Employment Visa Explanations by an Attorney

Employment Visa

The United States allows non-citizens who are working and living in the country to enjoy employment visa protections.  However, there are multiple designations which require differing visas.  We summarize these below:

Employment Visa Status and Immigrants

The State Department provides three types of employment visa services:  H-1B, H-2, and H-3.  This makes immigrants working in the US legal residents for a temporary time.  If you are an immigrant worker, one of  these three may be useful for you.


The H-1B is the most common type of employment visa.  They serve two purposes.  Naturally, one purpose is to allow an immigrant to work legally in the US.  The other purpose though, is to create a bridge to potential Lawful Permanent Resident status.  Employers usually sponsor employees under an H-1B visa.

The requirements for this type of employment visa include:  having a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent, or holding a specialized license.  Once you receive this visa, it will be valid for 6 years maximum.  If you remain in the US after this 6 year period without reapplying, you are here illegally.


Under the H-2 visa, you may either have an H-2A or H-2B.  H-2B visas are for workers who do not fall under the seasonal or agricultural work umbrella.  Thus, H-2A visas are for seasonal workers.  Once the harvest or seasonal work is complete H-2A visa holders must leave the country.  Workers with an H-2A visa may include food harvesters, etc.


Again, H-2 visas have requirements.  So, when you apply for an H-2 employment visa you will also.  First, you must show the work you are doing is temporary.  Second, the US labor force must be insufficient to meet the needs of the employers.  In the end, once you prove the first two items, the US must decide that there are no adverse effects to US labor to hire temporary immigrant workers.  Occasionally, after visa approval, the worker must also apply for a license from the Department of Labor.

H-3 and More

Even though H-1 and H-2 visas are the most common types of employment visa, there are others.  For example, the US offers H-3, O, and P visas.  H-3 employment visas are for anyone participating in an exchange program.  These may include medical or psychological programs where the US and another country agree to trade workers in order to expand knowledge on certain medical or technical fields.  O and P visas generally apply to performers or athletes (i.e. Enes Kanter, formerly of the OKC Thunder).

OKC Immigration Attorneys

Clearly, the need for an employment visa can expand to many areas of work.  If you have questions about employment visas and how they will affect you, call our attorneys.  Your first consultation is free.