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Your options for work-based visas

The U.S. immigration system offers several options for workers seeking to come to this country. The type of visa you should apply for depends on things like the job you have waiting for you in the U.S., your qualifications and how long you plan to stay in this country.

One of the most commonly used visa for skilled workers and their U.S. employers is the H-1B visa. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that it lets you live and work in this country for up to three years, though you can get it renewed for a second three-year period. H-1B visas are for workers in “specialty occupations” and generally requires you to have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Common specialty occupations include engineers, accountants, scientists, business specialists and educators.

Alternatives to H-1B

However, the current administration has issued a temporary ban on H-1B visas. The ban is expected to last at least until the end of 2020. One exception is for some health care workers. Other options can include:

  • O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary ability
  • L-1A and L-1B visas for employees of multinational companies being transferred to a job in the U.S.
  • H-2A and H-2B visas for agricultural and seasonal workers

Employers often struggle to find qualified candidates to fill these positions who are already living in this country. They turn to job candidates from abroad to fill key positions at their companies and help their businesses succeed. In turn, workers get a chance to further their careers and, if they choose, begin the journey toward permanent residency status or U.S. citizenship.

The easiest way to get a visa

The process of obtaining a work-based visa is long and complicated. Hiring an immigration attorney will save you a lot of time and money, whether you are an employer sponsoring an employee or a foreign national seeking a visa for one of your loved ones.