What is work visa? 2023 Complete Guide

A work visa is a type of employment-based visa that lets foreigners come into the country and stay there legally while they work.

The length of time a person can stay on these visas depends on the category.

Employers must petition USCIS for work visas.

As soon as the petition is accepted by USCIS, the applicant can then apply for a work visa.

However, for a foreigner to get a work visa, they must meet all USCIS requirements, fill out a visa application, submit supporting documents, and go through an in-person interview.

This step occurs in the native nation of the applicant.

The employee is then free to enter the country and begin working once the visa is granted.

How does a work visa work?

For instance, those who wish to have temporary jobs in the United States and enter the country legally must obtain a work visa.

Employer and visa type will influence the span of employment.

Temporary work visas fall into several categories, each of which covers a slightly different set of workers and jobs.

Examples of some of these groups are:

  • A specialized profession
  • Expert on Free Trade Agreements
  • Workers in Agricultural Industry
  • Position other than farming
  • Students undergoing training or observing a unique educational setting

Thus, before petitioning USCIS, several visa categories require employers to get labor certificates and Department of Labor permission.

If you are a company thinking about hiring a foreign national, you may want to check with an immigration attorney to make sure you comply with all of the regulations necessary to acquire the necessary work visa for your employee.

After entering the country on a work visa, foreign nationals must follow all employment and visa rules.

If workers or on-immigrants break any of the terms of their visa, they may be barred from entering the country again.

Step by step on how to get this visa

Several things need to be done before, during, and after the visa procedure to ensure that your work visa application is successful.


Think Twice Before Applying for That Visa

Three prerequisites must be met by both the prospective employer and employee before a work visa can be applied for.

They risk having their visa application denied if they do not satisfy all the requirements.

Job Proposal: Temporary workers from outside the country are required to have a job offer from an employer before entering the country.

A request made by the company: An employer must petition on behalf of a foreign worker once an offer of employment has been made.

Petition for Nonimmigrant: The worker must be filed with USCIS by the employer.

It is impossible to apply for a work visa in the first place until a petition has been accepted.

Meanwhile, not everyone who applies for a work visa receives one, even if their petition is accepted.

To apply for one of the following types of work visas, employers must first get a certification from the DOL:





The DOL certification demonstrates that the company cannot find a qualified American worker to fill the position.

Application procedure

After the applicant has met the aforementioned criteria and received USCIS approval for their petition, they can apply for a visa.

The candidate is responsible for doing the following:

  • If you want to apply for a visa, you need to fill out the DS-160, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization for Nonimmigrants.
  • Each piece of data entered must be 100% genuine.
  • It’s possible to fill out the application in many languages, but English must be used for all responses.
  • After submitting this form, please print the confirmation page for your records.

The next step after applying is:

Setting Up an Interview: After applying, the candidate must set up an interview with the US Embassy in their country of residence.

To schedule an interview, applicants need to have their petition approval number.

Appointment waiting times are not the same in every country.

Learn as much as you can about the Interviewer:

  • The key to a good interview is thorough preparation.
  • Visa application fees are non-refundable and must be paid in full before an interview can be scheduled.
  • To prepare for the interview, they must also obtain any necessary paperwork.
  • Additional paperwork may be needed from applicants based on their nation of origin.
  • To ensure they have all they need, applicants should review the embassy or consulate’s online checklist.


Documents you need are:

  • Certificate of citizenship or passport


  • Nonimmigrant Visa application


  • Verifying page


  • Receipt for application fees


  • Passport photo that conforms to specifications


  • Number of approved petition submissions

The candidate must appear for an interview with a consular officer.

After reviewing the application, the officer will conduct an interview.

If you’re going to answer these questions, you need to do it honestly and thoroughly.

Perhaps the visa officer suspects that an applicant is being dishonest, and he or she will reject the application.

Applicants for a short-term US visa must demonstrate strong ties to, and intentions to return to, their home country.

A few examples of such connections are:

  • Having family and other ties to one’s home nation that make returning a priority, having a permanent residency in one’s native country


  • Economic Conditions


  • Future projections

There will be a fingerprinting process and a visa insurance premium payment if the visa is granted during this interview.

Categories of Working Visas

There are several different categories of work visas. The proper visa for a foreign national will depend on the nature and goal of their employment.

Specialty Occupation H-1B Visa. To qualify for an H-1B visa, applicants must demonstrate both advanced knowledge in their chosen field of study and substantial experience in the relevant field.

Professionals in Fields Benefiting from Free Trade Agreements Qualify for the H-1B1 Visa. Only the citizens of Chile and Singapore are eligible to apply for H-1B1 visas. The requirements are quite similar to those of an H-1B visa.

The H-2A visa is for temporary agricultural workers. This paves the way for someone to work in agriculture on a short-term or seasonal basis.

Non-agricultural temporary worker visa (H-2B). This visa is identical to the H-2A, however, the temporary worker is not limited to working in agriculture.

