If you are considering working in the United States and you are not a U.S. citizen then you will need to understand and follow the VISA requirements set out by the USCIS. To work in the United States as a temporary employee of a U.S. company you must have filed and have been approved for a Temporary Employment Visa, which is valid for the purposes of conducting business in the United States during your visit to this country.
Qualifying for an American Work Visa
In order to qualify for this type of temporary permission to enter the United States you must be able to prove that you have a legitimate reason for visiting the United States. You may be required to provide a copy of your work contact, which specifies the duration of your employment, where you will live while in the United States, and how much money you will be making. The second thing that you will need to prove is that you are only intending to stay in the United States for a limited amount of time. Again if your work contract specifies dates that you will be employed this will help prove that you are not intending to immigrate to the U.S., but are merely planning a temporary stay. Finally you will be required to prove to the port authority that you have binding ties in another country that will ensure your return to that country after your business has concluded in the U.S. To prove this you can show that you have a permanent resident that you maintain in your home country, that you have a family in your home country, or that you have a permanent job established in your home country that you must return to. Documentation of all of these things will be needed in order to obtain a temporary work visa to work in the United States.
The American Work Visa Application Process for Employers
If you are an employer who is planning on hiring a contractor from another country to work temporarily on a specific project then you will need to initiate the visa process for the worker you want to hire by first filling out and filing an I-129 petition. This form is intended to ask for permission for a person from another country to enter the U.S. for a purpose other than immigration. There are many different types of Temporary Employment Visas that are available, and they are classified based on the amount of time that they are valid for. For example a class E-1 Temporary Employment Visa is good for two years, and it may be extended as many times as needed. On the other hand a class H1B1 Temporary Employment Visa is good for an initial period of three years, and it may only be renewed once for a total stay in the U.S. of six years. You need to understand what type of Temporary Employment Visa you will need before you file your I-129 petition. Below is a list of the most common Temporary Employment Visa classes.
Class E-1 is good for two years, with no limit on how many times it can be extended.
Class E-2 is also good for two years, with very few limitations on how many times it can be renewed.
H-1B1 is good from 6 months to 3 years. It can be renewed, however the total stay associated with this class is limited to 6 years.
H-1B2 has the same time restrictions and length of stay as H-1B1.
H-1C is valid up to three years, with no renewal.
H-2A and H-2B has a maximum of one year for each application for a maximum renewal stay of three years.
H-3 is used for Special Education training, and is valid for up to 18 months. If this class is used for another type of trainee then the stay can be up to two years.
L-1A is used to come to an existing office and is valid for up to three years with the initial application. With renewals the total stay possible with this class of visa is seven years. If the office is new then this visa class will only a lot for one year, with two year increments for the renewals, and a total stay allowed of seven years.
L-1B has the same stay restrictions as L-1A, however, it has a maximum stay allowed of five years.
O-1 and O-2 is valid up to three years.
P-1, P-2, and P-3 and their support personnel are used for athletes and athletic groups. These classes are valid up to five years for the initial application, with a maximum stay of ten years.
Q-1 is limited to a fifteen-month stay.
R-1 and R-2 are valid up to three years for the initial application and they both have a maximum stay duration of five years.
Employers should also know that it is their responsibility to make sure that the people that they hire are eligible to work in the United States. To ensure that foreign workers brought in for a specific project qualify to work in the United States, you will need to have them fill out a I-9 form in addition to filing your I-129 to request permission for a temporary employment visa.
American Temporary Employment Visa Process for Workers
The process for applying for a Temporary Employment Visa is relatively simple, as long as you have a valid reason for requesting one. The first step in this process is to review the most current procedures for applying for an American Temporary Employment Visa. You can get this information by accessing http://www.UnitedStatesVisas.gov directly. Here you will be able to see if there are any restrictions on work visas that are being granted, or if there have been any new steps added to the application process. If you do not have access to the Internet then you can also contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for instructions and forms.
The second step is to make an appointment to meet with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to discuss your application and file your forms. Because of wait times, and difficulties getting appointments, it is highly recommended that you schedule your appointment as soon as you find out that you will need to go to the United States for business. It is also a good idea to ask what fees you will be required to pay, and what forms of payment will be accepted when you schedule your appointment.
Before you go to your appointment you will need to get all of your documents and documentation together. For example you will need a valid passport, a completed application, employment verifications including reason for travel, your financial status, and duration of employment, and finally you will need to have proof hat you paid the application fees. This is not an all-inclusive list as the Embassy or Consulate may require addition materials and documentation before they will be able to process your application.
Step four is to submit all of the required documentation, applications, and fees to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After you submit your materials you will need to wait for the U.S. Embassy to process and review your case. If all of your affairs are in order, and you have a valid reason for traveling to the U.S. for business then you should receive your visa in a few weeks. However, there is no guarantee that you will be approved, or that you will be granted a visa even if you do have a valid work offer.
If you get your visa approved you can then travel to the U.S. When you land at an American airport you will need to follow the direction for non-citizen entries. You will be asked to fill out a form that explains why you are in the U.S. and how long you intend to stay. A customs agent will also interview you and your paperwork will be verified. After you pass this initial inspection you will be given an immigration stamp and you will be allowed to go to baggage claim and U.S. customs.