For decades, the United States of America has been pursuing a competent immigration policy that makes it possible to attract "the best minds in the world" and effectively control the flow of illegal labor migrants. The world's largest economy needs foreign specialists of various professions, so the country has an impressive number of work visas, without which official employment in the United States is impossible.

Work visa to the USA

Work visa in the U.S. for applicants from third countries in 2024 is not only a way to immigrate to the United States, but also an opportunity to gain invaluable experience and increase competitive advantages in the international labor market. Of course, the process of applying for the document is very complicated, takes a lot of time and requires careful preparation. Next, let's find out how to get a work visa to the U.S. in 2024.

Registration of a work visa in the U.S.

Any foreigner who does not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status, such as a Green Card, must first obtain a work visa in order to practice a profession in the United States. The local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for issuing the document.

Certain categories of aliens who are already lawfully present in the United States, such as fiancée visa holders (K1), U.S. university students, refugees and asylum seekers, need only file a petition (Form I-765) and obtain an Employment Authorization Document. In this case, a work visa is not required.

Today, the U.S. labor market is oversaturated with job offers from applicants from different parts of the world, whose qualifications do not always match the needs of the U.S. economy. Therefore, to hire a foreigner, in most cases, the local employer must undergo a special certification procedure with the federal Department of Labor.

The certification is based on 3 fundamental principles, namely, a foreign specialist should not have a negative impact on American workers in terms of:

  • Employment opportunities.

  • Wage levels.

  • Working conditions.

Registration of a work visa in the U.S.

In other words, a foreigner can obtain a work visa to the U.S. if the vacancy is not claimed by local citizens, while the pay and contract conditions must meet U.S. standards. Only after successful certification can the employer petition the USCIS (Form I-129) to issue a work visa to the foreigner. To do so, the candidate must meet the standards of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which regulates the admission of aliens to the United States.

Moreover, many types of work visas in the U.S. are subject to annual quotas, minimum requirements for qualifications, education, experience, and so on. Accordingly, the conclusion is that to get a job in an American company you need to have a very scarce profession, unique skills and a good command of English. Analyze the situation in individual states. For example, vacancies available to foreigners in Alaska are completely absent in California, and vice versa.

Procedure for obtaining a work visa in the USA

  • Search for a vacancy in an American company.

  • Interview and negotiate the terms of the employment contract.

  • Certification by the U.S. Department of Labor (if required).

  • Approval of the petition by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Form I-129).

  • Receiving official confirmation from USCIS that the petition is approved (Form I-797).

  • Sending a color photo and filling out an electronic visa application (form) on the U.S. Department of State website (Form DS-160).

  • Making an appointment, submitting documents and attending an interview at the U.S. Consulate in your country of residence.

You should be well prepared for the interview. Collect all the necessary documentation, read the instructions, brochures and recommendations on the official website of the Consulate. The likelihood of successful issuance of a work visa to the United States depends largely on the degree of interest of the employer in hiring a foreigner. It is the American company that prepares the lion's share of documents.

Important. The cost of a work visa to the U.S. (visa fee) in 2024 is 190 dollars. In some cases, there are additional fees or no fee at all. Read more here.

Documents for a work visa to the USA

Documents for a work visa to the USA

During the interview at the U.S. Consulate, you will need:

  1. All previous and valid passport that expires no later than 6 months from the date of planned departure from the US.

  2. A receipt for payment of the visa fee.

  3. A printout of the page confirming registration and completion of the DS-160 form.

  4. One color photo of a strictly defined form in printed form. The electronic version is uploaded at the time of submitting Form DS-160. See here for photo requirements.

  5. The petition approval receipt number (Form I-129 or I-797).

Consular officials may require additional information, such as qualifications and education or a medical examination. Typically, a U.S. work visa is issued within 60 calendar days of the interview. Depending on the specific situation, including the type of visa and the nationality of the applicant, the time frame may vary.

Types of work visas in the United States

Work visas in the United States are divided into immigrant and non-immigrant visas. In the first case, the foreigner moves to the States with the purpose of registration of permanent residence, which will later allow to obtain an American passport. In the second case, the initial plan is temporary employment with a subsequent return to the home country. Next, let's look at all types of work visas in the United States.

Immigrant work visas to the USA


EB1 work visa in the USA is available to 3 categories of foreigners with outstanding professional skills.

