Other Work Visas Options

There are other nonimmigrant visa categories quite similar to H-1B visas that are designated for temporary professional workers from specific countries. These visas are based upon specific trade agreements that foreign nations have signed with the United States.

The H-1B1 visa program is designed specifically for the nationals of Chile and Singapore. Up to 6,800 visas (1,400 visas for the nationals of Chile, and 5,400 visas for the nationals of Singapore) are set aside from the H-1B cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program. H-1B1 can be obtained at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad without ever submitting a petition to the USCIS.

Further, nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia may qualify for E-3 temporary work visas. Like the H-1B1, E-3 visas are subject to an annual cap of 10,500 per fiscal year.

Occupationally, H-1B1 and E-3 mirror the H-1B visa in that the foreign worker must be employed in a specialty occupation. Both H-1B1 and E-3 requires LCA attestation from the DOL. Unlike the H-1B visa category, both H-1B1 and E-3 are not “dual intent” visa. As such, while a foreign national employed in a valid H-1B status can pursue employment-based permanent residence (commonly called “green card”), foreign nationals employed on H-1B1 or E-3 lack this advantage. However, foreign nationals employed in these categories can pursue their employment-based green card by changing their status to another nonimmigrant visa category such as H-1B, L-1, etc., which recognizes dual intent.

H-3 visa is issued to trainees. This category is designed to facilitate participation in training programs in any field, including agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government, transportation or the professions, as well as training in an industrial establishment. The petition, which is submitted to the USCIS by the organization sponsoring the training program, must demonstrate that: (i) the training is unavailable in the person’s home country; (ii) the person will not be placed in a position in which U.S. citizen and permanent resident workers are regularly employed; (iii) the training will include no productive employment unless it is incidental and necessary to the training; and (iv) the training will benefit the person in pursuing a career outside the United States.

An H-2A visa allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs for which U.S. workers are not available. An H-2A nonimmigrant visa allows foreign national to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States on a temporary basis. A U.S. employer (or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer) must file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on foreign workers behalf.

H-2B visa is required if the foreign national is coming to the United States to perform a job which is temporary or seasonal in nature and for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers. The employer is required to obtain a Department of Labor certification confirming that there are no qualified U.S. workers eligible for the type of employment on which the petition is based.

P visas are issued to certain athletes, entertainers, artists and essential support personnel who are coming to perform in the United States.

The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.

The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.

The Q nonimmigrant visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS.

Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q nonimmigrants.  It is an employment oriented program, but an integral part of foreign national’s duties must have a cultural element.

R visa type is for individuals seeking to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis. Religious workers include persons authorized by a recognized entity to conduct religious worship and undertake other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion, and workers engaging in a religious vocation or occupation.

To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years immediately before the filing of the petition.