US Work Visa

US Temporary Work Visas

US Temporary Work Visas

In order to work legally in the United States, you must first obtain work authorization. The United States has several different nonimmigrant visa classifications for temporary workers. The spouse and children who qualify as dependents are also able to obtain dependant visas. The following is a breakdown of the temporary (nonimmigrant) visa classifications in the United States.

Nonimmigrant Classification for Temporary Workers (Nonimmigrant Visa)

  • CW-1 Visa – The CNMI-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) visa classification allows employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to apply for permission to employ aliens who are otherwise ineligible to work under other nonimmigrant worker categories. The CW classification provides a method for the transition from the former CNMI foreign worker permit system to the U.S. immigration system. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a CW-2 nonimmigrant.
  • E-1 Visa – Treaty traders and qualified employees. The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.  Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an E-1 nonimmigrant. The spouse of an E-1 automatically receives work authorization.
  • E-2 Visa – The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an E-2 nonimmigrant. The spouse of an E-2 automatically receives work authorization.
  • E-3 Visa – The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an E-3 nonimmigrant.
  • H-1B Visa – The H-1B nonimmigrant classification applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit, and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an H-4 nonimmigrant.
  • H-2A Visa – The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an H-4 nonimmigrant.
  • H-2B Visa – The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an H-4 nonimmigrant.
  • H-3 Visa -The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category allows noncitizens to come temporarily to the United States as either a  (1) trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the noncitizen’s home country, or,  (2)  Special Education Exchange Visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an H-4 nonimmigrant.
  • I Visa – You may be eligible for the I, Representatives of Foreign Media, nonimmigrant visa, if you; Represent a foreign information media outlet (press, radio, film, or other foreign information media); Are coming to the United States to engage solely in this profession, and have a home office in a foreign country. Occupations under this category include reporters, film crews, editors, and similar occupations. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an I nonimmigrant.
  • L-1A Visa – The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an L-2 nonimmigrant.
  • L-1B Visa – The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an L-2 nonimmigrant.
  • O-1 Visa – The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an O-3 nonimmigrant.
  • O-2 Visa Individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an O-3 nonimmigrant.
  • P-1A Visa – The P-1A classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to the United States solely for the purpose of performing at a specific athletic competition as An individual athlete at an internationally recognized level of performance; Part of a group or team at an internationally recognized level of performance; A professional athlete; or An athlete or coach, as part of a team or franchise that is located in the United States and a member of a foreign league or association. The P-1A classification also applies to professional or amateur athletes coming temporarily to the United States solely to perform in a specific theatrical ice skating production or tour, individually or as part of a group. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a P-4 nonimmigrant.
  • P-1B Visa – The P-1B classification applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been established for a minimum of one year and recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a P-4 nonimmigrant.
  • P-2 Visa – The P-2 classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a P-4 nonimmigrant.
  • P-3 Visa – The P-3 classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a P-4 nonimmigrant.
  • R-1 Visa – An R-1 nonimmigrant is an alien who is coming to the United States temporarily to work at least part-time (an average of at least 20 hours per week) as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation and be employed by a: non-profit religious organization in the United States; a religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or Non-profit organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States. To qualify, you must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before filing the petition. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as an R-2 nonimmigrant.
  • TN Visa – The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join as a TD nonimmigrant.

For more information visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.