How to get a work permit for the USA

There are two major ways to get a work permit in USA: (i) the H1B visa and (ii) L1 visa.  We also have information about getting a work permits for Canada and the UK.

About The H1B Visa:
For migrating to USA, one needs to apply for the H1B visa. The employer and not the employee apply for this visa, for a period of up to six years. The employer then invites the employee based on the H1B visa issued to them. These visas have limitation of per-year number of staff that can be invited for work by the host company. In other words, the H1B visa is an occupation-specialized visa that is issued for the host company with a yearly limitation on the number of staff that can be invited.

Usually the minimum educational qualification should be graduation (Bachelor of Arts/ Science/Commerce and so on); however, professionals like doctors, accountants, lawyers, etc will need to have a license to practice in the US State. For this purpose the professional would have to clear the bar exam of that profession before he/she could be permitted to practice their profession. For those who need in depth information, they can check out the net at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/forms/forms_1342.html which is the US government travel site. You will get all the require information here.

The H1B covers the following professions until date:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Health care workers
  • IT/ Computer professionals
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Financial analysts
  • Physicians
  • Lawyers
  • University professors and teachers

There are three main qualifying requirements for an H1B Visa (specialty occupation):

  • Application of a specialized body
  • Graduation (Bachelor's degree) or higher degree in that specialization

The graduation should be in terms with:

  • the graduation should be in line with the specialization that the job is being offered;
  • this job should be such that it cannot be performed by any other person better
  • the degree is a pre-requisite for the job applied for
  • the job is such that unless the person is a graduate he/she cannot manage since understanding it takes time and some expertise

The required work experience should be:

  • specifically in the area where the work is offered
  • based on promotion
  • highly specialized and requires certain type of specific intervention

To obtain a H1B visa you will be required to follow the steps:

  • Find a H1B job where a US employer will be your sponsor
  • Get your sponsor (US Employer) apply for the visa
  • Your employer gets approval from the US Government
  • Go to US and start working

Please note, which no individual can apply for the H1B visa. A typical H1B visa is valid for upto six years. You can also have your spouse and children sponsored under this visa. The best part with the H1B visa is that it permits you to apply for green card that will entitle you for permanent residency in USA.

The documents that are needed for the H1B visa will be:

  • College degree certificate
  • Certificate/diploma of training courses in IT
  • Evidence of license or professional membership in IT
  • Employment verification in the form of retrospective references (these must correlate with information in CV/Resume)
  • Current CV/Resume describing in detail employment history including: name & address of employer, job title, month/year commenced employment & month/year concluded employment, type of business, duties performed, full/part time.
  • Identity page in passport plus any pages evidencing current or expired US Visas

For the spouse of the H1B visa person:

  • Passport
  • VISA Copy of your Spouse
  • H1B approval notice ? Copy
  • Letter from the current employer
  • Marriage certificate (If spouse)
  • Marriage album (If spouse )

Benefits of the H1B visa:

  • If you happen to loose your job for any reason whatsoever (should not be your fault), you will still receive your salary from your employer
  • The employer who sponsors you is responsible to see that you receive your salary, even if there is no work for any reason in the place of work.
  • The employer who does not pay the H1B employee is liable for punishment under the law (violation of Federal Laws) and can be sued for breach of contract as underlined in the H1B visa
  • The employee will be entitled to some nominal leave; however, the employer will not be liable to pay any compensation for vacation/ sickness/ absence unless it was previously agreed upon through the contract
  • The employer will have to pay the employee of the H1B visa even if by any misfortune the organization temporarily closes down; if the period of closing down is 10 days (and more) and the US employees are not paid during this time, the employer will still have to pay the H1B visa holder.

Extension of H1B visa beyond six years:

H1B non-immigrants will be permitted to apply for one-year extensions beyond the six-year maximum if they have filed either an I-140 immigration application or an I-485 adjustment of status application AND that one-year or more has passed since the filing of labor certification or the I-140.

The L1 Visa:
In this visa the employers in US are permitted to transfer employees to and fro the companies wherever they are in the world. The only pre-requisite for this visa is that the employee should be part of any of the subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the company, which has obtained the L1 visa. The limit for this type of visa is 7 years for managers and executives. Spouses and children of the L1 visa holder will have to apply for L2 visa.

In the US these same companies can apply to the BCIS service centre so they can transfer their employees from their companies abroad to US. This visa can be issued up to a maximum of three years.

The eligibility for this visa are only two types:

  • Managers and/or executive levels
  • Specialized and skilled staff ? such as research, proprietary techniques, systems

Visas for exchange visitors:

There is the J-1 visa that is offered for exchange programs where students from one University can go to the University of another Country and gain from the mutual exposure. The visa is always offered for students who have extremely limited rights ? such as employment rights, etc.

The professions that this visa is open for are:

  • students (college and university)
  • high school students
  • scholars (short term courses)
  • trainees
  • teachers
  • professors and research students
  • specialists in any field
  • doctors
  • government officials
  • camp counselors
  • au pairs
  • special educations projects students

Requirements for the J-1 visa:

The exchange program visitor must be sponsored by any of the following entities under the exchange program; the sponsored has to apply on application no DS 3036 to the State Department in USA for permission to sponsor under Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The clause 22 CFR Part 514 should also be complied with by the US party.

  • USA government and government agencies
  • International organizations which have the USA as a member; these organizations should have an office in USA
  • Organisations of international repute with US citizens

Diversity Visa Program or DV-2007 Green Card Lottery:

This is a 'lucky' type of initiative that the USA Government holds annually. This is where about 50,000 people get the green card of USA simply because they had filled their online application for the scholarship.

There are very few pre-requisites for this purpose:

  • good knowledge of English
  • minimum high school graduation
  • at least 3-5 years work experience
  • should not be less than 18 years old; the is no upper age limitation