Overview

  • H-1B – This is the visa most companies use to hire foreign professional workers.  The job must be professional in nature, meaning the duties of the position are so specialized in nature that an individual must possess at least a Bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree in the field or a related field.  There is an annual cap on H-1B visas.
  • H-4 – This is the status held by spouses and minor children under the age of 21 of individuals who hold valid H-1B professional worker status.  In certain circumstances, a person in H-4 dependent status can also obtain work authorization.
  • H-3 – The H-3 classification applies to aliens coming temporarily to the U.S. to participate in a training program when the proposed training is not available in the beneficiary’s home country; he/she will not be productively employed except as incidental to training; and the training will benefit the alien in pursuing a career outside the U.S.
  • H-2A – The H-2A visa is for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers for specific agricultural-related positions and wish to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.
  • H-2B – The H-2B nonimmigrant program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work that is one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent.
  • TN – The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States in very specific positions listed in NAFTA.  Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.
  • L-1 – This visa category applies to someone who works for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intra-company transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services either 1) in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or 2) in a  specialized knowledge (L-1B) capacity for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad.  There is currently no annual cap on L-1 visas.  Multinational companies use this visa to transfer workers that meet the L-1 legal standard.
  • R-1 – The Religious Worker (R) visa is for persons seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) to work in a religious capacity for a religious organization on a temporary basis.
  • E-1/E-2 – The Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is for a national of a country, with which the United States (U.S.) maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, who is coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
  • E-3 – This visa category is only available for Australian nationals going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a professional position.  The requirements are similar to an H-1B visa, but the process is faster since the employee can apply directly at the US consulate and receive a decision.  There’s an annual cap for this visa category, but, so far, E-3 visa demand has never met this cap.
  • O-1 – 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.

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