Where to Begin?
The first thing you need to do is make sure the prospective employer files a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will be needed in order to apply for a visa. Once this step is complete, you will need to decide the type of work visa you will need to apply for. Each type has different requirements so its important to look over the list of work visas carefully.
The paperwork that you will need depends on the type of visa you’re applying for. Check out the FAQ page for more information on this. Also, make sure your employer submits a Labor Certification and Petition Approval, if needed for that particular type of work visa.
Applying for Your Work Visa
Once the USCIS approves your petition, you can apply for a visa. There are a number of steps, but how you go about them and the order will depend on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
There are two parts after this: applying for the visa and the interview. To apply, you need to fill out a DS-160 online. Fill out the application and print it out to bring with you to your interview. While completing the application you will need to upload your photo.
Next you must schedule an interview if you’re between the ages of 14 and 79. Apply for your work visa early because it may be difficult to qualify for a visa and wait times might vary depending on your location.
Preparing For Your Interview
The first thing to understand is that there is a non-refundable fee of $190 due before your interview. Next, there are a list of documents you need to gather before your interview:
- Passport (must be valid six months past your period of stay)
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160 confirmation page)
- Application fee payment receipt
- Photo (if photo failed to load when filling out your DS-160)
- Receipt number of approved petition
All applicants (besides those applying for H-1B and L) will need to show proof of ties to your home country to show your intent to return after your stay in the U.S. Examples include:
- Residence you don’t plan to abandon
- Family relationships
- Your economic plans
- Long term plans
During The Interview
In the interview the consular officer determines if you’re qualified to receive a visa and what type. You will need to establish that you meet requirements under the U.S. law to receive the type of visa you’re applying for.
Digital scans will be taken of your fingerprints as part of the process. After the interview, your application will be processed and you will be informed if anything else has to be done in order to complete the process.
Once your visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee and you will receive instructions on how to receive your visa.