If you are planning to travel to the United States to work in New Jersey, you will need to comply with U.S. immigration laws before your departure. Working in the U.S. as a foreign citizen requires a visa in most cases, and if you attempt to travel to the country for work without a visa, you may be denied entry.
There are several different types of work visas for entering the United States. You will need to make sure you choose the right type of visa, and you will need to carefully navigate the visa application process. To ensure that you complete the process correctly (and do not risk delaying the start of your work in the U.S.), you can hire a New Jersey immigration lawyer to help you.
Choosing the Right Type of Visa for Your Work-Related Travel
One of the first – and most important – steps for obtaining a visa to travel to the United States for work is choosing the right type of visa. Visas to enter the United States broadly fall into two categories: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.
If you are only planning to work in New Jersey temporarily, then you will most likely want to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. Also known as temporary visas, these visas allow foreign citizens to work in the U.S. for a specified period of time. If you are interested in becoming a lawful permanent resident and perhaps eventually a U.S. citizen, then you may need to apply for an immigrant visa instead.
Within each of these categories, there are several specific types of work visas. A New Jersey immigration lawyer can help you choose the right type of visa for your work-related travel (and your future plans, if any, for remaining in the United States). The main different types of work visas available to foreign citizens planning to travel to New Jersey include:
Non-Immigrant (Temporary) Worker Visas
- H-1B: Work in a specialty occupation with a higher education degree or its equivalent.
- H-2A: Temporary or seasonal agricultural work.
- H-2B: Temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work.
- H-3: Training not available in the trainee’s home country (other than graduate medical or academic) or in the field of special education.
- L: Work at a brand, parent, affiliate or subsidiary of the worker’s current employer in a managerial or executive capacity or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.
- O: Worker with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or extraordinarily recognized achievements in movies or television.
- P-1: Perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete or member of an entertainment group.
- P-2: Performance under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.
- P-3: Perform, teach or coach under a culturally unique program or perform a traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical or artistic presentation.
- Q-1: Practical training and employment for sharing the history, culture and traditions of the worker’s home country through an international cultural exchange program.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
- E, C, I, R, S and T: Employer-sponsored immigration for priority workers, professionals holding advanced degrees, persons of exceptional ability, investors and other qualifying workers.
- SD and SR: Religious workers.
The Process for Obtaining a Work Visa to Enter the United States (Non-Immigrant Visa)
The process for obtaining a work visa to enter the United States varies for non-immigrant and immigrant visas. Since most people traveling to work choose to apply for a non-immigrant visa, we’ll cover that process here. If you are interested in applying for an immigrant visa, a New Jersey immigration lawyer at our firm can explain what you need to know about the immigrant visa application process.
1. Determine Which Type of Work Visa You Need
As discussed above, one of the first steps is to determine which type of work visa you need. You can review the visa-specific information available from the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs to learn more about the various types of visas that are available, or you can consult with a New Jersey immigration lawyer. Your lawyer should be able to tell you the specific type of visa you need for your work-related travel.
2. Determine if a Labor Certification is Necessary
With certain types of non-immigrant visas, it is necessary to obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before filing your visa application. Your employer may handle this for you, but you can also speak with a lawyer to make sure you know all of the steps involved in obtaining the visa you need.
3. Have Your U.S. Employer File a Petition with USCIS
Once you know which type of visa you need and whether a labor certification is required, you will need your employer to file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If your employer is unfamiliar with this process, your lawyer can assist with this as well.
4. Apply for Your Non-Immigrant Work Visa
After USCIS approves your employer’s petition, you can then file your non-immigrant work visa application. It is now possible to file all non-immigrant work visa applications online.
5. Schedule and Prepare for Your Interview
If you are between the ages of 14 and 79, you will typically be required to sit for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. After submitting your visa application, you will need to schedule your interview, and you will want to work with your lawyer to make sure you are prepared.
6. Gather All Necessary Documentation
Depending on the country in which you live, various forms of documentation may be required. You may need to submit this documentation before your interview, or you may need to bring it with you. Your lawyer can assist with determining what documentation you need as well.
7. Attend Your Interview
Finally, you will attend the interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. At the end of the interview, the consular officer will tell you whether the application will be approved or if further administrative processing is necessary.
Speak with a New Jersey Immigration Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.
If you need to know more about the process of obtaining a visa to travel to the U.S. for work, we invite you to get in touch. To speak with a New Jersey immigration lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence, please call 877-435-6371 or request an appointment online today.