  • Artists, scientists, educators, business or sports whose achievements are internationally (nationally) recognized, documented and unquestionable. The visa is allowed to be obtained independently, i.e. without prior search for an employer.

  • Outstanding professors and scholars with at least 3 years of experience in a particular field to teach or conduct research at U.S. educational institutions. Invitation required.

  • Senior executives and managers who have held senior positions in branches or representative offices of major U.S. companies abroad for at least 12 months within the past 3 years. U.S. employment must be secured.


The EB2 U.S. work visa is available to 2 categories of aliens with significant professional accomplishments and a job offer.

  • Outstanding academics. The minimum requirements are a Master's degree (less often a Bachelor's degree is sufficient) and at least 5 years of work experience.

  • Holders of outstanding talent in business, science, and the arts.


EB3 work visa in the U.S. is available to 3 categories of foreigners whose profession is very scarce for the American labor market. The presence of a labor contract is mandatory.

  • Skilled professionals with at least 2 years of work experience or training period.

  • Professional workers with a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university or a foreign diploma recognized in the United States.

  • Unskilled professionals with 2 years of work or training experience.


The EB4 U.S. work visa is issued to aliens, and sometimes family members, whose past activities are of particular importance to the United States. Includes many categories, such as employees of international organizations, military personnel, religious leaders, doctors, Afghan and Iraqi interpreters. A job offer is not required.


The EB5 US work visa is for wealthy foreigners who can invest more than $1 million ($500,000 in special zones) in a US business and create at least 10 jobs within 2 years.

Types of work visas in the United States

Non-immigrant work visas to the USA


H-1B work visa in the USA is in the highest demand. The quota is 65 thousand visas per year. At the same time, 6.8 thousand are placed in a separate subcategory H-1B1 specifically for citizens of Chile and Singapore. The visa is issued for a maximum of 3 years with the right to extend up to 6 years.

Covers a wide range of professions, but more likely to receive have technical specialists and medical workers. Petitions are accepted annually from April 1, allowing you to begin working in the U.S. on October 1. Basic requirements:

  • A contract with a U.S. employer.

  • Higher education recognized in the U.S. or at least 12 years of experience in the profession.

The H-1B3 subcategory is for well-known models.


The H-2A U.S. work visa allows you to perform temporary (seasonal) work in agriculture. It is issued for a maximum of 1 year with the right to extend. To qualify for the visa, you must find a position that does not apply to Americans. In addition, there is a country restriction.


The H-2B work visa in the United States provides for seasonal employment in all areas of the economy, except agriculture. The conditions and procedure for issuance are identical to the H-2A visa. The quota for the visa is 66 thousand per year.


H-1C work visa provides work in the United States for registered nurses.


H-3 work visa is issued to specialists in the field of practical training of disabled children.


The temporary U.S. I work visa is for workers in the media, radio, and film industries. It is issued for the duration of a project or short-term journalistic activity on U.S. soil.


The L-1 U.S. work visa allows key employees of international companies to transfer to a branch or representative office located in the United States. At least 1 year of employment with the company within the last 3 years is required. The visa is usually granted for 3 years at a time, or 1 year if the branch office has just been established.


The O-1 U.S. work visa is issued for 3 years to aliens who have achieved great success in one of the following industries – athletics, arts, film and television, business, education and science. A job offer is required.


The P-1 U.S. work visa is applicable to outstanding athletes for competition or entertainers for concert performances.


The P-2 U.S. work visa entitles artists and entertainers to participate in state-level exchange programs.


The P-3 work visa allows holders of creative professions to attend and participate in cultural and entertainment events in the United States.


The Q-1 U.S. work visa helps to showcase the history, customs and traditions of the foreigner's country to Americans. It is based on international cultural exchange programs.


The R-1 U.S. work visa is for religious individuals who have an offer of employment from a non-profit U.S. organization. Religiously related, of course.

In conclusion, it should be noted that despite the extensive number of visa documents for applicants from abroad of different professions, it is incredibly difficult to obtain a work visa in the U.S. and the process itself takes a very long time. Plus not every American employer is willing to deal with the processing of permits for a foreigner.

You need to be a really valuable specialist. But in any case, everyone has a chance to move to the United States and find a job. After all, no one has canceled the annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program lottery.

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