A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non immigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the US for employment lasting a fixed period of time, and are not considered permanent or indefinite. An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa.
Obtaining a Labor Certification
Some temporary worker visa categories require your prospective employer to obtain a labor certification or other approval from the Department of Labor on your behalf before filing the Petition for a Non immigrant Worker. Your prospective employer should review the Instructions for Form I-129 to determine whether labor certification is required for you.
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the embassy or where you live. You may schedule your interview at any embassy but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.
All visa applicants, except H-1B and L, will generally need to show proof of compelling ties to your home country to demonstrate your intent to return after your temporary stay in the United States. Examples of compelling ties include:
- A residence abroad which you do not intend to abandon
- Your family relationships
- Your economic situation
- Your long term plans
Attending your Visa Interview
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under the law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.