Temporary Work Visas
(H-1B, H-2B, H-3 & J-1)
Skilled WorkerS (H):
An H visa is issued to a nonimmigrant for the purpose of temporary employment in the United States. To qualify for an H visa, the applicant must demonstrate that: (a) the prospective employer has filed in the U.S. and the USCIS has approved a petition (Form I-129) requesting H status for the applicant, and (b) the applicant qualifies for the specified employment by showing proof of education and relevant work experience.
Types of H Visas:
H-1B visa (specialty occupation) is required by an employee in the United States to perform services in a professional job. To qualify, the alien requires a bachelor’s or higher degree (or equivalent) in the specific specialty for which employment authorization is being sought. Before filing the petition with the USCIS, the employer is required to file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor concerning the terms and conditions of the contract of employment.
Applicants for H-1B visas are not required to prove that they do not intend to immigrate to the United States. However, you must prove that you are qualified for the visa and that you will be performing the work that USCIS approved as a skilled job.
H-2B visa (skilled and unskilled worker) is required by an employee in the United States to perform a job that is temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers. Before filing the petition with the USCIS, the employer is required to obtain from the Department of Labor a labor certification confirming that there are no qualified U.S. workers eligible for the employment on which the petition is based.
Applicants for H-2B visas are required to prove that they do not intend to immigrate to the United States.
H-3 visa (trainee) is required by a trainee who is to receive training from an employer in any field of endeavor, other than graduate education or training. The training cannot be available in the individual’s home country. The employer is required to file a petition, form I-129H, with USCIS.
Applicants for H-3 visas are required to prove that they do not intend to immigrate to the United States.
Immediate Family Members of H Visa Holders (H-4 visa):
Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 of H visa holders require derivative H-4 visas. Spouses and children of H visa holders may study in private or public schools. However, spouses on H-4 visas may not work. The principal H applicant must prove the ability to support the family financially while in the U.S.
Exchange visitor (J-1):
The J-1 visa is meant to facilitate scientific, cultural, and educational exchange. Anyone wishing to take up prearranged employment, training, or research in the United States under an officially approved program sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution requires an exchange visitor (J-1) visa. Applicants for the J-1 visa include postgraduate students, foreign medical graduates, foreign scholars sponsored by universities as temporary faculty, teacher, and some business trainees. In addition, there are several exchange visitor programs, including summer camp counselor programs, and intern programs for university students.
In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you will need the original form DS-2019 from your program representative. In addition, you will need to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. You will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the J-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in the U.S., as long as you have a new DS-2019 that is still valid. The holder of a J-1 visa may remain in the United States for up to 30 days following the completion of the program.
If you wish to remain longer that this time, you will be required to apply for an adjustment of status or extension of stay from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence in the United States.
Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement:
Restrictions apply to some J-1 visa holders who seek to receive certain other visa categories or permanent residence. Former exchange visitors may not be issued permanent residence (greencards), fiancé(e) (K),temporary worker (H), or intra-company transferee (L) visas until they have resided and been physically present in the country of nationality or last residence for at least two years after they have finished the exchange visitor program if one or more of the following conditions applies:
• The program was financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the United States government or by the country of exchange visitor's nationality or last residence; or;
• The exchange visitor was a national or resident of a country which the Secretary of State has designated as clearly requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skills in which the alien was engaged during the exchange visitor program; or;
• The exchange visitor was a physician who entered the United States to receive medical education or training (except those who participated in a program involving exclusively teaching research or consultation).
The words “Bearer Is Subject” will appear on your visa if this two-year foreign residence requirement applies.
A J-1 exchange visitor may apply for a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds for a waiver:
1. No Objection Statement (NOS): The home country issues a No Objection Statement (NOS) waiving the two-year residence requirement and does not object to the possibility of the J-1 visa holder becoming a resident of the U.S.
2. Request by an interested government agency (IGA): If an exchange visitor is working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. Federal Government agency, and that agency has determined that the visitor's departure for two years to fulfill the requirement will be detrimental to its interest, that agency may request an interested government agency waiver for the sake of public interest.
3. Persecution: If an exchange visitor believes that she or he will be persecuted based on her/his race, religion, or political opinion if she/he were to return home.
4. Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child of an exchange visitor: If an exchange visitor can demonstrate that her or his departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to her or his U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child, she or he may apply for an exceptional hardship waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.)
5. Request by a designated State Department of Public Health or its equivalent: A foreign medical graduate who has an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area or at a health care facility which serves patients from such a designated area, and agrees to begin employment at that facility within 90 days of receiving a waiver, and who signs a contract to continue to work at that health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and for not less than three years, may apply for a waiver. Note: Only foreign medical doctors who received their J-1 status to pursue graduate medical education or training may apply for a waiver under this basis.
Immediate Family Members of J-1 Visa Holders (J-2 visa):
Children under 21 years of age and spouses of J-1 visa applicants may apply for "derivative" visas (J-2). Derivative visas are unavailable to the parents, in-laws, or adult children of the principal applicant (children over 21 years of age). J-2 spouses may study while in the United States. The children of J-1 holders are allowed to attend either public or private schools in the United States on J-2 visas. J-2 holders may work in the United States only if they have received permission in advance from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.