Temporary Workers Visa

There are various categories (called classifications) of nonimmigrant visas for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States, based on U.S immigration laws, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily, under immigration law, you need a specific visa based on the purpose of your travel and type of work you will be doing. To learn more, please see United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) Working in the U.S. webpage.

Those in the list below have similar application procedures having annual numerical limits on some visa types:

a) H-1B Persons in Specialty Occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge
 requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. (65,000). This category also includes fashion models and Government-to-Government
 research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense (100);

b) H-2A Seasonal Agricultural Workers is a work visa that applies to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers;

c) H-2B Temporary or Seasonal Nonagricultural Workers is a work visa that applies to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural workers.
 This classification requires a temporary labor certification issued by the Secretary of Labor (annual limit: 66,000);

d) H-3 Trainees (other than medical or academic) is a work visa that applies to trainees other than medical or academic. This classification
 also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children (annual limit: 50);

e) L Intracompany Transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will
be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity;

f) O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary achievements in the
motion picture and television field;

g) O-2 Persons Accompanying an O-1 to assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or performance;

h) P-1 Individual or Team Athletes, or Members of an Entertainment is a work visa that applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an
 entertainment group that are internationally recognized (annual limit: 25,000);

i) P-2 Artists or Entertainers is a work visa that applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program;

j) P-3 Artists or Entertainers is a work visa that applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique (same as P-1);

k)Q-1 Participants in an International Cultural Exchange Program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the
 history, culture, and traditions of the alien's home country. 

In order to be considered for nonimmigrant visa under the above classifications some temporary worker categories require an applicant's prospective employer to obtain a labor certification or other approval from the Department of Labor for the prospective employee (visa applicant). Once that is received, if required, the prospective employer or agent can file the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS.

Before applying for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad applicants must obtain an approved Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker from USCIS. This form must be submitted by your prospective employer at USCIS’s Temporary Workers webpage no earlier than 6 months prior to the proposed employment start date. Employers should file the petition as soon as possible within the 6 month period to allow adequate time for processing. Should you need petition processing faster, see Premium Processing Service on USCIS website. Once approved, the employer will be sent Form I-797, Notice of Action.

If there’s a chance a beneficiary of a petition needs to obtain a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate after the petitioner requests a change of status, extension of status, or amendment to the original petition it is advisable that the petitioner submit 2 copies of the updated petition with the original signatures on all forms to USCIS. When submitting the 2 copies of the updated petition it is encouraged to identify one of them with a brightly colored cover sheet with the notation “Please send this copy to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) upon approval”.  Once approved, USCIS will then forward the marked copy of the updated petition to KCC for scanning and entry into the PIMS database where the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will be able to access the updated petition. 
Important Note: The Form I-797 is no longer needed for your interview. However, to verify petition approval we will need your I-129 petition receipt number
 so please make sure to have this available.

Generally you should apply for the Temporary Worker Visa at the US Embassy or US Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although you may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the work visa outside your country of permanent residence. To schedule the interview appointment, you will need the receipt number that is printed on the approved Form I-129 petition.

 As part of the Temporary Worker Visa application process, you must have an interview at the US Embassy consular section if you are from age 14 through 79, with few
exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the US Embassy or US Consulate. The waiting
 time for an interview appointment can vary, so apply for your Temporary Worker Visa early. Visa wait times for interview appointments, and visa processing time information
for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide, is available on our website at Visa Wait Times. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the US Embassy or US Consulate website where you will apply.

During the work visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will quickly be taken. Some work visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the interview by a Consular Officer.

Each applicant for a visitor visa must submit these forms and documentation as explained below.

 - Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.

 -  A passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date of at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements
 provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.

 -  One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Photograph Requirements.

  -Visa applicants included in L blanket petitions must provide Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition.


a) Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee: For current fees for Department of State government services select Fees. You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.

b) Visa issuance fee: Additionally, if the visa is issued, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.

c)Other Fees for Certain L Visa Applicants: Visa applicants included in L blanket petitions must also pay a fraud prevention and detection fee and may need to pay the Border Security Act Fee.

Recent changes to U.S. law relate to the legal rights of employment-based nonimmigrants under Federal immigration, labor, and employment laws, and the information to be provided about protections and available resources. As a temporary visitor to the U.S., it is important that you are aware of your rights, as well as protections and resources available when you come to work or study here.

As a temporary worker, your spouse and unmarried, minor children may accompany or join you (except for "Q-1 Cultural Exchange Visitors,") if you can demonstrate that you will be able to support them, but they are unable to accept employment in the United States (with the exception of spouses of L-1 Visa holders – their L-2 spouses may engage in employment with an "employment authorized" endorsement or appropriate work permit).

- With the exception of the H-1B, L-1, and O categories, visa applicants also need to show proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which they have no intention of abandoning.

-  No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. The approval of a petition does not guarantee visa issuance, as the applicant will need to be eligible for the visa under provisions of U.S. immigration laws.

- Final travel plans or the purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the U.S.

Attempting to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive  Visas, provides important information about ineligibilities.

There are categories of persons ineligible to receive visas under U.S. law. In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a temporary worker, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved. If you are found to be ineligible, the consular officer will advise you of any waivers.

If the consular officer should find it necessary to deny the issuance of a visa, applicants may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. For additional information, select Denials. In the absence of new evidence, consular officers are not obligated to re-examine such cases.

  You should be aware that a US Visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa is issued by a Department of State Consular Office abroad, but a separate U.S. agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP),has authority to deny admission at the port of entry. Also, the period for which you are authorized to remain in the U.S. is determined by the CBP, not the Department of State Consular Office. At the port of entry, a CBP official must authorize your admission to the U.S. At that time, the CBP official will provide you with a stamped I-94 Form (Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 Card), which will include your admission number to the U.S. and which will note how long you are permitted to stay in the U.S.


- It is important that you depart the U.S. on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the U.S. on any given trip, based on the specified end date on your
Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94. Failure to depart the U.S. will cause you to be out-of-status.

-beyond the period of time authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and being out-of-status in the United States is a violation of U.S. immigration
 laws, and may cause you to be ineligible for a visa in the future for return travels to the U.S.

- According to INA 222 (g) ,if you stay on your non-immigrant authorized stay in the U.S.,your visa will be automatically voided. In this situation, you are required to
re-apply for a new non-immigrant visa, generally in your country of nationality.

Visitors who wish to stay beyond the date indicated on their Form I-94 are required to have approval by USCIS. See Extend Your Stay on the USCIS website.


Some nonimmigrant visa holders, while present in the U.S., are able to file a request which must be approved by USCIS to change to another nonimmigrant category. See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website.

Important Note: Filing a request with USCIS for approval of change of status before your authorized stay expires, while you remain in the U.S., does not by itself require the visa holder to apply for a new visa. However, if you cannot remain in the U.S. while USCIS processes your change of status request, you will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

 -Questions about filing a petition, qualifications for various classifications, or conditions and limitations on employment should be made by the prospective employer or agent in the U.S. to the nearest USCIS office.

 -Questions about filing a visa application at a consular section abroad should be addressed to the appropriate consular office abroad. Inquiries about visa cases in progress overseas should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling your case.