Work visas General information

Work visas General information

This page contains information on work visas issued on the basis of petitions. In accordance with US immigration law, temporary work in the United States with nonimmigrant status requires a visa of the appropriate category, depending on the type of work performed. Most categories of temporary work visas require a prospective employer or recruiting agency to file a petition. This petition must be approved by USCIS prior to applying for a work visa.

All applicants for H, L, O, P and Q visas must have an appropriate petition approved by Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Form I-129 petition must be approved prior to applying for a work visa at the US Embassy or Consulate. Once the petition is approved, the employer or agent will receive a Form I-797 (Notice of Approval) notice, which will be evidence that the petition was approved. The consular officer will verify the petition approval through the Department of State’s Petition Management Information System (PIMS) during the interview.

To verify that your petition has been approved, you must bring your I-129 petition number with you to your interview at the US Embassy or Consulate to renew 2 year green card. Please note that approving a petition does not guarantee a visa. A visa may be refused if you do not meet the relevant criteria as required by immigration law.

Descriptions of visas and criteria for their issuance

H-1B (Highly Qualified Personnel)

The H-1B visa is issued to persons entering the United States to carry out pre-planned work requiring appropriate specialization. An applicant applying for such a visa must have a higher education (bachelor’s degree or higher, or equivalent) in a specialty corresponding to the nature of the work performed. The Citizenship and Immigration Service determines whether the job offered to you requires high qualifications and whether you can do the job. The employer must file the application for a working condition with the US Department of Labor. The application specifies the terms of the employment contract with you.

H-1B1(Temporary Workers – Nationals of Contracting States)

Free Trade Agreements signed with Chile and Singapore allow eligible citizens of Chile and Singapore to temporarily work in the United States on certain occasions. Only citizens of Chile and Singapore can apply for this type of visa as main applicants, their spouses and children may be citizens of other countries. H-1B1 visa applicants must have a job offer from an employer in the United States. However, the employer is not required to file an I-129 petition for a nonimmigrant worker. The applicant, in turn, is not required to receive a Notice of Approval I-797 prior to applying for a visa. At the same time, the employer must submit a Request for Certification of Foreign Workforce to the Department of Labor before the employee applies for a visa. 

H-2A (Seasonal Agricultural Workers)

The H-2A visa allows employers in the United States to recruit foreigners for temporary agricultural work for which there are not enough American workers. You can get an H-2A visa if you are looking to take temporary or seasonal agricultural work in the United States. An employer in the United States or the US Agricultural Association as a common employer must petition you for a Nonimmigrant Work Visa (Form I-129).

H-2B (skilled and unskilled workers)

This visa is issued to people entering the United States to fill temporary or seasonal jobs for which there are not enough American workers. The employer must obtain a certificate from the US Department of Labor confirming that there are no American workers capable of performing the work for which the petition is being filed.

H-3 (Interns) An
H-3 visa is issued to persons entering the United States to obtain on-the-job training in any field, provided that such training is not postgraduate education or training and lasts no more than two years. Internships and practical work may be paid. The visa is issued on the condition that the planned internship is not available in the country of permanent residence and that the internship will not be a source of productive employment.

H-4 (Dependent Family Members)
If you have an H visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can obtain an H-4 visa to enter the United States with you. Spouses and children are not allowed to work while in the United States.

L-1 (transfers within the company)

The L-1 visa is issued to employees of international companies who are temporarily transferred to a division of the parent organization. As well as to a branch or subsidiary of that company in the United States. An international company can be a legal entity registered in the United States or in another state. An L-1 visa is only issued to workers in management positions or to workers with specialized knowledge if those workers are transferred to a U.S. company for positions of a similar level (although not necessarily the same positions). In addition, for a transfer to the United States. The applicant must have been continuously employed by the relevant international company outside the United States for at least one year within the last three years.

L-2 (Dependent Family Members)

If you have an L visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can obtain derivative visas. Recent changes in legislation have made it possible for a spouse to work in the United States. To do this, the spouse enters the United States on an L-2 visa. Submits an I-765 application (the form can be obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Service) and pays an application processing fee. Children traveling on an L-2 visa are not allowed to work in the United States.

Category O visas are issued to individuals of outstanding ability in science, art, education, business and sports, outstanding achievement in film and television production, and to the primary assistants of those individuals.

