If you’re going to the United States to work, you may need a temporary worker visa, and it’s important to remember that there are a handful of different types to choose from. Don’t assume all temporary work visas are the same, and make sure you get the one that fits your needs and occupation. The categories to choose from are as follows:
H-1B: Person in Specialty Occupation. Typically, these workers have higher education degrees.
H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Worker. These are often used for seasonal work on farms and in similar agricultural settings.
H-2B: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker. While much seasonal work focuses on growing seasons, some can be found for non-agricultural work, so this is a catch-all visa for the rest.
H-3: Trainee or Special Education visitor. This is used when the needed training can’t be given in Canada.
L: Intracompany Transferee. Over the three years before applying for this visa, you must have worked for the employer for at least a year.
O: Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement. These achievements have often gotten international notice.
P-1: Individual or Team Athlete, or Member of an Entertainment Group. These visas are used for athletes who want to play across the border, like Canadian Football League players who are joining the National Football League.
P-2: Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group). This is often used for specific competitions.
P-3: Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group). This is similar to the above, but it’s used for reciprocal exchange program situations.
Q-1: Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program. This is for those involved in cultural programs in any way, whether it’s through performing, teaching or coaching.
As you can see, it’s crucial that you get exactly the right visa, so it’s important to know all about your options and the necessary legal steps to take.
Source: U.S. Department of State, “Temporary Worker Visas,” accessed Aug. 12, 2016