The power of the United States’ economy on the world stage for a long time has been and is today still constituted in large part by immigrant employees. This blog post will go more in-depth about the different types of work visas available for a variety of circumstances. If you like to know more about employment-based immigration or need immigration help, get in touch right away with a New York City employment visa attorney.

Types of Work Visas in the United States

Temporary Non-Immigrant Visas: H, I, L, O, P, R, and TN Visas

Temporary non-immigrant visas are time-limited visas offered to people who want to work in the United States for a demarcated length of time.

The H visas are used fairly frequently, so as to be almost synonymous with “work visa” in day-to-day talk.

  • H-1Bs are for employees with specialized knowledge in a specific field and who have at least a college degree or equivalent experience. Employees on H1-B visas can stay for three years.
  • H-2As and H-2Bs are used for seasonal workers, whether in agriculture (H-2A) or not (H-2B).
  • Finally, H-3s are for people who would like training in any field or in specialized education, except graduate medical school.

Though H visas are some of the most commonly used, there are many other visas for people who need to enter and work in the United States for a limited time. These are:

  • Like the H visas, TN NAFTA visas are for Canadian and Mexican nationals who want to enter the United States for a limited time to conduct business, as set down in the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • The foreign press—such as reporters, film crews, and associated workers—use I visas.
  • L visas are for those temporarily transferring within a company where they already work. This includes L-1A for executive-level workers (a stay of three years) or L-1B for those with specialized experience (a stay of one year).
  • An interesting category would be O visas. These are for people with remarkable abilities or achievements, as well as those who travel with them and their families.
  • Similarly, P visas are for people with outstanding ability in performance, athletic, or artistic fields, as well as those who accompany them. P visas are typically used for events.
  • Lastly, R visas cover religious workers. They’re used by members of a religious denomination with official non-profit status in the United States who want to come to the United States to work. An R visa holder must work either with their denomination or another related non-profit.

Permanent Immigrant Employment Visas: The EBs

This then takes us to the visas for those who want to enter the United States and remain here. Approximately 140,000 such permanent visas are available every year (a relatively low number for the number of people who want to work in the country). The prospective employee, their spouses, and their child will use these visas, known as EB visas.

Much like the H visas, the EB visas typically ask for an existing offer of employment from an employer, a certification from the United States Department of Labor indicating the employer found insufficient workers capable of doing the job needed, and that this hiring wouldn’t result in a foreign national employed instead of a current United States citizen. There are five categories of EB visas, from first preference to fifth preference.