Work Visa USA Guide (How to apply, what are types, requirement, process, time, cost, rejection, documents, eligibility)


Everything About US work visa

Apart from all the tourist or visitor passes, if you (foreigner) are willing to work in the United States, then they should definitely start making plans to apply for the US work visa. This US visa grants the foreign workers to immigrate and start working in a US-based company. No doubt, getting employed in the United States is quite a difficult task. But by referring to the below guide will give you an idea about what more you can do to increase the chances of immigration and getting employed in the US.

However, if your spouse is a US citizen and you wish to join your spouse and stay in the US permanently without losing the citizenship of your originating country, then you should apply for Marriage Green Card. For complete details check our marriage green card USA Guide.

What is US Work Visa?

The USA’s work visa is mainly for the people who are willing to temporarily get employed in the United States for a specific period. The time will be mentioned in the employment contract that you will receive from the employer or in your Visa application. Remember, this type of visa doesn’t grant you to stay and work in the United States permanently.

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Work Visa USA Types

There are several types of United States work visas based on the type of work you wish to do in the United States.

Few types of US temporary work visas are as follows:

H1B visa: Person in Specialty Occupation.

This temporary work visa is issued to a foreign worker who is willing to get employed in the United States. This type of work visa is for those people who are willing to get employed in special occupations. In order to get qualified for getting employed in a specialty occupation, you must have a higher education degree. Some of the higher education degrees include fashion models of distinguished merit and ability to government research and development or in the co-production projects accredited by the Department of defense.

H-1B1 visa: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional – Chile, Singapore

In order to start working in the specialty profession, the worker will require acquiring a post-secondary degree, which includes a minimum of four years of study in the field of specialization. Another essential thing to remember is that this is not a petition-based visa.

H-2A visa: Temporary Agricultural Worker.

This type of United States work visa is only limited to the US citizen or the national of the designated country. Also, there are several exceptions for this visa only if the motive is contributing for United States.

H-2B visa: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker.

This visa is also limited to only citizens or the nationals of the designated country, along with the limited exceptions only if contributed towards the United States’ interest.

H-3 visa: training of unique education visitor.

This is another type of work visa in the United States. This visa is only for the people who are willing to receive training other than academic or medical graduates, which is not provided in the applicant’s home country.

I visa: Representatives of Foreign Media.

This visa is mainly for the journalist or those willing to get employed in the media sector in the United States.

L1 visa: Intracompany Transferee.

This Visa is for applicants willing to work at branch affiliate, parent, or a subsidiary of the current employer in managerial or position having the vacancy in specialized knowledge. Only those applicants qualify for this Visa appointed by the same employer in abroad country continuously for one year in the previous three years.

P-1 visa: Individual or Team Athlete, or Member of an Entertainment Group.

P-1 Visa is another type of US work visa issued to the people who are willing to perform as an athlete or join any entertainment group. You will only qualify for this Visa if you are recognized for this performance at an international level.

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Work Visa USA Qualifications

Here are some of the conditions that every applying candidate needs to fulfill in order to obtain a US work visa. If you did not meet any of the conditions and still apply for the US work visa, then the embassy processing your work visa will deny your application, and hence you will not be able to work in the United States. Some of the qualifications of the US work visa are listed below:

Have a job offer in the U.S

In order to qualify for a work visa in the United States, you will require having a confirmed job offer. The reason behind this condition is that the US embassy demands some additional documents that need to be provided by your employer so that you can proceed with the visa application.

Approved petition by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Another most essential part of your US work visa qualification criteria is that prior to applying for a US work visa, your employer’s responsibility is to first file the nonimmigrant worker petition with USCIS. This petition is also known as the I-129 form.

This form plays one of the efficient roles in applying for the US work visa. Once the petition filed by the employer and gets approved by USCIS, you can proceed to apply for the United States work visa. Always remember approval of the petition form doesn’t signify that you will automatically obtain a US work visa.

While filing the US work visa, if there was any mistake in providing the complete documentation, USCIS might reject your US work visa application.

Labor certification approval by the Department of Labor (DOL)

Another qualification is obtaining the certification from DOL that needs to be completed by the employer, especially for those who are applying for the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, and H-2B. Before your employer applies for the petition form, they first required to apply for the Department of labor certificate on your behalf.

