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Understanding the different work-related visas available

In our last post, we discussed the fact that any person coming to the U.S., even temporarily, will typically have to have a visa. Whether a person is coming to visit family, travel or for work, he or she will have to first get the appropriate visa.

We also discussed the fact that there are many different visas available; not every person will qualify for the same visa, even if they are coming to the U.S. for the same reason. For example, if someone is coming to this country for work, he or she may get confused by all the different employment-related visa options.

Broadly speaking, employment visas can be broken down into three categories: visas for temporary workers, permanent workers and visitors here for business purposes.

Temporary workers must specify the nature of their job and as well as how long the job is expected to last when applying for a visa. Once that end date arrives, the visa will expire and the worker must leave the U.S.

Permanent workers are not bound by this time restriction, though they may have to have a labor certificate in place before the visa can be granted. Visas for permanent workers are given based on preference category, which identifies the type of job being performed. For instance, highest priority is given to people with extraordinary abilities in certain areas. Investors, religious workers and professional, skilled workers are given lower priority.

If your job is in another country but it requires you to visit the U.S. for purposes like negotiations, a conference or consultation, you will likely need a temporary business visitor visa. 

Considering how much may be on the line when it comes to working in the U.S., it can be crucial that you understand what you need to do to protect yourself, your status and your future by securing the proper employment visa. Working with an attorney to do this can be a good way to avoid careless mistakes and oversights.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Working in the US," accessed on Nov. 6, 2015

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