Guide to Work Visas in the United States: Costs, Types and Requirements
For thousands of people, the United States is a land of opportunity where they can live and work to achieve a better life than they currently have in their own countries. However, in order to work legally in the US, migrants need a work visa. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers more than 20 types of work visas, which can be divided into two main categories: temporary and permanent visas.
Temporary visas are for those who have a specific period of stay in the US, while permanent visas are given to those who are planning to stay for a longer period of time and eventually obtain citizenship. In most cases, applicants for work visas require sponsorship from a company.
The cost of a work visa can vary between $2,000 to $11,000, depending on the type of visa and other USCIS fees associated with the application. Recently, a proposal to increase the cost of processing a Green Card was submitted, with an estimated increase of $1,500. This increase may be unaffordable for many who are interested in being legal residents, and as a result, could face difficulty saving for the added expense.
Some of the most common types of permanent work visas include the EB-1, which is for people with rare and globally recognized talents in fields like science, arts, education, business, and sports. The EB-2 visa is for highly trained or exceptionally qualified individuals, while the EB-3 visa is for skilled, professional, and unskilled workers. The EB-4 is specifically for workers in certain employment categories such as members of the armed forces, international organizations, doctors, and clergy. Finally, the EB-5 visa is offered to business investors who invest a minimum of $1 million or $500,000 in a company that provides employment for at least 10 full-time US employees.
As mentioned, there are over 20 types of temporary work visas for a variety of specialized positions in different industries, including Treaty Traders, Foreign long-term investors, Artists, Internationally Recognized Athletes, Cultural Exchange participants, and Religious Workers.
In summary, the process of obtaining a work visa can be costly and complex. Being well-informed about the requirements and types of visas available can help migrants to make an informed decision on which visa to apply for and how to plan for the costs associated with the application process. Despite the process, the potential for a better life opportunity in the United States continues to be a driving factor for many who pursue work visas.