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US Visa Types List

Temporary Work Visas and Employment-Based Green Cards

An individual may obtain a temporary visa to work or study in the United States, or he or she may obtain lawful permanent residency (green card) through one of five employment-based preference categories. Immigration attorneys can assist you with either your temporary work visa or your employment-based green card application.

Temporary Visas for Working

The H Visa Temporary Worker

There are several types of H visas for temporary workers. Each type of visa allows the individual to perform a specific job:

  • H1B visa is for professionals who are coming to work in the U.S. in a specialty occupation (Professional visa and Fashion Models);
  • H1C is for nurses who will work in particular positions;
  • H2A is for agricultural workers;
  • H2B visa is for non-agricultural workers (Unskilled Foreign Workers);
  • H3 is for trainees; and
  • H4 visa is the accompanying visa granted to the spouse and children under 21 years of age of the worker.
  • TN Status: allows certain qualifying Canadian and Mexican citizens to temporarily work for an employer in the U.S. under NAFTA.

Learn more about the H Visa and other Temporary Worker visas through the U.S. State Department’s website

The E Visa

Only citizens and nationals of certain countries are eligible for this type of visa. A requirement for this visa is a treaty between the United States and the foreign country for trade or commerce. There are two types of E visas for working:

  • E1 visa is for an individual who is doing substantial trade with the United States; and
  • E2 visa is for an investor who is directing an investment
  • E3 visa for Australia citizens only to work in the US (E3D visa is the partner visa)

Learn more about Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas through the U.S. State Department’s website

The L Visa Temporary Worker

The L visa is for temporary worker who is coming to work at a subsidiary of a foreign company. There are several types of L visas:

  • L1A visa is for a manager or an executive;
  • L1B visa is for someone with specialized knowledge;
  • L2 visa is the accompanying visa that spouses and children under 21 years of age receive with the worker.

Temporary Visas for Studying – Student Visas

Look for important News Releases from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about SEVIS

The F-1 Visa

This F1 visa allows the student to study full-time at an academic institution such as a university, private school, or language institute.

Learn more about Academic Student Visas through the U.S. State Department’s website.

The J Visa for Exchange Trainees and Workers

The J visa is for temporary workers on J1 work and travel or J1 trainees who are coming to work or train with an organization that has been approved for an exchange program under the J visa regulations.

Learn more about Exchange Visitor Visa (J Visa) through the U.S. State Department’s website.

Read about the Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement for J Visa through the U.S. State Department’s website.

The M Visa

This type of visa allows an individual to attend an approved course of study leading to a specific educational or vocational objective and engage in full-course of study.

Learn more about the Nonacademic Student Visa (M Visa) through the U.S. State Department’s website.

Temporary Visas for Particular Occupations – O, P, Q, and R Visas

The O Visa

The O-1: Extraordinary Ability Artists/Entertainers, Business People, Scientists, Educators, and Athletes

The O-1 visa is available to foreign nationals of extraordinary or high achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, or with regard to motion picture and television productions, a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.

The O-2: Support Staff of Artists and Athletes

The O-2 visa is for an alien entering:

(1) for a specific event or events;
(2) who is an integral part of such actual performance;
(3a) has critical skills and experience with principal alien, which are not of a general nature or which cannot be performed by other individual; or
(3b) in the case of a motion picture or television production, has skills and experience with the O-1 alien that are not of a general nature and which are critical and the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production; and
(4) has a foreign residence that the alien has no intention of abandoning.

The P Visa for Athletes and Artists

This visa applies to an internationally recognized athlete performing at a major athletic event as an individual athlete or as part of a group or team and for an artist or member of internationally recognized entertainment group. There are several types of P visas:

  • P-1 is for an athlete and athletic teams and entertainment groups;
  • P-2 is for artists and entertainer reciprocal exchange;
  • P-3 is for artists and entertainers integral to performance.

The Q-1 Visa

This visa applies to a foreign national entering the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining practical training, employment, and the sharing of history, culture, philosophy, and traditions of the alien’s home country.

The R-1 Visa

R-1 visa is for a foreign national with a religious profession, occupation, or vocation, for example, minister, professional holding degree or foreign equivalent degree, cantor, monk, evangelist, or nun.

Employment Based and Investor Immigrant Preferences

Employment-based immigration for lawful permanent residence falls under five preference cateogories:

Different criteria apply to each of these categories and substantial document preparation is required to successfully obtain residency based upon one of the employment-based immigraton categories.

Check the current Visa Bulletin priority dates for each of the employment-based categories, since not all categories have a current priority date.

Guest Author

Ruchi Thaker

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What is the E3 Visa?

If you go to many other US Visa sites or forums and people talk about the E3 visa, this question is the only question that really seems to get answered. Many people I see get frustrated because they ask questions related to the many other visa posts I have in this blog but all people give them are the visa facts.

