U.S. Immigration Work Visas

Before a foreign national can engage in employment within the United States, proper work authorization must be obtained. Work Authorization is most often obtained by filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you are seeking employment, seek to employ a foreign national, or have received an offer of employment, and have not received employment authorization, you cannot begin your employment until you receive employment authorization.

The following is a list of U.S. employment authorization categories:

1. Persons authorized to work by nature of their immigration status:

  • K3/K4 Nonimmigrant Visa – Immigration law allows the alien spouse of a U.S. citizen and his or her minor children to be admitted to the United States as nonimmigrants while they are awaiting the adjudication of a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. It also allows them to obtain employment authorization while they are waiting.
  • T1 Victims of Human Trafficking
  • U1 Victims of Criminal Activity

2. Persons authorized to work for a specific employer:

  • H-1B Specialty Occupations and Fashion Models – This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
  • I Representative of Foreign Media – This visa category applies to representatives of foreign media. Occupations under the I visa includes: reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations.
  • L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager – The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
  • L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge – The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.
  • E-1 Treaty Traders – The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.
  • E-2 Treaty Investors – The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
  • O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement – The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
  • P-1A Internationally Recognized Athlete –  The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.
  • P-1B Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group – The P-1B classification applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
  • P-3 Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program – The P-3 classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.
  • R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers – An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation.
  • TN NAFTA Professionals – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.

3. Persons who must apply for permission to work:

  • K1 Fiancé(e) Visa – The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
  • TPS – The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
  • V Nonimmigrant Visa – The V visa is a nonimmigrant visa created to allow families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas.
  • Refugee – A refugee is someone who is located outside of the United States, is of special humanitarian concern to the United States, demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, is not firmly resettled in another country, and is admissible to the United States
  • Parolee – A parolee is an alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit.

4. Some persons who have filed an adjustment of status application.

Generally, persons who fall within the first, third and fourth categories must apply for work authorization prior to working in the United States.

If you are an individual, employee or employer, and require assistance to obtain authorization to work within the United States, contact Us today!

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