Employment-based visas benefit people who want to work in the United States, but they also benefit the American economy. People with special skills and advanced education can often get work visas that permit them to live temporarily or permanently in the United States while being allowed to work for U.S. companies.

However, there are a few different types of employment-based visas, some of which are limited each year. Before you begin the application process, it’s important to understand the different types of visas and how likely it is to get approved for them.

What are Non-Immigrant vs. Immigrant Work Visas?

The two main categories of employment-based visas are immigrant and non-immigrant. People who want to live in the United States permanently will need to apply for an immigrant work visa. Those who are taking a temporary position with a U.S. company can get a work visa that is good for up to six years if extensions are granted.

Seasonal and agricultural workers, student workers, people with specialized skills, and those working for companies abroad that have operations or other connections in the United States are candidates for non-immigrant work visas. People who want to move to the U.S. permanently and work must apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card), which is a path to citizenship after five years.

What are the Different Types of Work Visas?

Under the umbrella of non-immigrant and immigrant employment-based visas, there are different visa types for each type of foreign worker. An HB-1 visa, for example, is issued to people with specialized skills who hold at least the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, while H-2A and H-2B visas are for seasonal or agricultural workers.

Immigrant work visas are given out according to a tiered preference system, with people of extraordinary talents or abilities given first preference. There is a total cap of around 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas each year.

Who is Eligible for an Employment-Based Visa?

The United States government is strict about its policies for issuing employment-based visas. For most visa types, there is a cap on how many can be given out each year.

Most employment-based visas require a person’s employer to petition on their behalf. If you want to work in the United States, you will typically need to have a job waiting for you. To learn more about your eligibility for employment-based visas, give our Hackensack, NJ immigration law firm a call at (201) 883-9800 to discuss your goals and expectations. Our experienced attorney can help you understand your options and next steps.