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What are the requirements to obtain a work visa in the U.S.?

If you’re a foreign national planning to work the U.S., you will want to apply for a work visa. It’s important to know all you need in order to obtain it.

A job offer

Before you can apply for your work visa, you will usually have to have a job offer already lined up in the United States. Your employer must provide the government with certain documents before you can apply for your visa.

Petition and obtain labor certification approval

Your new employer will have to file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), Form I-129. This petition must have been approved by the USCIS before you begin the process of applying for your work visa.

The Department of Labor (DOL) must approve your certification to work. Your employer will need to get a certification from the DOL by applying for it on your behalf before filing the petition with the USCIS.

Certain work visas require certification as a prerequisite. It attests to the government that foreign employees are necessary, and that the position cannot be filled with American employees.

What else is necessary?

You need a current passport for your stay in the U.S. that must be valid for six months after you return to your home country. It should include a photo meeting certain specifications that you will upload when you apply online for your work visa.

You need the Receipt Number from Form I-129, a confirmation page that you’ve completed DS-160 Form, the Nonimmigrant Visa Application and a receipt showing that you paid the application fee of $190. There may be additional fees based on your location.

You must also show proof that you intend on returning to your home country once your work in the U.S. is complete. You can include any information that proves your intentions – such as family relationships, your future long-term plans, the residence you’re returning to and your financial situation.

You might have to include additional documents. It’s wise to contact an experienced immigration lawyer to get any information you need.