8 min read

How to Get a US Work Visa for a Foreign Worker

Global mobility


Jemima Owen-Jones


December 01, 2023

Last Update

July 17, 2024

Table of Contents

1. Identify the appropriate visa category and check eligibility criteria

2. File a petition with US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS)

3. Await the foreign worker to submit a visa application and attend their interview

4. Welcome your new employee to the US

Get visa support from start to finish with Deel

Key takeaways
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

You can use the Visa Wizard on the US Department of State website to determine which temporary work visa is right for the employee or use Deel’s Immigration Assist tool to check visa requirements.

💡 Deel’s HR platform has a built-in visa eligibility checker so you can ensure the new hire meets the visa requirements before proceeding with creating their employment contract.


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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.

💡 Deel is already a registered sponsor in the US and can hire and sponsor workers to provide services to your company through our employer of record (EOR) sponsorship model. We take on all liabilities associated with hiring the employee, sponsoring their visa, and handling the paperwork for their work permit application.

Discover which US visas Deel can support with our free immigration guide.

Get support navigating the O-1A and L-1 visas at our webinars

Empower yourself with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the O-1 visa or L-1 visa application process with confidence. Join us for these essential sessions and take a significant step towards achieving your entrepreneurial aspirations in the United States.

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  • Registration: Secure your spot now to unlock essential guidance to streamline your O-1 visa. Register today.

L-1 Visa for Startups Webinar

  •  Registration: Don’t miss out on this opportunity to streamline your L-1 visa application process. Register today.

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.

💡 Deel’s in-house team of immigration experts handles the entire application process for a fast and seamless process. We’ll handle the endless paperwork, facilitate consular visa stamping, and provide dedicated one-on-one support for you, your candidate, and their family members. 

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.

💡 Deel’s HR platform enables visa holders to upload their employment authorization documents to the Deel platform, where they are verified by mobility specialists and securely stored. The worker can then commence onboarding.

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

Our vision is to make Mobility simple, transparent, and fun. We want our clients to be able to outsource the complexity to Deel and let Deel Immigration help them expand globally in a rapid and compliant way.

Masha Sutherlin,

Director of Mobility and Corporate Legal

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.

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