USA Visas, Work Permits and Migration
Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO service, we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence. People wishing to visit, live or work in the United States require some form of documentation, as with all countries. The onus is on all travellers to investigate which visa, work permit or residence permit is required as there are many rules, regulations and government departments involved in processing the paperwork.
People from all over the world are looking to live and work in the US and foreigners will be required to apply for a US work visa/permit; applicants need to know how to apply correctly and prepare the relevant documentation. The US State Department have introduced the Visa Wizard to advise which visa category might be appropriate for entering the US. Our team is trained to research the latest information on US visas and work permits – therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in the USA in no time.
What types of Work Visas and Permits for US are there?
There are a number of visa options when wanting to work in the US with distinct requirements, processes, and fees. There are also other considerations when deciding on the appropriate visa such as education and qualifications, nationality and how long the period of employment will be.
There are two main types of visas for foreign nationals who wish to travel to the US:
- An Immigrant Visa (prior to obtaining Permanent Residence Visa – Green Card) for those who intend working and living permanently in the US.
- A Non-immigrant Visa (also called a Temporary Resident Visa) issued for entering the US for tourism, business, temporary work, medical treatment, study, or similar reasons.
- An Immigrant Visa allows permanent residency upon US entry followed by receipt of a Green Card. A Green Card is not easy to acquire as it permits people to live and work anywhere in the US without restriction.
However, employers must first file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required from them to apply for this work visa and approval does not automatically mean the applicant will be accepted. There are five categories with various sub-groups of employment-based immigrant visas:
- EB-1 For priority workers with special skills, multi-national business managers and executives
- EB-2 For foreign nationals holding advanced degrees or with exceptional abilities
- EB-3 For professionals, skilled and unskilled workers
- EB-4 Special immigrants
- EB-5 For foreign national investors
There are four main ways to obtain a Green Card:
- Employment-based Green Cards
- Family-sponsored Green Cards
- Green Card lottery or Diversity Green Card
- Political Asylum
A non-immigrant visa allows people to visit the US for short perm periods for tourism, medical reasons, study purposes and for business trips and temporary work. Temporary worker visas are for persons entering the US for employment; these are intended for a fixed period. Employers need to first petition the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval to apply for the visa, although acceptance is not automatic.
Temporary Worker visa types of interest to company employers:
- H-1B for those with a specialty occupation and higher educational qualifications
- H-2B for non-agricultural employees from designated countries relevant to the interests of the US
- L – for managers or executives to work at a branch, subsidiary, or associated company of their employer (blanket petition)
- – For highly skilled people regarding ability or achievements in certain areas including business
There is also a Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals from countries in the scheme to stay up to 90 days for business or tourism if they have prior ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) approval. Countries included in the VWP, and requirements can be found here.