
TN TN (Trade NAFTA) status is a special immigration status unique to citizens of Canada and Mexico.  
V Families of Green Card Holders. The V visa is a temporary visa available to spouses and minor children (unmarried, under 21) of U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPR, also known as green card holders). It allows permanent residents to achieve family unity with their spouses and children while the immigration process takes its course.

H-1B visa

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