By | 2022-12-04

If you have visited the United States in the past and would like to move there to work, you may be wondering what the requirements are to do so. You will probably already know that you are unable to work in the U.S. on a visitor visa, but what you might not know is that work visas are not issued by the United States for casual employment. In fact, you can usually only work in the U.S. if you meet specific criteria and if you have an offer of employment.

What this means is that you will need to have a job offer before you can apply for a work visa. You cannot apply for a work visa and then head over to the U.S. looking for work. So, what else do you need?

Working in the United States

There are various petition-based visas available to foreign workers and the one that you apply for will depend on the job you will be doing. Because of the complex nature of immigration law in the U.S., it may be worthwhile hiring an immigration attorney in Lehi. The experts at Graham Adair tell us that those hoping to secure a specialty occupation in the U.S. will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and will apply for a H-1B visa.

For those working in a seasonal job where there is a shortage of U.S. workers, a H-2 visa should be applied for. A H-3 visa is for those who are traveling to the U.S. for training purposes in a field other than medical. The training must not be available in the individual’s home country, and it should not be a way of providing productive employment.

Sometimes, large international companies will transfer individuals from a branch in another country to one in the U.S. In this case, the employer will need to apply for an L-1 intra-company transfer visa.

There are also work visas available for religious workers, persons with extraordinary ability such as athletes and artists, and those on a cultural exchange program.

Specialist Skills

Those individuals with a specialist skill will find it easier to get a work visa. Employers struggling to find suitable applicants in the United States may look abroad for skilled workers. This will often be for jobs in fields such as mathematics, social sciences, IT, and finance.

Applying for a Work Visa

In many cases, employees will need to apply for a work visa by themselves. This is typically done through the United States embassy or consulate in the country the applicant happens to live in. To apply for a visa, you will likely need to complete an online DS-160 form and then pay an application fee before scheduling an interview.

You will need a number of documents, such as your passport, evidence of any previously issued visas, and a letter from your employer if appropriate. If you have ever been arrested, convicted, or cautioned, you are required to declare this information. You will also need to declare any existing medical conditions that you might have. You may be asked to supply other documents, such as evidence of your skills and education.


A nonimmigrant visa will allow you to work temporarily in the United States. These visas are only awarded under certain circumstances, such as for those with specific skills, seasonal workers for sectors where there is a shortage of U.S. workers, and intra-company transfers.

The laws around work visas are complex, so it may be worth hiring an immigration attorney to help with the application process.

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