The United States, as one of the world’s leading economies, attracts individuals from around the globe seeking employment opportunities. To legally work in the U.S., foreign nationals typically need to get an employment visa. There are various types of employment visas, each with its own requirements and limitations.
To make an informed decision about your move to the United States for work, you need to understand the different employment visa options.
H-1B visa: Specialized occupations
An H-1B visa is suitable for individuals in specialized fields such as IT, engineering, mathematics and medicine. To qualify, you need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty and have a job offer from a U.S. employer who will sponsor your visa.
E visas: Traders and investors
E visas are for traders and investors from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. E-1 visas are for treaty traders who carry out substantial trade between the U.S. and their home country. E-2 visas are for treaty investors who make significant investments in a U.S. business.
L-1 visa: Intra-company transferees
The L-1 visa allows multinational companies to transfer managers, executives or specialized knowledge employees from an overseas office to a U.S. office. There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A for executives and managers, and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.
O-1 visa: Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement
The O-1 visa is for individuals who have extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business or athletics or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
J-1 visa: Exchange visitors
The J-1 visa is for individuals approved to take part in work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs. These programs are often for teachers, scholars, camp counselors, au pairs or summer work/travel program participants.
The United States offers several employment visa options for those seeking to work in the country. Your qualifications, the nature of the work and other factors will determine which visa is most appropriate for you.