P (cultural workers, artists)
Category P visas are issued to certain athletes, artists and cultural workers, as well as to the main assistants of these individuals. Provided that they enter the United States to participate in activities appropriate to their professional activities.

Category Q visas are issued to persons entering the United States to participate in international cultural exchange programs. The purpose of which is practical training and employment. And introducing the host country to the history, culture and traditions of the country of permanent residence of the visitor. The program sponsor must file an appropriate petition with the applicant, which must be approved by Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please note that when filling out your DS-160 electronic application, the system will ask you for your SEVIS number. You need to enter zeros in this field, as you do not need SEVIS registration.

Application deadlines

The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will process applications for H, L, O, P, and. Q visas up to 90 days prior to the date of commencement of employment (effective employment status) on Form I-797. When planning your trip, please note that, in accordance with US federal law. You cannot enter the United States on visas of the above categories until ten days before the approved effective date of employment status shown on Form I-797.

Documents required to apply for a visa

When applying for visas of categories H, L, O, P or Q, you must provide the following documents and information:

  • A valid international passport with a validity period of at least six months longer than the duration of the intended period of stay in the United States. (unless the relevant international agreements allow the application of other terms). If other persons are entered in your passport, each of these persons who wish to obtain a visa must submit a separate application.
  • One photo 5 x 5 cm.
  • If a visa is issued, an additional “reciprocal” visa issuance fee may be charged, depending on your citizenship. On the State Department’s website. You can find information about the need to pay a “reciprocal” fee for citizens of your country and the amount of such a fee.
  • Group Petition L-1 applicants must pay a Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.
  • The incoming number is listed on your approved I-129 petition. It is not required to provide the original or a copy of Form I-797 at the interview.

In addition to these documents and information. You must present a letter of invitation for an interview confirming that you made an appointment for an interview using this service. For an interview, you can take any documents that, in your opinion, confirm the information provided to the consular officer.

Application procedure

Stage 1
Pay the consular fee.

Step 2
Complete your electronic Nonimmigrant Visa Application ( Form DS-160).

Step 3
Schedule an interview on this page. To schedule an interview, you must provide information about the numbers of the following three documents:

  • Foreign passport number.
    • The number of the receipt (or other documents) for the payment of the consular fee.
    • The ten-digit barcode number from the DS-160 application confirmation page.

Step 4
Come to the interview at the US Embassy or Consulate on the appointed day and hour. Take with you:

  • Printout of a letter with an invitation to an interview;
    • DS-160 Application Confirmation Page;
    • One took 5 * 5 photo;
    • A valid international passport.

IMPORTANT: In the absence of the above documents, the visa application will not be accepted.

Supporting documents

Supporting documents are just one of many factors that a consular officer will consider when considering your application for an interview. Consular officers consider each case individually and take professional, social, cultural and other factors into account when making a decision. The consular officer can take into account your intentions and family situation. Long-term plans and perspectives related to your country of residence. 

Attention! Don’t try to submit fake documents. Cheating and misleading can lead to permanent visa bans. If confidentiality is required, documents should be brought to the US Embassy or Consulate in a sealed envelope. The US Embassy or Consulate will not disclose the content of such documents to third parties and will respect the confidentiality of the information.

You must take the following documents for an interview. In all cases, preference should be given to original documents over copies. All documents are brought to the interview in person. Sending supporting documents to the US Embassy or Consulate by fax, e-mail or regular mail is not allowed.

  • Documents confirming professional qualifications, including diplomas of higher education.
    • Originals of certificates from the current and past places of work with an indication of the position. The nature of the work performed and the length of the period of employment in this organization.
    • If you are currently working on an I-751 visa. Please provide payroll slips for the current calendar year and federal tax returns. (IRS Forms 1040 and W-2) for all years you worked in the United States. You must also provide the following documents and information.
      • Pay slips from the current or last job.
      • Surnames, names and telephone numbers of the heads of personnel services of the current and previous places of work.
      • Your resume.

Dependent family members

Dependents in your household must provide all the documents required to process your nonimmigrant visa application and the following documents.

  • Original marriage certificate (for spouse), original birth certificate (for unmarried children under 21).
    • Certificate from the place of work of the spouse (s) with confirmation of the fact of permanent employment at the present time.
    • If your spouse is currently working in the United States on an H-1B visa. You must provide payroll slips for the current calendar year and federal tax returns. (IRS Forms 1040 and W-2) for all years during which he (she) worked in the United States on an H-1B visa.


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