Ask the U.S. Consul February 2016

Visa photo


How do I apply for a work permit for the United States?


If you are seeking to come to the United States on a temporary basis to work, be employed, and/or be paid by a U.S.-based company as a skilled or unskilled worker, you will need a temporary worker visa.  In these situations, the prospective employer must file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), on behalf of the foreign prospective employee, a nonimmigrant visa petition accompanied by an approved labor certification.

There are various classifications of nonimmigrant visas for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States, based on U.S. immigration laws:

  • Employment (H, L, O, P or Q) Visas: If you are going to receive income and the salary is paid to you by a U.S. based company.
  • Internship (Trainee or H3 or Exchange Visitor J-1) Visas: If you are attending practical training through an internship whether paid or unpaid.
  • Researcher (H1-B or a J-1) Visas: If you are doing Independent Research and will receive payment or benefit to U.S. institution.

For all of the above visa options you would need to prepare a form, pay the fee and schedule an appointment when you have received the approval notice from the United States.

Please remember that employment in the U.S. on a tourist or B1/B2 visa is prohibited.  In order to determine whether you may work in the U.S., it is best to consult with the USCIS at the Department of Homeland Security.  More information on requirements for employment authorization may be found at

All Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are authorized to work in the U.S. and do not require permission from USCIS.  Additional information on visas to the United States may be found at