Nonimmigrant Visas - Temporary Workers Overview
Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)
For information on how to apply for a visa, please see the "How to Apply" section.
For those who work temporarily in the U.S. temporarily, under immigration law, mandates a specific visa based on the type of work to be done. Most temporary worker categories require the approval of a petition by DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can apply for your visa. For more information, please visit: www.uscis.gov
Temporary Worker Classifications
H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education.
H-2A classification applies to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers;
H-2B classification applies to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural workers.
H-3 classification applies to trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children;
L classification applies to intracompany transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity;
Some applicants for blanket L1 visas must pay an additional fee of $2,250 as required under the Border Security Act (Public Law 111-230). More information regarding this new fee can be found at the USCIS web site. This fee is collected in addition to the existing $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee. All applicants for a blanket L1 visa must present a certification from their company that they are not liable for the new Border Security fee. Any applicant who does not present a certification from their company will be asked to obtain such certification before their visa can be issued. Only principal applicants for blanket L visas must pay this fee.
Applicants for L-1 visas with "blanket" petitions must pay a $500 "fraud prevention and detection fee" with cash or by credit card before their application can be processed. This fee can be paid at the Embassy on the day of the visa interview
O-1 classification applies to persons who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary achievements in the motion picture and television field;
O-2 classification applies to persons accompanying an O-1 alien to assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or performance;
P-1 classification applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an entertainment group that are internationally recognized;
P-2 classification applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program;
P-3 classification applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique; and
Q-1 classification applies to participants in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the alien's home country.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can apply for an appropriate derivative visa, H-4, L-2, O-3, P-4, and Q-3. They must present the documents described in "forms and applications" as well as the principal applicant’s valid petition.
In addition to the items listed on the visa application check-list, a visitor who is going to the United States as a temporary worker must bring the following:
- 3 signed copies of form I-129 (Blanket L-1 applicants only)
Spouse and Children.
- Marriage certificate (spouse)
- Birth certificate (children)
- Principal applicant's valid petition
Per a recent Department of State message, all petition-based visa applications must be cleared through the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) before they can be approved. If the consular officer cannot verify the applicant’s petition through PIMS, then the visa application will be placed on hold until such verification can be made.
Per the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, all J visa applicants must read the below pamphlet, which details their rights, as well as protections and resources available to them while in the United States.