Career Advice

Types of U.S. Employment-Based Visas

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Being the largest economy on the planet, the United States is a popular destination for workers. People from all over the world wish to move to the U.S. to work. The country’s sustained economy is reliant on immigrants as well.

Foreign workers who want to move to the United States have a range of visa options. In this guide, we will explore a few of the common types of U.S. work visas. Moreover, we will highlight the requirements of each visa.


Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas

A temporary non-immigrant visa is suitable for someone who wants to work in the United States. Usually, your potential employer applies for this visa type with the USCIS. However, the employee still has to apply for a visa before entering the United States.

Within this category, there are many visa types. Some of the popular non-immigrant work visas are the following.

H Visas

With a residency cap of three years, H visas are quite popular. The H-1B visa is designed for professionals and people with special expertise.

To become eligible, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and a bachelor’s degree. In addition, your employer needs to prove that there is no qualified applicant for this job in the United States.

For peak load or seasonal demand, there are H-2A and H2B visas. These visas are introduced for agriculture and non-agricultural demands. Usually, these visas are offered for a year with no extension.

H-3 visas are available for people who want to complete their training in the United States. Once they complete their training, they will pursue their careers outside the United States.

I Visas

I visas are introduced for foreign journalists. Your company must have a home office in a foreign country. Some of the people who can get this visa include reporters, editors, crews, and more. In addition, people who are associated with film, radio, and print media can apply for this visa.

Normally, this visa has no duration limit until you are working for the same company.

L Visas

Employers who want to move their employees to the United States can apply for this visa. The visa is available for people with specialized knowledge (L-1B) or managers and executives (L-1A). Both visas come with a duration of three years and they can be extended up to 5 and 7 years.

Moreover, spouses and unmarried children can also come to the United States under an L2 visa.

Foreign workers who want to move to the United States have a range of visa options. In this guide, we will explore a few of the common types of U.S. work visas. Moreover, we will highlight the requirements of each visa.Click To Tweet

O Visas

People with exceptional achievements and extraordinary abilities can apply for O visas. The visa is also available for someone who travels with a person of exceptional achievement. It can be extended to a family member as well.

R Visas

Religious workers can obtain these visas who are a member of a religious group. They must have non-profit status in the United States. In addition, they are coming to the country to work with the non-profit cause.

P Visas

Athletes or artistic people who stand out in performance can apply for this visa. This visa can be extended to people who accompany the performer. Usually, these events are available for events.

TN Visa

TN visas are introduced for specialized Mexican and Canadian citizens who want to get temporary entry to the U.S. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, they can involve in business endeavors.

Permanent Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)

Each year, the United States offers about 140,000 employment-based Green Cards. Having the right combination of skill set, education, eligibility, and expertise can help you obtain a green card. Most commonly, you need a job offer from a certified employer from the U.S. Department of Labor.


With strict eligibility criteria, the EB-1 visa has the quickest processing time. Moreover, it doesn’t require U.S.-based employer sponsorship. However, it is designed only for those who excel in their fields. Hence, a small percentage of candidates meet the conditions of this visa.


EB-2 visas are the second priority and are designed for people who have advanced degrees or proven work experience. Similar to EB-1, this visa also avoids the PERM Labor Certification criteria.


This visa type is designed for a wide range of applicants including skilled and unskilled workers. However, you have to meet the PERM Labor Certification criteria to become eligible.

The Bottom Line

The United States requires a continuous flow of immigrants to maintain its economy. Hence, there are a number of employment-based visas that allow you to move to the U.S. The above-listed visas are the most popular options to work in Canada. Choose the best visa type for you and consult with an immigration lawyer. They will be able to guide you regarding how to make the next move. Best of luck!

Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist.  He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration.  He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.”  He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).  Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.

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