An employment visa permits foreign nationals to travel and live in the United States temporarily in order to work and live. There are several different types of employment visas. The type of visa depends upon the type of work that the applicant will be undertaking.

Usually, the employer will sponsor or petition the applicant for work in the United States. It is the responsibility of the employee/foreigner to maintain employment with that sponsor company to keep the visa current and valid. If the company closes or goes out of business, it is likely that the person will lose their employment visa status.

If you have a family, your employment visa will allow your family to accompany you during your stay in the United States.

Employment-based immigrant visas are based upon categories such as:

  • Extraordinary Ability of Aliens
  • Outstanding Researchers and Professionals
  • Professional Talent
  • Multinational Executives and Managers
  • Investors and Employment Creation

How Do You Qualify for an Employment Visa?

There are many different types of employment visas (explained in further detail below). The main requirement is that the applicant must meet the employment description listed for the category listed. Generally, employment visas outline the following requirements:

  • Proof of employment in the United States
  • Documents and certification from sponsoring employee
  • Submit various immigration documents including birth certificates, photo identification, medical records, X-rays, and valid passports
  • Security clearance and criminal background checks
  • Interviews (in some cases)

If a person is denied an employment visa they may appeal the denial, however, it is likely that the appeal process will require the aid of an immigration lawyer.

What Are the Types of Employment Visas?

As stated above, there are various different types of employment visas with different requirements for qualification. These employment visas are the following:

  • EB1 – An EB1 visa is for Priority Workers. These are applicants with extraordinary ability in arts and sciences; professors and researchers, and managers.
  • EB2 – An EB2 visa is for Professionals with Advanced Academic degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability.
  • EB3 – An EB3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The jobs that would qualify for an EB3 visa must be for an employment term of two years or more work experience in the field.
  • EB4 – An EB4 visa is for certain special immigrants such as religious ministers, broadcasters, and other occupations listed in the category. The employment listed within this category is very specific and may need the assistance of a lawyer to understand.
  • EB5 – An EB5 visa is for immigrant investors. These persons are those willing to invest a significant amount of money devoted to resources that will create jobs in the United States.

What Is Sponsorship for Employment Visa Status?

When a foreign national acquires sponsorship for employment visa status this means that the foreign worker enters the U.S. as an eligible worker on a company-sponsored visa. This type of visa is referred to as a H-1B visa.

An H-1B visa permits a person from another country to legally work in the U.S. based on criteria established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Sponsored persons must typically have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Employment visa sponsorships are approved based on an individual working for a specific company, and performing specific job duties at a specific location. If there are any changes to the position, the employer must file an additional petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The sponsored status of an employee is approved in three-year intervals for up to six years.

United States Employers Compliance

All employees who work in the United States or its territories – American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – for covered employers are protected by Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, regardless of their citizenship or work authorization status.

U.S. EEO laws include Title VII (Civil Rights Act of 1964), ADEA (the Age Discrimination in Employment Act), ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and EPA (Equal Pay Act). These laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, and disability. These types of conduct include discriminatory employment decisions, discrimination in compensation and benefits, harassment, and retaliation.

Employment-Based Permanent Residence Petitions

An employer may sponsor a foreign national for permanent residency based on a permanent job offer. The process typically begins when an employer obtains an approved Application for Permanent Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Once approved, the employer files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker form on behalf of the foreign national. A U.S. employer may sponsor a prospective or current foreign national employee who is inside or outside the United States and who may qualify fewer than one or more of the employment-based immigrant visa categories. As outlined above, there are various EB visa categories available to eligible foreign nationals.

The impact that a petition on behalf of a foreign national shows that the employer has the intent to hire the employee upon the approval of the petition. Proving that an employer-employee relationship exists and that the employee has the required qualifications from the job, you are given a position in the line of immigrants waiting to enter the United States legally. The place in line is commonly known as a "priority date" and is based on the date that the employer files the labor certification with the Department of Labor.

Should I Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

If you are filing for an employment visa or for sponsorship for employment visa status, the requirements and process can be complicated. You may need an employment lawyer to assist you with the process to ensure success.