Employment visas allow foreign nationals to travel to the U.S. in order to work and live there for a specified period of time. These visas are temporary visas and are sometimes referred to as “employment-based visas”, “EB visas”, or “work visas”.

There are several different employment visa categories based on the type of work that the applicant will be doing. Employment visas generally allow the immigrant to have their family accompany them during their stay in the U.S. 

It’s generally required that an employer sponsor or petition the applicant for work in the U.S. in order for them to receive the visa. However, the visa holder must remain employed with their sponsor company during the entirety of their stay; if the company closes or goes out of business, the person will likely lose their EB immigrant status. 

What Are the Different Employment Visa Categories?

There are many different categories of employment visas. These are generally organized according to the abilities and skills of the employee, and the type of employment they will be engaged in throughout their limited stay in the U.S.

There are many different types of employment visas; the most common employment visa categories include:

  • EB1: Priority Workers – Applicants with extraordinary ability in arts/sciences; professors and researchers; managers
  • EB2: Professionals with Advanced Academic Degrees/Persons of Exceptional Ability
  • EB3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers – Jobs requiring minimum 2 years work experience or training
  • EB4: Certain Special Immigrants – Religious ministers, broadcasters, and other occupations; the list is very specific for this category and may require the assistance of a lawyer)
  • EB5: Immigrant Investors – These are persons who are willing to invest a significant amount of resources in creating jobs in the U.S.

Thus, if you or a loved one of yours is interested in obtaining an employment visa, you will need to apply under the appropriate category. For instance, if the applicant is a professor of science, they should file under the E1 category; if they are a religious minister, the E4 category may be more appropriate.

Other commonly-used employment visa categories include H1-B visas and B-1 business visas.

What Are the Requirements for an Employment-Based Visa?

Of course, the main requirement is that the applicant meet the employment description listed for the category they’re applying under. Besides meeting the employee qualifications for each category (Skilled worker, etc.), employment-based visas generally involve the following requirements:

  • Submission of proof of employment
  • Petition documents and certification from the sponsoring employer
  • Submission of various immigration documents, including valid passports, birth certificates, photo IDs, medical records, x-rays, etc.
  • Security clearance and criminal background check
  • Interviews in some cases

Also, denied employment visa applications can sometimes be appealed. This may require the assistance of a legal professional in order to understand how the appeal process works.

What Is Sponsorship for Employment Visa Status?

Most employment visa arrangements require that the U.S. citizen employer "sponsor" or "petition" the foreign national for work in the U.S. This means that the employer needs to provide proof that:

  • They need that particular worker to fulfill a job position
  • The job position can’t be filled by local U.S. citizens
  • The employer has run diagnostics and other research to confirm that the foreign employee needs to be travel to the U.S. to work with them

Sponsorship for employment visa status also requires that the employee remain employed with their sponsor during their stay in the U.S. Many employers use an L-1 intracompany transfer in relation to employment visa sponsorship. Under such visas, the employer petitions a foreign worker who already works for the company, but in a different country.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Employment Visas?

Employment visas help provide employers and employees with more work options for the company. If you or someone you know needs help with employment visa sponsorship, it’s in your best interests to hire a qualified immigration lawyer. Any errors during the application process can lead to a delay or even a rejection letter, but a lawyer can help you review the application for accuracy.