The United States immigration authority asked for this certification, confirming that you need workers to fill the vacant position. Also, the employer is required to present proof that those positions is not for United States employees. It is only for foreign workers. However, this certification is also to ensure that the hiring of foreign workers will not impact job opportunities for United States citizens negatively.

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US Work Visa Requirements

Apart from all the above qualifications that need to be completed by the hiring employer, here are some of the documents that need to be presented by you while filling the visa application:

  • You will require presenting a valid passport. It should be valid throughout your stay in the United States and should be valid for additional six months after you leave the US.
  • The passport-size photo needs to be uploaded while completing the online visa application form.
  • Also, you will require the receipt number, which you will get upon the approval of your petition form for the non-immigrant worker, which your employer filed.
  • Take the printout of the confirmation page, which you will get once you have completed your nonimmigrant visa application DS-160 form.
  • You will also require having the receipt showing evidence that you have already paid the Visa application fee. The application fee for the US work visa is $190. The US Visa application fee may vary depending on your location from where you are applying for the US work visa. So before you apply for the work visa, it’s better to enquire about the fees by visiting the local embassy.

You will have to declare that you have an intention to return to your home country once your duration of work in the United States gets over. This condition is for all US work visa holders other than H- 1B visa and L visa. In order to prove that you will return to your home country, you will require presenting the following documents:

  • You will require submitting proof showing your economic situation.
  • Relationship with your family and ties with your home country
  • Proof of the long-term plans

Apart from all other above-given documents, which is generally for all the applicants who are willing to acquire the US work visa, there are several other documents that you might require to submit. For the requirement of additional documents, it’s better to consult the local US embassy and get complete information about the required documents that need to be submitted.

Work Visa USA Application Procedures

Once you have met all the required conditions and prepare all the documents needed for your visa application, it’s time to proceed with your US work visa application. Here are few steps which you need to follow in order to apply for US work visa:

The first step is to duly fill the online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160 and take the printout of the confirmation page.

Ensure that the information which you entered while filling the application form DS-160 should be correct. Because if you submit any incorrect information, it will be sufficient for the USCIS to reject your work visa application. Hence, you will have to apply for the work visa application from the beginning. You will find the DS-160 form in multiple languages but always remember you will have to fill the form only in the English language as USCIS considers only those applications that are in English.

If your documents are in any other language, then it better to hire reliable agency for Immigration Document Translation Services (USCIS).

Schedule your interview

As you know, almost thousands of people are applying for the US work visa every day so whenever your meet all the requirement ensure to schedule your interview as soon as possible. If you are below 13 years of age or more than 80 years of age, then for those applicants, it is not mandatory to schedule the Visa interview. But for the people who are in between 14 and 79 years of age, those applicants need to undergo visa interviews.

Attend the interview

Attending the visa application interview is the final stage of your visa application. Considering the interview and the information that you provided while completing the DS-160 will decide if you are approved for obtaining the US work visa or not. That’s why all the immigrants need to prepare for the interview properly, professionally present themselves, and don’t forget to bring the supporting document while visiting for the interview. Also, whatever question is asked from you during the visa interview, without any hesitation, respond to all the questions correctly. If an officer taking your visa interview detects something suspicious, they will immediately deny your visa application.

Complete additional procedures

You will be asked to register the digital fingerprint either during, after, or prior to the visa interview based on where you are applying and also pay the additional fees if required. After your application has been processed, then you will require paying the visa card issuance fees. Visa card issuance fees depend on from which country you are applying.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

The United States government provides few rights to the temporary workers who are willing to get employed in the United States. These rights will prevent them from any exploitation and violations, and they can easily enjoy the rights without getting terminated. For example, suppose any individual misbehaves with you and try to violate your right in the United States, and you file a report against that individual, then in such a situation, your Visa will not be terminated, and the US government can’t deport you to your home country only if your Visa is still valid.

Officials of the homeland security and other US immigration departments grant you to enter the United States. However, you have a right to extend your stay in the United States if you wish to work for a longer period. Moreover, if your US work visa becomes invalid or gets expired, then you will not be granted to stay in the United States. If you do so, you will not be granted to apply for any work visa in the future.

