Working in the U.S.

Each year, Berardi Immigration Law assists hundreds of individuals and corporations with professional transfers to the United States from around the globe. Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the U.S. for work must first obtain either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.

  • Nonimmigrant status allows a person to enter the U.S. for a limited period of time.
  • These visa categories generally require an employer to first file a paper-based, nonimmigrant petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • The foreign national may then use an approved petition to apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
  • Upon issuance of the visa into the applicant’s passport, the employee may then enter the U.S. to work for the sponsoring employer.

Certain nonimmigrant categories (L-1 and TN) allow Canadian citizens to apply in-person for temporary work status at a Class A port-of-entry to the U.S. Upon approval, a work permit is issued on-the-spot and the Canadian may begin employment in the U.S. that same day.

Nonimmigrant Visa Categories

There are many different types of visas available for working in the United States. For more information about nonimmigrant visa categories, the petition process, eligibility requirements, and numerical limits, click on the links below.

Recent "Working in the US" Posts

New H-1B Lottery Registration Tool: What You Need to Know

Background  On January 31, 2019, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule making significant changes to the H-1B visa lottery process.  This rule added an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions and reversed the order by which USCIS selects petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemptions.  In September 2019, USCIS published a proposed rule that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B selection process.  The registration fee is part of an agency-wide effort to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the United States.  What is it? On December 6, 2019, USCIS announced it has completed a successful pilot testing phase and is implementing the electronic registration process in the upcoming H-1B lottery.  Employers seeking to file FY2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay an associated $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS.   When will it start? Under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration […]

Employment Based Visas

Every fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of US immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. These five preference categories include priority workers and persons with extraordinary ability, professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability, skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers, certain special immigrants, and immigrant investors.  Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants. Based on your approved petition, your spouse and minor unmarried children, younger than 21, may apply for immigrant visas with you. Like you, they must fill out required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations.  To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories listed above, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (and if required), the employer must then file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. However, persons with extraordinary abilities category may file their own petitions. Employment based immigrant visa cases take additional time […]

Travelling While on a Work Visa

If you are currently working in the U.S. on one of many non-immigrant visas, it is important to know whether your category imposes any restrictions on your activities while present here. The general rule of thumb is that you must remain in compliance with the purpose for which your visa was originally issued for the entire length of your stay. For example, if you are in the U.S. on a work visa, you may not use that same visa for any other purpose – for example, to study. One of the most popular non-immigrant work visas is the H-1B for skilled, educated individuals. This is a temporary visa that allows foreign nationals to work for one specific employer. The H1-B applicant is required to continuing working for the sponsoring employer for their entire duration of their stay. If they wish to switch employers, they must submit an H1-B Change of Employer petition to the government. If you hold an H-1B, or another type of temporary work visa like an E, H, L, O or TN, and you would like to take a vacation in the U.S. either after your job ends or before you switch to a different employer, there […]