If you want to work in the United States, you must first obtain a work visa or work authorization in order to do so. A work visa is a document which allows you to work legally in the United States. A US visa does not automatically grant you permission to work in the US. Many non-immigrant visas, for example, give you permission to enter or live in the US but do not allow you to work in the US. For example, the student visa and visitor visa – the two most popular types of US visas – do not authorize holders to work in the US.
A work visa is intended to do several things. First, it shows potential employers that you have authority to legally work in the United States. Work visas also limit the amount of foreign nationals who can legally work in the United States, ensuring that US workers enjoy access to jobs as well as good wages and good standards of work.
Working in the US without a legal work visa can create many problems for you. Working without work authorization or a correct US visa can subject you to criminal charges, fines, and removal from the US. For this reason, it is always very important to secure a legal work visa before starting work in the US. Many people incorrectly assume that it is difficult to obtain a US visa for work. In fact, there are several types of visa that you can apply for in order to get work in the US:
1. TN Work Visa. This work visa allows Canadian professionals to work in the United States under the NAFTA agreement. Only NAFTA professionals are allowed to work in the US using this type of work visa.
2. L-1 Work Visa. This work visa is for senior managers, professionals with specialized knowledge, and executives who wish to work in the US.
3. E2 Work Visa. This visa allows you to invest in the US in order to work in the US.
4. H-1B Work Visa. Professionals who have Specialty Occupations can immigrate to the US and work in the US with this visa.
5. H-2B Work Visa. This visa is for professional, non-agricultural workers who wish to work in the US.
6. E-1 Work Visa. These visas are for treaty investors and workers.
7. J-1 Waiver Application. This visa allows professionals to enter the US on exchange or in order to get on the job training.
8. O-1 Visas. These visas allow very skilled and recognized professionals in education, business, sciences, arts, athletics, and communications to enter and work in the US.
9. P Visas. These US visas allow athletes and entertainers to enter and work in the US.
Generally, if you are a professional with good credentials or belong to a profession that is currently experiencing shortages in the United States, you should be able to secure a work visa without too much difficulty. The United States is always looking for highly trained, highly qualified individuals. If you wish to work in the United States, your best option is to research various types of work visa options available and to apply for the work visa that you are most eligible for. A US immigration attorney can help you if you are not sure how to secure a US work visa.
It is important to note that most work visas have an expiration date and most are only offered for a few years. Some work visas can be extended, but it is important that you only work for the time that you have a valid work visa in the United States. Once your Visa has expired, you need to apply for a different type of immigration status or you need to leave the US. Once you’ve worked in the United States for a few years, you can also seek a green card. A green card will allow you to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.