Businesses & Employees

Business & Employment-Based Non-Immigrant Visa Categories

H-1B Visas—Specialty Occupations: The H-1B nonimmigrant visa was created for foreign national employees in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. An H-1B worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification (ineligible for employment).

H-2A Visas—Temporary Agricultural Workers: H-2A nonimmigrant work visas allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill temporary agricultural jobs. An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification (ineligible for employment).

H-2B Visas—Other Temporary Workers: H-2B nonimmigrant visas allow foreign nationals to enter into the U.S. temporarily and engage in non-agricultural employment which is seasonal, intermittent, a peak load need, or a one-time occurrence. There is an annual statutory cap on the number of H-2B visas available. An H-2B worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification (ineligible for employment).

L Visas—Intracompany Transferees: L-1 nonimmigrant visas are available to foreign nationals who are employees of an international company with offices in both the U.S. and abroad. The L visa allows the employee to relocate to the U.S. office after having worked abroad for the company continuously for at least one year within the previous three prior to the application for admission. An L-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification. An L-2 spouse is eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document and work in the United States. Dependent L-2 children cannot accept employment but can attend school in the U.S.

E Visas—Treaty Trader & Investor Visas: The E category of nonimmigrant visas includes treaty traders (E-1) and treaty investors (E-2) who come to the U.S. under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the U.S. and the country of citizenship or nationality of the treaty trader or investor. This category also includes certain specialty occupation professionals from Australia (E-3); this category is similar to H-1B but only available for Australian nationals. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal visa holder. The spouse of an E visa holder may apply for employment authorization; dependent children of an E visa holder are not authorized to work in the U.S. but may attend school.

O Visas—Extraordinary Ability: The O-1 nonimmigrant category is a temporary work visa for an individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. An O-2 nonimmigrant visa is available for a foreign national who is accompanying and assisting an O-1 artist or athlete for a specific event or events. O-2 applicants must demonstrate that that they are essential to the performance and that the O-2 applicant has a foreign residence that he/she has no intention of abandoning. An O-3 visa is available for the spouse and unmarried, minor children who are accompanying an O-1 or O-2 visa holder (O-3 family members are ineligible for employment).

R-1 Visa—Religious Workers: An R-1 visa is a temporary work visa which allows a foreign national to enter into the U.S. to temporarily engage in work as a minister or religious worker. An R-1 worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in R-2 nonimmigrant classification (family members ineligible for employment, but can attend school).

P Visas—Athletes and Entertainers: The P-1A nonimmigrant visa category is for foreign nationals temporarily coming to the U.S. to perform as an athlete. Members of internationally-recognized athletic teams may also be eligible for P-1A visas to participate in distinguished team events. P-1B nonimmigrant work visas are for those coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally. P-2 nonimmigrant work visas are available for foreign national artists or entertainers, who are coming to the U.S. to temporarily perform under a government-recognized reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country. The P-3 nonimmigrant visa category is for those persons coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique. Essential support personnel are eligible for P visa classification where the support services cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker. The spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a P visa holder may obtain a P-4 visa (family members ineligible for employment).

Q Visas—Cultural Exchange: Q-1 nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program on a temporary basis. Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q nonimmigrants. While it is an employment-oriented program, an integral part of the duties of the foreign national must have a cultural element.

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