Also, you have an option to apply for the visa for your spouse and children in the same visa category that you have acquired:

  • In case you are an H visa holder, then your spouse and children can only apply for the H-4 Visa.
  • If you hold L Visa, your spouse and children will only be liable to apply for an L-2 visa.
  • For the O visa holders, your dependent will be allowed to apply only for an O-3 visa.
  • Suppose you hold a P visa, then your children and spouse must apply for a P- 4 visa.
  • Those applicants who hold Q Visa, their children, and spouses must apply for Q-3 visas.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Work Visa?

It usually takes up to 2 to 7 months for United States citizenship and immigration services to process the work permit application. Also, your work visa processing time will be based on the type of work you are applying for. Since, due to workloads, it is impossible to tell the exact time taken by the US government to process your work visa application. Still below given us some of the estimated processing time for some most common US work visas:

E-2 Visas:

The estimated time taken by the US embassy or USCIS to process the E-2 visa is up to 4 to 6 weeks. Also, it depends on the number of work visa applications the US embassy or USCIS is handling at a time.

H-1B Visas:

The estimated time taken to process the H- 1B visa application is often three to six months. The processing time of the visa application might vary.

L-1 Visas:

The processing time taken to process the L–1 visa application is somewhere between 3 to 4 months. But, applying candidates can ask for the rapid processing time to get the response within 1 to 3 weeks.


This US work visa typically takes up to 2 to 3 months to get process. If an applicant wishes to get a rapid response regarding the application, candidates can speed up their visa process at additional fees.

What is a Labor Conditions Application?

A Labor conditions application is a type of certification issued only to the US-based company to appoint a foreign worker. The US Department of labor issues this certification. Labour condition application provides the ride to the US-based company to hire employees who are not US citizens.

The labor condition application system work as a evidence that the US-based company is needs to appoint foreign workers because, in the US, there are no workers who are willing to work at that job position or not qualified. Also, it will be mentioned that US workers do not face any discrimination, and they will also get the good work environment. Therefore, without this document, no US-based company is granted to hire a foreign employee.

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What is an Employment Petition?

An employment petition is also one of the most important elements when applying for the US work visa. This form needs to be submitted by the US-based Company that are willing to hire foreign workers. The US employers have submitted this petition form with USCIS; the form will contain few basic details like salary, qualifications, and job positions of the foreign worker.

While completing and submitting the petition form on behalf of the foreign worker, it is the responsibility of the US employers to pay a fee processing fee for the petition form. Also, US employer has to include the supporting documents in the petition form to ensure that their company can easily afford to hire foreign employees. However, the company has paid off all the taxes and holds Labor Certification Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.

What is an Employment Authorization Document?

Those immigrants who have obtained US non-immigrant visas are not granted to work in the United States until they hold a work permit. The work permit is commonly known as Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You will immediately get the EAD once your US work visa is approved.

This document enables the foreign individual to work in the US-based company lawfully for a longer time. Once your spouse meets the eligibility criteria, they will also get liable to acquire EAD. If you wish to extend your work visa, always remember to apply for your employment authorization document extension. In order to get more details about the employment authorization document, you can check our complete guide on EAD.


What is the minimum bank balance requirement for the US work visa applicant?

There are no mandatory requirements of the bank balance for the US work visa applicant. However, as per the reports, it has been recommended that a bank balance between $5,000 to 10,000 is enough to show.

Can I get sponsored to work in the USA?

In order to get eligible to work in the United States, it is mandatory to have a confirmed US job offer. In addition, those US company employers who wish to appoint foreign workers have to sponsor your work visa application. At first, the employer has to file the petition form on your behalf, and then you need to proceed with the actual visa application form.

How do I extend my work visa in the USA?

If you wish to stay for the longer period in the United States, then you will require submitting the request for a pass extension with USCIS by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, prior to your current work visa expires.

How many times can you renew a work visa?

Since the employment authorization document (EAD) is valid for one-two years. But if you still wish to stay in the United States, you have the option to request for renewal four months before the expiry of your work permit. You can find the details of the EAD expiry at the front of your card.

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The above information regarding the US work visa was sufficient for every applicant to understand what you can do to get employed in the United States.

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