Trainee or Individual Needs Student Visa (H-3): Individuals seeking education or training that is not readily available in their home country may apply for an H-3 Visa to enter the United States. Training programs for teaching kids with special needs are a common part of this.

The international students will be studying and training in the United States, but ultimately they will return home to pursue professional careers in their home countries.

I Visa: International Reporters Foreign journalists and media crews must get an I Visa to legally work in the United States.

With this visa, they can work for their sponsoring US employer indefinitely, granting them legal status to live and work in the United States.

Visa L-1: Employee Transfer within the Same Company. An L1 Visa allows a worker to move between international offices of the same company. The worker must continue working for the same organization.

A Person with Extraordinary Abilities may qualify for an O-1 Visa. The O-1 visa is for those who can demonstrate their expertise in one of the following areas: science, business, education, athletics, or the arts.

They are frequently honored on a global scale.

Performer visas, or “P” visas. Performers in sports, music or the arts can apply for one of three types of P visas (P-1A, P-2, and P-3) to enter the United States.

Non-immigrant R-1 visas are available to religious workers who are performing temporary services. Those planning to enter the United States to serve with a religious group are eligible for this visa.

When can I expect my work visa to expire?

Visa type and employer contract determine non-immigrant work visa duration.

For instance, H-1B visas can be extended for a total of six years.

Depending on the terms of the labor certification, an H-2A or H-2B visa can also be valid for a period that is no longer than one year.

A maximum of three-year extensions can be requested after the initial year.

The length of time an O-1, P, or R-1 visa holder is permitted to stay in the United States depends on how long it takes to complete the specified event or performance.

In addition, all of these visas can be extended, but only the O-1 has no maximum stay allowed.

Let’s say you have no idea how long you have until your visa expires.

If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to go to a lawyer specializing in immigration law to ensure you’re meeting all the requirements for your visa and determine whether or not you’re qualified for an extension.

Who Can Apply?

You may apply for a work visa if you meet the requirements below.

  • You’re an adult, meaning you’re over the age of (usually between 35-55).
  • You’ve been offered a job in another country.
  • Your industry experience is at least three years.


Top countries that give Work Visa

The following are the top countries that give work visas:

US work visa. The H1B visa is the most popular work permit issued by the United States.

If you want to be eligible for this visa, you must be working in a specialized field (such as information technology, architecture, accounting, etc.).

Access the most recent information regarding the H1b visa right here.

UK work visa: Depending on your background and preferences, you can apply for one of several different types of UK work visas.

Tier 2 General visas are the second most common work visas for foreign nationals to enter the United Kingdom.

Canada work visa: Express Entry is the preferred route to obtaining a work visa in Canada.

To obtain this work visa, you must achieve a certain score.

Work visa for Australia: Australia offers a variety of temporary and permanent work visas.

Employer nomination and a separate application are often required for most types of work visas in Australia.

Europe work visa: The EU Blue Card is Europe’s most widely held work visa.

The EU Blue card application process uses a points system similar to Canada’s Express Entry to determine your eligibility.


Can I Get a Work Visa If I Don’t Have an Employer?

Work visas require an employer. However, some countries (such as Germany) offer job-seeker visas for people who desire to work overseas but do not yet have a job offer.

Numerous nations provide alternative forms of employment authorization for the self-employed; these visas are designed for travelers who wish to work remotely.

When is the expiration date?

You can get a work visa for five years or ten years. How long your work visa is good for will be determined by both the country you’re working in and the job you hold.

In most cases, the duration of your employment contract will determine the length of your work visa.

Who is eligible for USA work permit?

To get USA Work Permit, you don’t have to be a permanent resident, but you do need an immigrant or non-immigrant visa that lets you live and work in the U.S. Persons who qualify for Deferred Action can also apply for and receive Work Permits. The fee to submit a Work Permit application is $485.

What is the cost?

A work visa might cost up to $1,000 in service and administration fees.

Moreover, you should know that the costs vary from nation to country and depend on whether your work visa is temporary or permanent.

Is It Possible to Get a Work Visa With Relatives?

In most cases, family members are permitted to accompany a worker who has been granted a work visa. Your siblings, parents, and children may travel with you to some nations.

Reasons for Refusing a Work Visa

The most common causes for work visa denial are:

  • You have been convicted of a crime.
  • There are some gaps in your application that you need to fill in.
  • You’re ineligible.
  • Nobody has extended a job offer to you.

Is there any difference between work visa and employment visa?

The ability to work in the US is provided by both an Employment Visa and work visa, but they are not the same. A work visa has different eligibility conditions than an Employment Visa. Therefore, it is advisable to comprehend how the two documents differ from one another.

Can Work Visa be permanent?

Permanent work visas let people from other countries work and live in the United States for good. Less rules apply to permanent residents than to employees with temporary visas.

A permanent work visa permits the holder to petition for U.S. citizenship. For a worker to get a permanent visa, their employer must submit a petition to USCIS.

However, those who are already in the country legally but on a temporary visa can apply for “adjustment of status” to the permanent resident status once their employer’s petition has been approved by USCIS.


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