Overview of temporary work visas

To enter the United States legally, a person must have a visa. Visas are available to immigrants who wish to move to the United States and remain permanently and to non-immigrants who wish to visit the United States for a finite period of time and for a specific purpose. One type of non-immigrant visas is temporary work visas. What follows is a summary of some visas available to non-immigrant workers.

H status category visas

The H status category visas are primarily for employers who need to fill an immediate or temporary need for labor.

To qualify for an H-1B visa, a person must work in a “specialty occupation.” In general a specialty occupation is one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a highly specialized body of knowledge.” A person seeking this type of visa also must have any required state licenses and obtained at least a bachelor’s degree or have experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation.

H-2A visas are for temporary agricultural workers. To qualify for this visa, a person must be an agricultural worker coming to the U.S. to work temporarily. Agricultural seasonal workers qualify for this type of visa. H-2B visas are but are for individuals entering the U.S. to work in a non-agricultural temporary position.

H-3 visas are for trainees or special education visitors. To qualify for this visa, a person must be entering the U.S. to receiving training that is not available in their own country. This visa allows entry for up to two years.

The H-4 visa is available for spouses and children of individuals holding H-1, H-2 or H-3 visas.

L status category visas

The L visa is for intracompany transferees. The purpose of this category is to allow businesses that operate internationally to transfer high-level or essential employees to U.S.-based offices. High-level or essential employees are those who have specialized knowledge or hold a managerial or executive position.

O status category visas

The O-1 visa is for persons with “extraordinary ability” or “achievement” who are entering the U.S. to work in their area of expertise. Extraordinary ability refers to ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics. Achievement refers to achievements in television or film.

The O-2 visa is for people entering the U.S. solely to assist the O-1 visa holder. The O-3 visa is available for spouses and children of individuals holding O-1 or O-2 visas.

P status category visas

P-1 visas are for internationally recognized athletes and artists to enter the U.S. to compete or perform. They are available to individual members of an athletic team or entertainment group.

P-2 visas are for artists or entertainers coming to the U.S. as part of reciprocal exchange program. P-3 visas are for artists or entertainers entering the U.S. to teach, perform or coach in a culturally unique program. Support staff may also qualify for P-1, P-2 or P-3 visas. The P-4 visa is available for spouses and children of P-1, P-2 or P-3 visa holders.

Q status category visas

The Q-1 visa is for participants in international cultural exchange programs. The essential feature of this visa is they share their culture with the U.S. public. Performers in entertainment programs with a cultural component qualify for this visa. The Q-1 visa is valid for up to fifteen months.

Speak to an immigration lawyer

If you have questions about obtaining a work permit, contact Eric M. Bernal & Associates, LLC, today to schedule a consultation with a Texas immigration work permit attorney.