Temporary Work Visas

Employers seeking employees with specific skills and expertise may utilize the provisions of current U.S. law for the hiring of foreign workers on a temporary basis. The temporary visa categories are identified by an alphabetical designation and we have provided information on this website for the most frequently used temporary work visa categories.

General requirements for temporary visa holders comprise the following:

  • The purpose of the visit must be for a temporary, specifically defined period time and the foreign national must maintain an intent to depart the US at the end of the authorized stay (this rule does not apply to H-1B or L visa holders);
  • Must be in possession of a valid passport;
  • Must maintain foreign residence (in some cases);
  • May be required to show proof of financial support (through U.S. employer’s offer of employment);
  • Must be admissible or have obtained a waiver for any ground of inadmissibility; and;
  • Must abide by the terms and conditions of admission. For example, in the case of a sponsored H-1B visa holder, the petition is valid only for the specified employer and employment position.

Certain visa categories, such as H-1Bs, O-1s, and non-Blanket L-1s, first require the filing of a petition by the sponsored U.S. employer with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).   Upon approval, the foreign national will be eligible to apply for a visa at the US Consulate in his or her home country in order to enter the US and start working for the petitioning employer.   Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement except for the categories of E-1 treaty traders and E-2 treaty investors.

At the scheduled appointment with the U.S. Consulate, the foreign national is interviewed by a Consular Officer who decides whether the applicant satisfies the eligibility requirements for the particular visa category as well as admission in general (i.e., is not a criminal, has not previously committed immigration fraud, etc.). The foreign national must also undergo a background security check at this point in the process to be issued a visa.  Subsequently, upon arrival in the U.S., the foreign national is inspected by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer who is responsible for reconfirming the eligibility to enter the U.S. under the requested nonimmigrant visa classification and authorizes a specific length of stay in the U.S.

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