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Employees' Guide to U.S. Immigration

Experienced professionals are no longer tied to their country's employment opportunities. Many visa options are available to help professionals seek employment overseas-- especially in the United States. If you are seeking employment in the United States, you might be wondering what you can do to obtain a work visa. Our Fort Lauderdale immigration attorneys have put together a guide to U.S. employment immigration.

Employee's Guide to U.S Work Visas

There are multiple ways a foreign professional can obtain residency and work authorization in the United States. The most common and direct way is to have an employer sponsor you for a work visa. Sponsorship by an employer is the only immigration category that allows applicants to self-petition, meaning the applicant does not require a labor certification. The five employment-based immigration categories are:

EB-1: Priority Workers

This includes individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; and certain executives and managers of foreign operations of U.S. businesses.

EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability

This category is for professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree, or its foreign equivalent) or a foreign degree determined to be the equivalent of a U.S. advanced degree, and persons demonstrating exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

This category is for skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience), professionals (minimum a bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent), and other workers (unskilled workers that perform unskilled labor requiring less than two years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature).

EB-4: Special Immigrants

This category is for religious workers, broadcasters, employees of the U.S. government abroad, Iraqi/Afghan translators, certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government, and persons who have been employed for at least one year by an international organization, physicians, armed forces members, Panamanian Canal Zone employees, retired employees of the Panama Canal Commission, and certain spouses and children of deceased former Panama Canal Commission employees.

EB-5: Employment Creation/Investors

This category is for immigrant investors who invest in a new commercial enterprise that creates full-time positions for at least ten qualifying U.S. workers.

Other Ways to Obtain Employment Authorization in the United States

There are other ways to obtain employment authorization in the United States, even if you are not seeking a work visa. These include:

  • Asylum or refugee status

  • Certain trade programs

  • Student visas (F, J, or M visas) that permit employment

  • Exchange visitor programs (J visa)

  • Green card holders (permanent residents)

Requirements Needed to Qualify for an Employment Visa

You will need to meet certain requirements to qualify for a work visa or employment authorization in the United States. These requirements vary depending on the type of visa or immigration status you are seeking. However, some general requirements that may be applicable include:

  • You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer

  • You must be able to show that you are qualified for the position

  • You must be able to show that there are no U.S. workers who are able, willing, and qualified to do the job

  • The job offer cannot be for a temporary or seasonal position

  • Your employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL)

  • Your employer must file an immigration petition on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

  • You must be admissible to the United States

  • If you are already in the United States, you may need to change or adjust your status. If you are outside of the United States, you will need to obtain a visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy

Need help obtaining an employment visa? Get in touch with our Fort Lauderdale immigration attorneys today at (954) 874-8870 to get a consultation!