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Learn about the categories of visas to work temporarily in the United States

Foreign workers have various options to work in the United States thanks to the different categories of visas that respond to the needs of the labor market in the country.

The United States government through the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Citizenship and Immigration Services, issues hundreds of thousands of work visas to foreign workers each year. This is because there is a great diversity of jobs and vacancies for foreigners to work professionally in the country and to occupy a place in the labor force temporarily or even indefinitely and with the option of several renewals.

One of the most popular foreign worker visas is the H-1B, for professionals with specialized jobs. This category applies to workers who will provide services in a specialized field that requires certain aptitudes, abilities, and professional merits.

This visa is divided into three main categories:

  • H-1B Specialized Jobs: Requiring the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge. For this, it is necessary to have a higher degree in the specific specialization or its equivalent in the United States. A college degree or higher is required to apply. In addition, it requires a request for employment status through the formulario I-129.
  • H-1B2 Investigator and Development Project Workers of the United States Department of Defense (DOD): Like the previous category, it requires a specialized degree valid in the United States, as well as details about the research project.
  • H-1B3 Haute Couture Model: Exclusive visas for high fashion models with potential employers in the United States. In the same way, the I-129 form is necessary.

This type of visa admits workers in the country for up to three years, the term can be extended, but it cannot exceed six years. The filing fee for these visas is $190.

Another of the most popular categories and with fewer requirements for temporary workers are the H-2A and H-2B. For these seasonal jobs, no experience or a professional degree is necessary. Each year, more than 200,000 visas are granted in these categories, and precisely in Fiscal Year 2023, an additional 65,000 H-2B visas will be granted.

H-2A visas correspond to agricultural workers and H-2B for non-agricultural workers. Both visas have a duration of one year, but it is possible to request up to two extensions.

There is another similar category, the H-3 that allows foreign workers to enter and live temporarily in the country while they receive training of any kind, except postgraduate courses related to medicine. Or for special education exchange visitors.

On the other hand, there are the TN visas, which are issued to workers from Mexico and Canada as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This visa is only issued to people who work in professions established by said treaty, and also have a job offer from an employer.

Its duration is three years, however, it can be renewed unlimitedly as long as the employment relationship between both parties is in force.

Finalmente están las visas O-1, Personas con Habilidades o Logros Extraordinarios, que como lo dice su nombre se entrega a personas con habilidades sobresalientes en ciencia, arte, educación, negocios o deporte.

In addition, there are subclassifications for:

  • O-1A: Science, Education, Business, and Athletics:
  • O-1B: For people with skills in the film and television industry
  • O-2: People accompanying artists or athletes: O-2
  • O-3: And for spouse or children of classifications O-1 and O-2: O-3

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