Many people from different countries want to come to the United States to work to enjoy better employment opportunities than those available in their countries. The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has different immigrant and non-immigrant employment visa classifications and other categories for people from foreign countries who want to work in the United States.
Each classification of employment visas for immigrants and non-immigrants has different employment requirements. If you’re a non-immigrant and wish to work temporarily in the U.S., a potential employer may file a petition with the USCIS on your behalf.
You may qualify to be granted an employment-based visa to reside and work in the U.S. Obtaining a permanent employment visa may depend on your education, previous work experience, and skills that qualify you for certain positions. If you live outside the U.S. and want to work here, you must apply for a visa from the U.S. Department of State.
The exception is if your country of origin doesn’t require a visa. The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs has specific information on their website about the Visa Waiver Program and the rules for the following regions:
- Marshall Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
Usually, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service must approve a petition for eligibility to apply to the U.S. State Department for a visa or permission to enter the United States. You must gain permission from a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent for permission to enter the country. If you’re lawfully living in the United States with a non-immigrant status and no authorization for employment, you may apply for a classification that allows you to be employed. In some cases, you may be able to have concurrent filings for employment and to become a permanent United States resident.
Temporary or Non-Immigrant Worker
To temporarily work as a non-immigrant in the U.S., a prospective employer must file a non-immigrant petition with U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services. A spouse and children of a non-immigrant who qualify for classification as dependent non-immigrants should apply to the U.S. Consulate. If you aren’t a citizen and work in the U.S., you may have to pay U.S. taxes. If you aren’t a citizen and want to apply for a Social Security number, you must have permission from the Department of Homeland Security. Only some non-immigration classifications allow you to work in the U.S. with a petition filed by an employer. You should always check your status on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site. Some non-immigrants who show extraordinary abilities may be eligible for self-petition. In this case, you wouldn’t need an employer to file a petition for you.
Permanent or Immigrant Worker
In some cases, for permission to be granted as an immigrant or permanent worker, you must have an offer for a job from an employer. The potential employer may be categorized as your sponsor. However, before submitting a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must have approved certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Labor Department must verify specific requirements. There must be a lack of willing U.S. or qualified workers to fulfill the positions. Hiring a worker from outside the U.S. doesn’t affect U.S. workers’ working conditions or pay rates. You should always check the laws for taxing alien residents of the U.S.
Students and Exchange Visitors
Under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service law, there are two classifications for students and exchange visitors. The F-category visa applies to academics; the M classification is for vocational students. The J-category is for exchange visitors to the U.S. to take part in cultural and educational exchange programs.
F-category visas apply to academic students, spouses and children of those students, and academic students who are Canadian or Mexican nationals who commute to the U.S. The M category for students applies to vocational students, spouses and families, and Mexican and Canadian commuter students. The J category applies to cultural and educational exchange visitors, spouses, and children.
Temporary Visitors for Business
If you’re visiting the U.S. for business purposes, you must have a temporary visitor for a business visa. The only exception is a qualification for admission under a visa waiver. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has different classes for visitors to the U.S. for business purposes. A temporary business visitor must conduct business for professional or commercial purposes and is classified as B-1. Under the Visa Waiver program, a temporary business visitor is categorized as WB. If you’re a temporary business visitor traveling to Guam, you’re classified as GB.
International Entrepreneur Parole
Entrepreneurs from outside the U.S. have always had a significant impact on the economy. As many as one in four high-tech businesses and start-ups are created by immigrants. As many as 40% of all the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were started by immigrants or their children.
The International Entrepreneur Rule, issued by President Obama’s administration, is a federal regulation under the Department of Homeland Security. It may allow entrepreneurs who aren’t citizens to stay in the U.S. if their business benefits the public significantly. The DHS works on a case-by-case basis. The rule only applies to start-up businesses.
The start-up must have been created in the U.S. within the past five years to demonstrate the growth potential and create new jobs from established U.S. investors or grants or awards from local, state, or federal agencies. The rule allows for as many as three of the company’s entrepreneurs to stay in the U.S. for up to two and a half years to oversee the growth of the company. If the start-up shows significant profits and the potential to grow significantly by creating new jobs, demonstrating a significant income, or increasing the amount of investments, an additional two-and-a-half-year extension may be granted.
Under the International Entrepreneur Rule, the business owner’s spouse and children may be granted an authorized stay. The rule states that spouses with parolee designation may apply to work, but the law doesn’t apply to their children. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may allow up to three entrepreneurs for each business start-up. To be considered, you must file the Application for Entrepreneur Parole form. Spouses and children under 21 must file an Application for Travel form.
Visas to work in the U.S. and how long you may work here depend on the type of immigrant status you’re allowed by the Department of Homeland Security. If the conditions of your immigration status are violated, you could be denied re-entry into the U.S. or forced to leave the country.