How to Get a US Work Visa for a Foreign Worker
Need help onboarding international talent?
- To relocate foreign talent to the US, candidates require visa sponsorship. Hiring companies can take the DIY route and become visa sponsors or use an immigration service that can provide them with visa services in the US.
- There are many different visa categories, each with its own requirements. The best type will depend on the candidate's nationality, the job type, and the desired length of stay.
- Filing a visa application involves many nuances that can be confusing, which is why securing an experienced immigration service provider like Deel can help streamline the process for everyone involved.
If you’re a company looking to relocate foreign talent to the US, they will need sponsorship for work visas.
There are two options to acquire a worker visa in the US—you can take the DIY route and become a visa sponsor, or you can use an immigration service provider that can provide you with visa services in the US.
The latter is more suitable for companies that want a hands-off approach to work permit procurement or do not have the proper sponsorship infrastructure to support a US work visa, this includes non-US employers.
If you opt for the DIY approach, here are the steps you must take:
1. Identify the appropriate visa category and check eligibility criteria
The first step is to identify the appropriate visa category for the foreign national. There are many different types of visas, each with its own requirements. Some of the most common types of work visas in the US include:
- H-1B visa: For specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field
- L-1 visa: For employees of multinational companies who are transferring to a US office
- O-1 visa: For individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics
- J-1 visa: For cultural exchange visitors participating in a work-and-study program or other approved training program
2. File a petition with US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS)
Once you have identified the appropriate visa category for the employee, you can file a petition with USCIS to sponsor the foreign worker for a work visa.
For most employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories, the employer starts the process by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. The petition must include documentation of the job offer, the worker’s qualifications, and the employee’s biographical information. You can find filing instructions on the USCIS website.
Note: Some temporary worker visa categories require the employer to obtain a labor certification or other approval from the Department of Labor before filing the petition for a nonimmigrant worker, Form I-129, with USCIS. You should review the instructions for Form I-129 on the USCIS website to determine whether labor certification is required for you.
The sponsoring company pays the petition application fee for most work visas (bar the J-1). The fee varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for. You can check fees here.
Discover which US visas Deel can support with our free immigration guide, or sign up for our webinar on the 25th of January, where we’ll walk you through the process.
3. Await the foreign worker to submit a visa application and attend their interview
An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa. If the USCIS approves the petition, the foreign worker can apply for a visa stamp at a US consulate or embassy in their home country.
The worker must submit a DS-160 visa application form by creating an account on the US Department of State website and submitting a copy of their valid passport and other supporting documents along with any associated application fees.
Once approved, the worker can schedule a visa interview at the US embassy or consulate in the country where they are applying for their visa. The consular officer will determine whether the worker is qualified to receive the visa stamp and travel to America under US immigration law.
Employers and applicants receive status updates, expected completion dates, and personal notes, all viewable in the Deel dashboard and via email.
Have a question for your case manager regarding a status update? Schedule a quick call with them via the link in the status update email.
4. Welcome your new employee to the US
Once the visa is approved, the foreign worker will receive their travel documents and can travel to the USA and work in the sponsored position. You will need to retain a copy of the employee’s work authorization in case you are audited by the authorities.
Get visa support from start to finish with Deel
No longer will you be left in the dark during the visa application process. Deel is re-inventing the immigration journey to make it stress-free and predictable for both workers and companies.
Our global HR platform has everything you need to support your global team. You can:
- Check a candidate’s visa eligibility before creating an employment contract
- Have Deel sponsor your applicant’s visa for an accelerated and hands-off approach to immigration
- Oversee all company immigration activities and costs via your dashboard and receive reminders when work authorizations are due to expire or need renewing
- Continue to support an employee's journey to becoming a US citizen by supporting the green card for permanent residence
- Create work contracts that comply with all local labor laws
- Run background checks
- Administer benefits and perks, including healthcare, equity, and retirement plans
- Provision equipment and flexible coworking space memberships
- Run global payroll
- Manage your team with Deel Engage plugins for smooth onboarding, time off, pulse surveys, and more
Masha Sutherlin, Director of Mobility and Corporate Legal, Deel
Sound like the ideal solution?
Check out our immigration services or book a free consultation with an immigration expert to get your questions answered.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.