Are you a foreign national interested in employment in the U.S.? If so, you will need a work visa to be legally employed in the United States of America. There are several types of work visas available to foreign nationals who want to work in the United States, including green cards (for permanent residency), temporary work visas, seasonal work visas, and exchange worker visas.
The type of visa you may be eligible for will depend on the type of work you do, whether you have a relationship with an employer, and, in some cases, your country of origin. The guidelines for obtaining authorization to work in the United States vary depending on the type of visa and the eligibility requirements for that visa.
Here is information on each type of U.S. work visa, including eligibility and requirements, plus information on how to apply for a visa. It is important to note that these requirements can change at any time so we’ve provided links to government resources, which will be the most reliable source of updated information on restrictions, quotas, and guidelines for green card and visa applications.
What’s a U.S. work visa and why do you need one? A visa is a document that provides authorization for travel to and admittance to a stipulated country, in this case the United States. Before visiting, working or immigrating to the U.S., generally a citizen of a foreign country must first obtain a U.S. visa.
The visa provides entry to the U.S. and, depending on the type of visa obtained, may provide authorization for employment in the U.S.
Having a visa does not guarantee entry to the U.S. However, it does indicate a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate has determined you are eligible to seek entry for the specific purpose listed on the visa. Visas are obtained from the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to your residence abroad.
Eligibility for work
When you have secured the appropriate visa, you will need to get a permit to work, which is officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), in order to prove you are eligible to work in the United States. The document provides proof to employers that you are legally permitted to work in the U.S.
You can review information on Employment Authorization Documents and how to acquire, renew, or replace them.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law.