Have you ever wondered how to decide what work visa is best for you, especially if you qualify for more than one? USCIS offers a wide range of different visas that are each suited to unique circumstances. Read on to learn about three important considerations to find the best employment visa for you!

Duration of Stay

The first thing you should consider when seeking a work visa is how long you intend to stay in the United States. There are three general categories of employment visa based on duration of stay: temporary visitor (B-2 visa), temporary (nonimmigrant) worker (such as O-1, H-1B, L-1 visas), and permanent (immigrant) worker (such as EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visas).  The temporary visitor category is for individuals hoping to stay in the United States for a short visit, such as for a contract negotiation or to attend a conference. This category is best suited to people who need to enter the U.S. for a one-time event or purpose. 

The temporary (nonimmigrant) worker and permanent (immigrant) worker visa categories are for people who seek to work for U.S. employers as part time or full-time employees. The nonimmigrant visa category is best for people who want to work in the United States for a short-term period, such as for seasonal employment, to be in a performing art show or on a sports team, to help a foreign company expand in the United States, to temporarily provide skilled labor to a U.S. company, and more. Nonimmigrant work visas typically have an initial stay period of 1-3 years and can generally be renewed or extended for a fixed number of years.

Immigrant worker visa categories are best suited for people seeking to permanently relocate to the United States and eventually obtain a Green Card or citizenship. There are five employment-based (EB) visas that fall under this category. Each visa differs based on the skill level and industry of the worker. EB visas have a direct pathway for the visa holder to obtain a Green Card and be on the pathway to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Type of Industry

Another important consideration for how to choose the best employment visa is the industry that you work in. Different visa categories are often catered to specific industries or groups of industry. For example, the O visa category is well-suited to artists, athletes, academics, and scientists. The L visa category is best for people who are managers, executives, or have specialized knowledge. Most of the visa categories have industries that they are best tailored to, so you will want to consult with your immigration attorney about what visas are ideal for your profession.

Sponsorship Requirements 

Many of the options for employment visas require an employer to sponsor you. Some of these requirements are more stringent than others, such as certain visa categories requiring a labor certification. Additionally, you will want to factor in how long you intend to stay with the employer who sponsored your initial petition. If you plan to change employers, you will likely need to submit a new petition to USCIS with your new sponsor. Additionally, there are some visas where you can self-petition. Be sure to understand the sponsorship requirements and walk through them with your immigration attorney before petitioning for a visa. 

If you would like to learn more about employment visas, contact us for an assessment. We are happy to guide you through the process of building a career in the United States.


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