Foreign individuals who work in the United States are "non-immigrants." They're not leaving their home country to become a U.S. resident. They're in the country on a temporary basis, long enough to do the job for which they've been allowed entry. Typically, they can't change jobs after they come to the United States. If they do, it may invalidate their visas.
Some Special Visas Require a Degree
Several different types of work visas exist. H-1B visas are for specialty occupations that require a college or university degree, such as doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, and engineers. Just having a degree is not enough to qualify. You cannot be able to work in your profession without the appropriate degree.
Other Work Visas Require Labor Certifications
You can work in the United States without a college degree, but this requires a different type of visa and some requirements vary. H-2A and H-2B visas allow foreigners to work in the general labor market in the United States on a temporary or seasonal basis. Employers must file a labor certification with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stating that no American workers were available, willing, or able to take the job offered to the nonimmigrant who needs a visa.
H-2 Visas Depend on Your Home Country
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) keeps a list of countries from which the United States will accept workers. USCIS is more likely to approve a visa for a worker whose home country is on this list. If a country is not on the list, special permission is necessary from DHS. DHS will only grant permission to an individual from a non-designated country if the worker's presence in the United States is considered to be in the nation's interest.
Your Employer Must File the Required Forms
In addition to a labor certification, employers hiring foreign workers must submit an application for a work visa on their employees' behalf. This is Form I-129, a Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers. After your employer submits this form to USCIS, you can go to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country to request a visa. An interview with the consulate is usually required.
You Can Enter the Country for Business Purposes
You can also apply for a visa to do business in the United States. You don't necessarily have to be employed by someone in the country. These are B-1 visas, and they allow you to visit the U.S. temporarily for business purposes.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding work and business visas is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an immigration lawyer.