U.S. immigration law allows a certain number of foreign nationals to enter the U.S. each year for the purpose of temporary employment.  Qualified persons may apply for temporary worker visas (H-1B visas), which will allow them to work for a certain length of time in the U.S.  The temporary worker must usually have a U.S.-based employer to sponsor them and verify that they’ll be traveling to the country for employment purposes only.

Who Qualifies as a Temporary Worker?

For immigration and H-1B visa purposes, temporary workers may include:

  • Persons with training in a specialty occupation requiring completion of higher education, such as educators, medical professionals, health workers, engineering and math specialists, and legal specialists
  • Certain non-medical or non-academic trainees
  • Certain seasonal workers (such as agricultural workers)
  • Persons with “extraordinary ability” in fields such as the arts and sciences, business, athletics, motion picture/television, and education
  • Some athletes

As mentioned, the temporary worker needs to have a U.S. employer who will sponsor them during the application process.  The employer will need to fill out various forms and submit some documents to the U.S. Department of Labor as well as the immigration department.

To qualify for a temporary work visa, the worker must demonstrate that they have ties outside of the U.S., and that they have no intention of abandoning such ties in order to stay permanently in the U.S.  They must also meet other requirements such as a criminal background check and a basic medical examination.

How Long Does a Temporary Work Visa Usually Last?

H-1B visas are usually valid for up to 6 years.  An extension may be available in some instances.  After the visa has expired, the worker may be required to reside outside the U.S. for a set period of time before they can qualify for readmission as a temporary worker. 

Lastly, you should note that obtaining a temporary worker visa doesn’t automatically guarantee admission into the U.S- the applicant still needs to fulfill all the requirements for entry into the country (such as a valid travel passport, criminal record clearance, etc.)

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Temporary Worker Immigration Laws?

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with a temporary worker visa, you should contact a qualified immigration lawyer immediately.  Your attorney will be able to help you throughout the application process to ensure that all the legal requirements are being met.  Many temporary work visas are denied due to mistakes or deadline violations, but working with a lawyer can help you avoid such errors.