Well for the first time, I am going to go through the basic facts of the E3 Visa using the embassy FAQ site as a basis for my post.

  • The E3 Visa is a visa exclusively for Australian citizens allowing them to work in the US
  • Spouses and Dependent Children (usually under 21) do NOT need to be Australian citizens but the relationship must be a proven marriage between a male and female (the US does not recognize same-sex or common law relationships) They fall under the E3D Visa
  • You need to have a job offer from a US company prior to applying at the Consulate
  • You can NOT apply for a new E3 Visa from within the US
  • You can transfer from certain visas to the E3 Visa within the US but NOT from Tourist Status
  • There is nothing specifically stopping you going to the US to search for a job as a tourist, however you must leave the country to then apply for your visa
  • You can apply for your E3 visa from most Consulates and Embassies around the world but is always good to check with that particular Embassy first.
  • Within Australia you can apply from the Consulates in Melbourne, Perth or Sydney
  • E3 Visa is for applicants seeking employment in a specialty occupation.
  • A specialty occupation is one defined as required a specialized body of knowledge and the position itself requires a bachelor (or higher degree) degree equivalent at a minimum
  • If you have sufficient work experience in lieu of a bachelors degree and can prove it to the US consulate in the field of the job offer you possess then, that will be considered as well
  • Generally as Trade positions do not require bachelors degrees they are not considered suitable for this visa
  • The only petition required of the employer is to submit Form 9035/9035E to the Department of Labor to receive a Labor Condition Application (LCA) – at the time of writing this is still a free submission
  • The visa is valid for 2 years, and able to be renewed indefinitely for periods of 2 years as long as the job position is still valid and not considered permanent
  • There are 10,500 E3 Visas issued each year (this quota does not include extensions or spouses) and this quota has yet to be reached in any fiscal year (October – September)
  • E3 Visa holders must show they intend to return home when their visa expires
  • Spouses may work under the E3D visa and have to file Form I765 AFTER they enter the US to the USCIS (this can take up to 3 months to be approved)
  • You can enter the US 10 Days before and leave 10 Days after you start your job
  • The E3 visa is a multiple entry visa so as long as your passport and visa are current you can travel
  • You can change employers but your new employer must lodge a new LCA within 10 days
  • It usually takes 2-3 days within Australia for your visa to be issued back to you after your approval at the Consulate

What requirements and documents are needed for the application and Consulate Interview?– A job offer letter from the prospective United States-based employer

  • Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF) DS-160, completed online (http://evisaforms.state.gov/) and printed out
  • Form ETA 9035, clearly annotated as “E-3 – Australia – to be processed,” or an ETA 9035E dated after January 4th, 2006, specified for E-3 Australia. This is the LCA Form
  • Your Degree or Proof of Equivalent work experience (often they don’t even look at this)
    • To Note: If your degree and higher-level qualifications are from an Australian institution, you do not usually need to provide certified copies or evidence of their U.S. equivalent, but please bring to your visa interview the original certificates, and if possible, transcripts for the course of study. If your qualification(s) are not from an Australian institution, a certified copy of the foreign degree and evidence that it is equivalent to the required U.S. degree could be used to satisfy the “qualifying credentials” requirement, but you may prefer to wait until your visa interview to confirm whether this is necessary. You should take your original certificates and transcripts to your visa interview, and if it is also necessary to produce certified copies of certificates and evidence of U.S. equivalence, you can send these to the Consulate after the interview, although your visa will not be approved until this is received. Likewise, a certified copy of a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree, as required by the specialty occupation, would meet the minimum evidentiary standard.
    • U.S. Regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D), describes the kind and amount of experience which can be used to establish the equivalency of a university degree. As a guide, three years of professional experience may generally be used as a substitute for each year of university-level education. During their visa interviews, applicants for U.S. work visas should be prepared to provide documentation outlining their work history, education, and training. A consular officer will determine whether the educational and employment information provided meets the eligibility requirements for a U.S. visa.
  • Evidence establishing that the applicant’s stay in the United States will be temporary. (this could be bank accounts, mortgages, car/business    ownership, family ties)
  • A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment
  • Evidence of payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee, also known as the application fee. This is payable at Australia Post in Australia or if other embassy/consulate, their local procedure , and applicants should bring the  receipt to the interview as evidence of payment.

What Does An E-3 Visa Look Like?

In terms of eventually getting a Green Card there is nothing specifically precluding you from applying for one via your employer however technically the E-3 visa is not a dual intent visa like the H-1B visa. The actual regulations state;

“An application for initial admission, change of status or extension of stay in E-3 classification, however, may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.”

So this basically means they can’t deny an E-3 visa application just because you have an open Green Card application

I hope this all helps.

CJ

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