Work Visa USA
United States immigration and visa services are notoriously complicated and living and working in the USA is possible through a range of options. The US Green Card, obtainable under several categories, is the most well known, however the USA offers a range of non-immigrant visas for employees. Applying for a Green Card takes several years and it is better to begin with a temporary work visa USA and proceed to permanent lawful residence once in the country.
At Global Visas our specialist US immigration lawyers and migration consultants are fully equipped to help you obtain the best American visa for your needs. To find out whether you qualify for a work visa USA visit our online assessment area today. Just take a moment to complete our assessment form and a Global Visas consultant will respond to you.
USA Non-Immigrant Visas
The USA offers non-permanent employment visa solutions in the form of H visas and L visas, the former for skilled migrants relocating to the USA, the latter for people transferring to USA firm from a foreign branch or subsidiary. In all cases, USA work permits are employer led and applicants relocating to the USA via a work visa must have an offer of employment.
USA Employment Visas – H1 and H2
The H1-B visa allows skilled individuals to immigrate to the USA in speciality occupations only. H1-B visas are granted for a maximum duration of six years with an initial grant of 3 years followed by an extension of 2 years and a final extension of 12 months. Although the H1-B is a non-immigrant visa, it is common to enter the USA through this visa service, then begin proceedings for an employment based Green Card. Obtaining a Green Card is a long process and applying once in the USA is usually favoured by employers and candidates alike.
Candidates must possess a qualification equivalent to a 4 years US bachelor’s degree, or a combination of a degree and relevant work experience. H1-B visas allow for spouse immigration and dependent immigration, however, such family members are issued with an H4 visa which does not permit them to begin working in the USA until they obtain USA work authorisation.
The H2-B visa is designed for temporary immigration to the USA by candidates who do not fulfil a “speciality occupation”. For H2-B visas the job offered must undergo strict labour market testing to justify hiring a non-USA permanent resident or USA citizen. H2-B visas are usually for a period of one year, which may be extended to three years on a year-by-year basis. These visas do not provide a route to permanent immigration; they have few eligibility requirements and are intended specifically for short-term employment. Candidates will be obliged to return to their county of residence upon the expiry of their visa.
USA Work Permits – L1A and L1B
In the USA visas in this category, sometimes referred to as intra company transfers, allow a USA company to bring employees from their overseas operations to fulfil specific roles in the US. L1 visas, like H1-B visas are often preferred by employers as the processing time is less than that of a full employment based USA Green Card. L1 visas, granted for an initial period of three years but extendable to seven, are often used as a means of bringing a potential migrant to the USA, allowing them to begin Green Card proceedings once in the country.
Candidates may be issued with either an L1A visa or an L1B visa; the former category for those moving to the USA in an executive or managerial role, the latter for those with specific and crucial experience of the company’s products and services. As with H1-B Visas, the spouse and/or dependent children are permitted to join the main applicant in the USA. These family members will be granted an L2 visa, however, they will not be permitted to work until they have successfully obtained US work authorisation.
USA Immigrant Visas, USA Green Cards
Employment Based Green cards for the USA or EB visas usually require a USA job offer to be in place. Only in some categories of the EB-1 Green Card is this requirement unnecessary. Employment Based Green Cards are divided into five tiers as set out below:
The US EB-1 visa is a permanent immigration service designed to cater for the most highly skilled migrants who will contribute most to the US economy. EB-1 visas are subdivided into the following categories:
Candidates with Extraordinary Ability – for applicants with international acclaim in their field. The definition of ‘extraordinary’ is crucial to this category and success will be based upon the candidate having received a major international award, or upon criteria including published scientific or artistic material, and evidence of contributions of key significance in their field.
Outstanding Professor or Researcher – For applicants who can demonstrate a minimum of three years experience in teaching or research with evidence of outstanding contributions to their field. This may be in the form of a major international award, membership of achievement based academic organisations or published and respected works.
Multinational Executive or Manager – for candidates employed by the petitioning firm for more than a year who will function in a high-level managerial capacity in the USA. The role undertaken must involve directing a major component of the enterprise with contributions to the policies of the overall entity and the power to hire and dismiss other employees.
The second tier of American Green Cards requires all candidates to have a job offer in place. EB-2 visas can be subdivided as follows.
EB-2(A) – For candidates with “advanced degrees” – i.e. applicants in possession of a Masters Degree or higher qualification.
EB-2(B) – For candidates showing ‘exceptional’ ability in either business, the art or the sciences.
EB-2(C) - For candidates who can demonstrate that their presence in the USA will substantially benefit the national interest. All applicants must have either an advanced degree or evidence of exceptional ability.
US EB-3 visas encompass a range of applicants in the categories of ‘professionals’, ‘skilled workers’, and ‘other workers’. At this level, all positions being offered to non-USA nationals must undergo labour market testing to prove that the job could not have been performed by an existing US permanent resident or citizen. Whilst the professional and skilled worker categories require relevant qualifications and experience, the other workers category does not. However, due to high levels of applications this route may take much longer.
US EB-4 visas are designed for religious workers immigrating to the USA although the EB-4 category also covers a range of other specific groups. Including Foreign Medical Graduates, Returning Permanent US Residents and Former Employees of the U.S. Government or Armed Forces. A Global Visas immigration consultant will be able to advise you of the specific requirements and groups of candidates to whom this category applies.
The USA EB-5 visa is a relatively new addition to the system of United States Green cards, and is often referred to as a US investor visa. This visa is designed for those who will be making a significant investment in the USA economy by starting a new enterprise. The requirements of this type of US Green Card visa are more fluid than the other employment visas, however, eligibility is based upon the ability to create a minimum of 10 positions of employment and to invest a minimum of USD $1000,000.
Visit our online assessment area today to begin your US visa application. Our assessment forms are quick and easy to complete; just answer a few simple questions and one of our consultants will contact you directly.