Different types of US Work Visas


There are different types of US work visas available depending on your profession or job title. The most common types include H-1B visas, H-1B1 specialty occupation visas (for professionals), L-1A intra-company transfer visas (for managers) and so on.

Work visas are an important part of the immigration process. They allow foreign nationals to come to the United States, work and live here for a period of time. Let’s take a look at some of them:

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is one of the different types of US work visas for temporary workers. This visa is available to foreign nationals who are employed by an employer in a specialty occupation, as defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The H-1B program provides for the employment of foreign nationals in occupations that require theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge.

H-1B visas are issued to foreign nationals who have been designated as having at least a bachelor’s degree in their field of expertise, or who have obtained at least two years’ experience directly related to the specific duties for which they were petitioned.

H-1B1 Visa – Specialty Occupation

The H-1B1 nonimmigrant visa is for specialty occupations. Under this type of visa, you can work in the United States as an employee of a company that has an approved petition for your employment.

Specialty occupation workers must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college; however, if you have less than five years of experience related to your field of study and hold at least one year’s experience in another specialty occupation, then you may qualify as well.

L-1A Visa – Intra-Company Transfer for Managers

The L-1A visa is a type of work visa that allows you to work in the United States as an executive or manager of a multinational company.

The L-1A visa is available to non-U.S citizens who are employed by a multinational company and have been nominated by their home country in order to fill an executive or managerial position at that company’s U.S headquarters. It also requires that you have been invited by your employer; this means you must meet certain requirements before being able to apply for this visa type.

The main difference between the L-1B and L-1A visas?

The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company that is located outside the United States, while the L-1B visa is for intracompany transferees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge. T

he L-1A visa is granted for a period of 1 year for new, start-up companies and 3 years for existing companies, while L-1A employees may be granted L1A visa extensions of 2-year increments for up to 7 years.

The L-1B visa is granted for a period of 1 year for new companies and 3 years for existing companies.

L-1B Visa – Intra-Company Transfer Visa

The L-1B Visa – Intra-Company Transfer for Specialized Knowledge and Aptitude of Persons with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Doctorate or Other Postgraduate Degree in the Field of Science or Technology is a nonimmigrant visa that allows qualified foreign nationals to work in the United States.

It’s issued to individuals who have been employed by an American company and are transferring from one job to another within the same company, or between companies within the same industry.

The requirements for getting an L-1B visa include:

  • being eligible for admission as a resident alien;
  • having significant business ties with your employer (such as being part of his/her family); and
  • having expertise that cannot be easily obtained by someone else at your place of employment.

L-2 Visa Intra/Intercompany Transfer (Eligible for Management Positions)

L-2 visa is for intra-company transfer. It’s available to managers and executives, professionals and experts who have been invited by an American company to work in their United States operations.

The L-2 visa allows you to come to the U.S., where you’ll be allowed to fill a specific position within the company (such as managing or consulting). You’ll also be eligible for permanent residency after five years if your employer sponsors your green card application on your behalf.

O-1 Visa Intra/Interprovincial Transfer (Eligible for Management Positions)

If you’re an international manager and want to work in the U.S., then you may be eligible for an O-1 visa. This type of visa allows foreign nationals who are managers or executives from certain countries to apply for permanent residency in the United States.

If you’re planning on moving from your home country to the U.S., this can be a great avenue through which to gain access into some high-level positions within American companies or institutions like universities and government agencies.

P-1 Visa Intra/Interprovincial Transfer (Eligible for Management Positions)

The P-1 visa is for managers who are coming to the US to work in a managerial position with their company. It’s also eligible for intra/interprovincial transfers, so you could be coming from Canada or another country that has an agreement with the United States (for example, Mexico).

If you’re going to be working as a manager at an American company, then this is the type of visa you’ll want to apply for.

E-1 Treaty Trader or Investor Visa

The E-1 visa is for foreign investors who want to come to the US to invest in a business. This type of visa is only available for individuals and does not allow them to work in the US.

The investor must have more than $200,000 USD worth of assets and an annual income of at least $100,000 USD before their investment can be approved.

While this visa allows you to stay in the U.S., it doesn’t give you any legal status when it comes time for renewal or if your company failed during its time here on earth (although there are some exceptions).

E-2 Treaty Investor or Treaty Investor Foreign Manager Visa

If you’re an investor who wants to come to the United States, but not as an entrepreneur or businessperson, the E-2 Treaty Investor or Treaty Investor Foreign Manager Visa may be right for you. If your goal is simply to make money in some way and secure your own retirement, this option isn’t for you.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is available only for investors who have already been approved by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) as qualified candidates.

This includes people who are applying under the EB5 investor program or similar visa programs that grant visas based on investing in businesses with 50 full time employees or more throughout their first five years of operation after their arrival in America

E-3 Bulgarian and Romanian Investors’ Visas

The E-3 visa is for investors who have capital investments in the US that are greater than $1 million. To qualify for this type of visa, you must have:

  • Capital investment in a business that employs at least 10 full-time employees or 15 part-time employees (whichever is greater). This includes real estate properties, manufacturing facilities and other commercial ventures.
  • Active involvement with your business from day one—you can’t just be an investor and not work with the company that you invest in!

E-5 Extraordinary Ability Immigrant Program for Persons with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts and Business

The E-5 Extraordinary Ability Immigrant Program for Persons with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts and Business (EAP) is a visa that allows individuals to immigrate to the U.S. based on their extraordinary ability in one or more of those fields.

For example, if you’re an engineer who has applied for a job at Google and were hired as part of your application process, then this would qualify as extraordinary ability.

H-2A Agricultural Worker Visa (Transitional)

H-2A agricultural worker visas are designed for seasonal workers who want to come to the United States and work on a farm, dairy farm or agricultural establishment. The worker must have been employed as an employee of an American employer in agriculture for at least one year prior to applying for this visa.

The purpose of an H-2A visa is to allow foreign workers who are temporarily coming into the country to provide temporary labor services during peak periods of harvesting, planting, processing and distribution activities.

An H-2A worker can be any age under 16 years old if accompanied by his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and older than 16 years old when not accompanied by their parent(s).


This is just a brief overview of the different work visas available to foreign nationals who are coming to the US. If you are interested in applying for one of these visas, contact an immigration attorney who can assist you with your case.