Living and working in the United States is a dream for many. One way to achieve this is by applying for an employer-based immigrant visa. Employers can sponsor or petition for you to come live in the country permanently and start working for their company.
If you plan to live in the U.S. permanently, here’s how to apply for a work visa in the USA:
- Obtain an Application for Permanent Labor Certification via employer
Before you can start filling out forms and completing the necessary requirements, your future employer must first get an Application for Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. This labor certification allows you to work permanently in the country since there is a lack of qualified U.S. workers to fill the position that your employer is looking for.
In the Application for Permanent Labor Certification, your employer must provide information regarding their company, the job opportunity, and the prevailing wages, along with your information and work experience.
- Know your employment-based visa category
There are five categories that you may be classified into:
- Priority workers
- Professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability
- Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers
- Certain special immigrants such as employees of US foreign service posts, etc.
- Immigrant investors
Only individuals who fall into the categories mentioned above will be qualified for an employer-based immigrant visa.
The first category, in particular, refers to highly skilled workers in the arts, sciences, education, and athletics; internationally recognized professors and researchers, and multinational managers and executives. These individuals get first priority in the visa application process. The succeeding categories get next priority.
- Have your employer file an Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker (Form I-140)
The Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker must be completed by your employer and submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form, which is downloadable from the USCIS website, requires your employer to provide information about the petition, the petition type, and the individual they are petitioning for.
- Complete Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS-260)
The Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application form requires you to provide information on your work, training and education, family, petitioner, and other details about your background. It needs to be signed and submitted online.
- Complete Online Choice of Address and Agent (Form DS-261)
Once your employer’s petition is approved by the USCIS, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). Applicants who don’t have an attorney must fill out and complete the Choice of Address and Agent form.
- Undergo a medical exam
Schedule an appointment with an authorized physician prior to your interview appointment. Also known as a panel physician, an embassy-approved doctor assigned to your case will conduct a medical evaluation.
You will also be required to get certain vaccinations before your immigrant visa can be issued. For a complete list of required vaccinations, check the list here.
- Prepare and submit the required documents
- Passport – Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the planned date of entry into the United States.
- Two (2) 2×2 colored photos – Must be taken within the last 6 months, with a plain white or off-white background. The applicant should also be facing the camera directly with a neutral facial expression.
- Completed Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS-260)
- Completed Medical Examination Forms – After getting your medical exam, the panel physician will hand over your signed medical examination forms.
- Civil documents – This includes a birth certificate, marriage certificates, and even police records.
- Affidavit of Support
- Financial Support
- Pay the appropriate fees
Before proceeding to your interview, you’ll need to pay visa-related fees. Some of the expenses associated with applying for a work visa are:
- Filing of Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140)
- Processing of immigrant visa application (Form DS-260)
- Medical examination fee
- Other expenses including the cost of photocopying documents, travel expenses, and related fees
- Attend the visa interview
After submitting all the required documents, the NVC will schedule a visa interview appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate in your area. During this interview, you will be asked about your employer, job experience, job profile, salary, and family.
Following your interview, your visa application will be processed. There may be delays in getting the result due to incomplete documents, incorrect paperwork, or verifying the documents and information you provided.
Ready to live and work in the US? Allow us to help you. Viewpoint Realty International provides immigration counseling to our international clients and helps them obtain a US work visa. Get in touch with the team today at 727.584.7355 orviewpointrealtyinternational(at)gmail(dotted)com. You may also send a message here.