Our team at Greco Neyland walks you through the five steps you must complete to obtain a work visa in the United States. Each of these steps is applicable to non-immigration visas needed by foreign workers, but we don’t cover the specific eligibility requirements for the different types of work visas. You can contact our office in Los Angeles to find out more about the specific work visa you need and what requirements are applicable to each employment visa scheme.
#1: Prepare for Your Application
Before you even start the online application for a U.S. work visa, you need to complete certain preparation. This involves the collection of information, copying documents, and verifying your future employer has undertaken its own steps towards your work visa. First, you need verification of citizenship in your home country. You certainly want to copy your passport, but you can also provide copies of a valid driver’s license, military identification, and other government IDs to prove where you claim citizenship.
You also need to collect information on your future position in the United States. The vast majority of U.S. work visas, including a work permit under the J-1 visa, require an applicant to obtain a job and have an offer letter in hand before submitting a work visa application. Some of the information you need includes job title, job description, employer’s sponsor number, and salary or wages.
Finally, you want to have passport photos taken. You will need two 2×2 inch photos for your work visa application. It is important to confirm that the photos submitted with your application are recent and the size specified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
#2: Confirm the Work Visa Scheme You Need
There are several types of work visa for the United States. Each scheme is designed to serve a specific purpose and has a different set of eligibility requirements. Submit an application for the wrong work visa scheme and you will be denied by the USCIS. A denied application could lead to substantial delays in your ability to work in the United States or even result in a revocation of your job offer.
The most common employment or work visa scheme used in the United States is H-1B. This is the appropriate visa for an individual with specialized skills or training and a full-time job offer in the United States to work in their field. However, employees transferring to a subsidiary or affiliate of their current, foreign employer will need to submit an application for the L visa scheme and the H-2A visa is appropriate for individuals working in agriculture.
Given the substantial repercussions of a failed application, you should work with a California employment visa lawyer to identify the right application and complete the necessary paperwork. At Greco Neyland, our immigration lawyers will walk you through the entire application process for a work visa in the United States, even if your place of employment is located in a different state.
#3: Complete an Application for Your Work Visa
All non-immigration visas to the United States use the same application form. On the United State Secretary of State website, the form is called DS-260 or the Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. Despite the universal application, you need to be certain you have entered all the information correctly for your work visa scheme.
The best way to ensure your application and supporting documents are accurate are through outside review. You can have a native English speaker look at your documents and work visa application or, preferably, have an employment visa lawyer review all materials. An immigration lawyer has experience spotting faults on visa applications, knows the common pitfalls, and can provide insight into the responses and application answers that are more likely to garner approval from an immigration official.
#4: Schedule Your Immigration Interview
Every visa applicant must have a formal conversation with a U.S. immigration official at their nearest U.S. consulate or the embassy in their home country. Even individuals applying for a work visa while visiting the United States, studying in the United States, or otherwise legally in the country, must return to their home country to complete the interview process.
You need to schedule your interview far in advance of the start date for your job, as there is a long leeway between requesting an interview and actually receiving an appointment. It may take 90 days, and in rare instances longer, for the U.S. consulate or embassy to schedule your work visa interview. Timing issues and tracking are typically handled by your work visa lawyer in California.
#5: Attend Your Work Visa Interview
The last step before receiving a response on your work visa application is attending the immigration interview. The immigration officer will ask you a variety of questions, mostly regarding your employment situation and work responsibilities in the United States. However, questions in your work visa interview can span personal and professional. Don’t be surprised to answer questions about your family, past work experience, English competency, applicable job skills, criminal background, and ties to your current community.
Approval of your work visa application is important for your professional and financial future. You may not have a second opportunity to submit your application or could lose a top-tier job offer. Why risk your application being denied over a procedural or timing error? Work with an immigration lawyer at Greco Neyland and ensure your application is complete, accurate, and ready for approval. Plus, we help with preparation for your immigration interview. Learn more about our employment visa services here.
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