Visa for Working in United States

Visa for Working in United States: Description, Qualifications & When to Apply


You need a specific visa if you want to work in the United States temporarily as a nonimmigrant, depending on the type of work you do. Most categories of temporary workers require your prospective employer or agent to file a petition, which must be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States before you can apply for a visa. of work.

All H, L, O, P, and Q visa applicants must submit a USCIS-accepted petition on their behalf. The petition, Form I-129, must be accepted before you can apply for a work visa with the Consulate. When your petition is accepted, your employer or agent will receive a Notification, Form I-797, which will serve as proof of acceptance of your request. It would also be helpful to bring a copy of the I-797 Notification to the interview. The consular officer will verify acceptance of your petition through the Department of State’s Petitions Information Management Service (PIMS) during your interview.

You must bring your I-129 petition receipt number to your interview at the Consulate to verify that your petition has been accepted. Please note that an acceptance of a petition does not guarantee the issuance of a visa if you are ineligible for a visa under US immigration law.

Visa Descriptions and Qualifications

H-1B (specialized profession)

An H-1B visa is required if you are coming to the United States to provide services through pre-arranged professional employment. To qualify for this visa, you must hold a license or higher degree (or equivalent degree) in the specific specialty for which you are seeking employment. USCIS will determine if your job is a skilled occupation and if you are qualified to provide these services. Your employer must file a working condition request with the Department of Labor, regarding the terms and conditions of this employment contract.

H-1B1 (Temporary Work Visa relating to agreements)

The free trade agreements signed with Chile and Singapore allow qualified Chilean and Singaporean citizens to work temporarily in the United States under certain circumstances. Only Chilean and Singaporean citizens are eligible as principal applicants, even if their spouses and children are of different nationalities.

Applicants for an H-1B1 visa must have a job offer from an employer in their area of ​​choice in the United States, however, the employer is not required to submit the I-129 form or petition. for a non-immigrant worker. The applicant does not need to obtain an Approval Notice or an I-797 form before submitting their visa application. However, the petitioner must submit an Application for Foreign Worker Certification to the Department of Labor before applying for the visa. For more information regarding the H-1B1 visa, please visit

H-3 (trainee)

An H-3 visa is required if you are coming to the United States for an internship with an employer in any field, other than college education or internship, for a period of up to two years. You can get paid for your internship and fieldwork is allowed. The internship cannot be considered productive employment and must not be feasible in your home country.

H-4 (dependent)

If you are the primary holder of a valid H visa, your spouse or unmarried child (under the age of 21) may receive an H-4 visa to accompany you to the United States. However, your spouse/child is not allowed to work while in the United States.

L-1 (intra-company transfers)

An L-1 visa is required if you are an employee of an international company that is temporarily transferring you to a branch or subsidiary. The international business can be an American or foreign organization. To qualify for an L-1 visa, you must be in a managerial or executive position, or have specialist knowledge intended for a specific position within the U.S. company at one of these levels, but not necessarily in the same position as the one previously held. In addition, you must have been employed outside the United States with this international company for at least one continuous year during the three years preceding your application for admission to the United States. You can only apply for an L-1 visa after the US company or subsidiary has received an accepted petition from USCIS, either on a blanket basis or on an individual basis.

L-2 (dependent)

If you are the primary holder of a valid L visa, your spouse or unmarried child (under the age of 21) may receive this visa. Due to recent changes in the law, your spouse may apply for employment authorization. Your spouse must enter the United States on their own L-2 visa, then complete a Form I-765 (obtainable from USCIS), paying the application fee. Your children are not allowed to work while in the United States.

O  visa

O visas are issued to individuals with extraordinary scientific, artistic, educational, business and athletic abilities, or extraordinary achievement in cartoon and television production, and their core staff.

P (artists)

P visas are issued to certain athletes, artists and their essential personnel who come to play in the United States.

Q visa

A Q visa is required if you are traveling to the United States to participate in an international cultural exchange program, in order to give hands-on training, employment, share the history, culture and traditions of your home country. The program sponsor must file a petition on your behalf, which must be accepted by USCIS.

When to apply

The Consulate can process your H, L, O, P or Q visa application up to 90 days before the start of the employment status indicated on your I-797. However, when making your travel plan, please note that due to federal regulations, you can only use this visa to enter the United States ten days before the start of your approved status period which is indicated. on your I-797.