When you come to the United States for a job opportunity, it can be exciting and challenging all at the same time. Understanding your options ahead of filing for a work visa may help ease your stress.
First, it’s essential to decide whether you want to make the most out of a short-term stay in the country or plan to stay indefinitely. From there, you’ll want to review some of the most common temporary and permanent work visas.
Seizing an opportunity
There are several reasons you may seek a temporary work visa. You may hope it opens the door for permanent work, want to land an internship or use your unique skill set to help fill a gap or worker shortage. Depending on your goals, here are some typical temporary work visas to consider:
- H1-A: This visa allows registered nurses to come to the country and fill in where they are needed.
- H1-B: Like H1-A, the H1-B is for individuals that can add their individualized knowledge to a job in a specific field. These individuals must already have skills in the role they seek, plus a corresponding bachelor’s degree. For example, a company might be hiring computer programmers for a project that’s almost identical to the one you just wrapped up. Having your Bachelor of Science degree and relevant work experience may strengthen your application.
- H2: The H2 allows agricultural workers to take openings where immediate help is needed.
Laying down roots
If you have a full-time job offer on the line or hoping to stay permanently in California or somewhere else in the U.S., filing for a permanent work visa will likely be your best bet. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives out 140,000 permanent work visas each year. These are the five visa types offered:
- EB-1: USCIS gives out EB-1 visas to exceptional individuals in business, education, sciences, arts or athletics. One example is an athlete who signs with a professional association.
- EB-2: This category of visas goes to individuals with advanced degrees, like masters or doctorate degrees, or highly skilled artists, scientists and businesspeople.
- EB-3: Workers who can offer a specific, in-need skill can seek an EB-3.
- EB-4: An EB-4 is a special category of visa given to individuals in nontraditional jobs and those not exactly looking for work. EB-4 visa recipients include but aren’t limited to religious workers and retired individuals who served a role in an international organization.
- EB-5: This last visa type is specifically for business investors who plan to create a company and hire at least 10 full-time employees.
All visa types mentioned have many qualifications and exceptions. You can speak to a legal professional to learn more about what steps to take next as you file for a visa.