Immigration FAQ

What Types of Temporary Work Visas are Available?

H Visas

H visas are broken down into several categories. There are limits on the number of each type of H visa available in any given year. Employers may be required to file for labor certification from the Department of Labor prior to petitioning the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for H visas for temporary workers.

  • H-1B visas are available for specialty workers, which are defined as workers in occupations that require some degree of theoretical or practical application of specialized knowledge. Those acquiring H-1B visas must have a bachelor's degree or other advanced education degree.
  • H-1C visas are available to foreign nurses who are willing to work in medically underserved areas in the US. Nurses may remain in the country for up to three years.
  • H-2A visas are available to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers. Employment is restricted to one year or less or to certain times of year, such as harvesting season.
  • H-2B visas are available to nonagricultural temporary workers who perform one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent employment. The temporary employment must be full-time to qualify.
  • H-3 visas are available to trainees, including those in the field of special education. Trainees may remain up to two years in the US, with the exception of special education trainees, who are restricted to 18 months total training. Medical and academic trainees are not eligible for H-3 visas.

L Visas

L visas are available for intracompany transferees. To be eligible, the individual must have been employed abroad for at least one year within the last three years, must be entering the US to work at a subsidiary, branch, parent or affiliate of the foreign company employer and must be fulfilling an executive or manager position or a position that requires specialized knowledge. Specialized knowledge may include knowledge of the employer's product, its application in international markets or an advanced understanding of the employer's processes and procedures.

O Visas

  • visas are for those with extraordinary ability in the arts, science, education, business or athletics, or extraordinary achievement in movies or television. To be considered "extraordinary," the individual must have earned national and international praise. Chefs, directors and choreographers may be included in this category. Those who assist one of these individuals may be able to obtain a visa to join them in the US as well as spouses and minor children.

P Visas

P visas are reserved for athletes and entertainers. Those qualifying for P visas must perform at a level that is internationally recognized and may be individually applying or as part of a group or team. If the entertainer is part of a group, the group generally must have been formed at least one year prior to applying for the visa. As with O visas, those assisting the athlete or entertainer may apply for a P visa to join them, as well as spouses and minor children.

Q Visas

Q visas are available to foreign nationals to come to the US as cultural exchange visitors and receive practical training and employment while sharing their history, culture and traditions with US employees. US employers must file a petition to sponsor a cultural exchange visitor with the USCIS. Individuals can remain in the US initially up to 15 months on a Q visa.

For more information on applying for a temporary worker nonimmigrant visa, contact an experienced immigration attorney today. The application process can be difficult and time-consuming. A knowledgeable attorney can explain the requirements to you and help you complete the process correctly.

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