Skip to Content

What Are the Different Types of Employment Visas?

Woman looking down at a tablet in her hands.

The United States provides a plethora of opportunities for foreign nationals around the world who are looking for work. Before foreign nationals may work in the U.S., however, they must obtain some form of employment-based visa.

There is a wide range of employment-based visas from which to choose, depending on the foreign national’s unique situation.

In our blog, we discuss some of the most common types of employment-based visas to help you decide which one may be right for you.

What is an Employment-Based Visa?

According to the U.S. Department of State, there are approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas made available to qualified applicants each fiscal year. These employment visas allow foreign nationals to live and work in the country temporarily.

Employment visas provide work eligibility for those employed or interested in a wide variety of fields, including investment, religious service, management, and more. The particular field in which you’re employed or interested will determine which visa you try to obtain.

What Are the Different Types of Employment-Based Visas?

There are many different types of employment visas available to you. Review the following list of the most common employment visas so you know which one may be best for you:

  • H-1B: This visa allows companies to bring in workers with specialized knowledge for a temporary period of time.

  • E-1, E-2, and EB-5: These visas allow investors and treaty traders to enter the country to engage in trade and invest in businesses.

  • R: This visa allows religious workers to enter the country for a short period of time to perform religious functions.

  • L: This visa allows executives, managers, and professional employees with specialized knowledge to transfer to related businesses in the U.S.

  • J: This visa allows researchers, students, scholars, and professors to enter the country to pursue their fields of study.

  • O and P: These visas allow entertainers, artists, and other individuals with extraordinary talent to enter the country to pursue their field of excellence.

  • TN/TD: These visas allow professionals from Canada and Mexico to work in the U.S.

  • PERM: Any U.S. employer looking to hire workers from foreign countries must apply for this labor certification.

How Do You Apply for an Employment-Based Visa?

In order to apply for one of the aforementioned employment visas, your prospective employer or agent must first petition for you. To do this, your employer will obtain a labor certification approval from the U.S. Department of Labor. Once this has been received, then your employer will file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

It’s important to keep in mind that your application will be categorized into one of the following preference categories, which may affect the length of time until you receive your visa:

  • Employment First Preference (E1): Priority Worker and Persons of Extraordinary Ability. This category includes those with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. It also includes outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives.

  • Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability. This category includes those holding an advanced degree or those with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.

  • Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers). This category includes skilled workers, professionals with a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university, and unskilled workers.

  • Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants. This category includes other types of workers who are not eligible for inclusion in the E1, E2, or E3 categories.

  • Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors. This category includes foreign investors interested in capital investment in new commercial enterprises in the U.S. that provide job creation.

Interested in Working in the United States? Contact Us Today

If you’re interested in obtaining an employment visa to work in the U.S., our Dallas employment visa attorneys are here to help. We’re well-versed in all forms of employment- and family-based immigration law, and we’re here to help you.

Contact Akula & Associates at (844) 299-5003 for a consultation with our team.

Share To: