Different Work Visa Categories for the USA

Individuals who are interested to work in the US should determine the various work visa categories before seeking employment.

Foreign workers particularly those with special and unique skills are allowed to work in the United States provided these individuals secure legal permission and accomplish all requirements. The USCIS announced that there are different admission prerequisites, conditions and approved periods for every employment category. Applicants must conform to very rigid application policies and procedures in securing US immigration visas. Violations will lead to denial of entry to the country.

Basic Classifications of Workers

The first is the temporary worker seeking to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. This is for a short-term duration and the non immigrant visa restricts the person to the purpose or activity that the visa was issued. On the other hand, the permanent immigrant worker is given the authority to live and work in the U.S. In certain cases, students and exchange visitors may be given permission to work if given an authorization by officials from their college or university. This authorized official is referred to as Designed School Official (DSO) for students and Responsible Officer (RO) for exchange visitors. The appropriate student visa is given to them.

Employers in the United States must check if prospective employees or those who want to continue employment have been given authorization to work in the U.S. These persons granted permanent residency, refugee and asylum status or classified as non-immigrant workers can obtain employment approval due to their visa immigration status. For those who want to engage in business, it is necessary to secure the B-1 visa or temporary visitor for business. This is the rule unless you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. Nearly 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are open to qualified applicants under the stipulations of US immigration policy every fiscal year.

Employment Preferences

The first-preference applicant is the E1 (Priority Workers). This individual must receive an approved Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker) which should be filed with the USCIS. There are three subgroups and certification from the labor department is not necessary. The three are individuals with exceptional capability in arts, sciences, business, education, and sports; outstanding academic faculty members and researchers with three years experience in international teaching or research; and, managers or executives of conglomerates who have been employed for at least one year by the “overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.”

Second-preference applicant (E2) must obtain duly-approved labor certification as per US immigration laws. These are for “professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability.” The two subgroups are professionals holding an advanced degree or baccalaureate degree with five years progressive experience in said profession and individuals with incomparable ability in arts, business or sciences.

The third preference applicant (E3) is made up of “skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled Workers.” This category of workers must possess the approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) which should be filed by the potential employer with the USCIS. There are three subgroups: skilled workers, with two years of experience and training; professionals who have a baccalaureate degree from an American university or college or foreign equivalent degree; and, unskilled workers with less than two years of training.