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US Work Visas: Which One Should I Apply For?
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There are many types of work permits, each with specific requirements as to type of position, type of employer, duration, etc. One of the most important steps in the visa application process is to determine what category/ies may be the most suitable, considering the nature of the position, your background and goals, and other factors. Given below are some common positions and the appropriate visa categories for those positions.

Chefs and Hospitality Management positions
Chefs and Cooks
Hospitality Management
Medical Doctors
Computer Positions
Marketing Positions
Fashion Models
Athletes and Entertainers
Accountant and Taxation consultants
Agricultural workers
Au pair or Nanny
Hockey Instructor / Football Coach / Ski Instructor
Teacher / Professor / Research Assistant / Scientist
Religious Workers

Hospitality Management

E-2 visa:
Assuming that the company qualifies as an E-2 enterprise, managers and persons with specialized knowledge may be granted E-2 visas. These visas usually will be granted for experienced personnel who will manage the organization. Specialized knowledge employees may be familiar with the company’s accounting systems, security measures, human resources methods and policies, or computer systems.

H-1B visa: The USCIS will sometimes grant H-1B visa petitions for hotel managers, assistant managers, night managers, food and beverage managers, stewards, and other related positions. Extensive evidence is needed to prove why the job needs a degreed worker.

L-1 visa: Multinational hotel management companies and hotel chains may transfer their managerial employees to the U.S. with L-1A visas. It must be demonstrated that the individual will have managerial responsibility by overseeing tiers of employees or professionals, or that the individual will be a functional manager, such as in running the hotel at night with a skeleton staff. Similarly, L-1B specialized knowledge petitions may be approved for people who are familiar with a hotel’s computer systems, accounting methods, and so forth.

O-1 visa: With articles about the individual and the hotels managed, awards won, and so forth, a distinguished hotel manager may qualify for an O-1 extraordinary ability visa. Unlike chefs, who as artists must satisfy the ‘prominent’ standard, a hotel or restaurant manager must show he or she is ‘one of the small per cent who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor.’

TN visa: Hotel managers are listed in the NAFTA Schedule of Professionals. To qualify for a hotel management TN visa, the position must be a managerial one. The regulations regarding the foreign worker require that he or she have a ‘baccalaureate or licenciatura degree in hotel/restaurant management; or post-secondary diploma or post-secondary certificate in hotel/restaurant management and three years’ experience in hotel/restaurant management.’

J-1 visa: Many J-1 programs sponsor hotel management training for young foreign nationals to gain work experience in American management systems.


The Immigration and Nationality Act, DOL regulations, and USCIS policies on visas for nurses are curious; unlike for other occupations, there are specific favorable provisions for permanent resident status but severe restrictions on temporary visas except for Canadians and Mexicans. Here is a summary of the visas available to nurses.

The USCIS has abandoned its holding that nursing is a professional occupation and that a person with a three-year degree may qualify. ImmAct 90 provided the H-1A temporary visa for nurses, but this statute has been repealed.

Nurses, as foreign health care workers, are inadmissible unless they are certified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) and pass the English Testing Service (ETS) exam or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) test. Certain nurses are exempt from this requirement.

Green Card: The DOL regulations for Schedule A provide that nurses are exempt from the labor certification requirement. Thus, a U.S. employer (usually a hospital, nurse registry, or convalescent facility) may file a Green Card petition under the skilled worker category, followed by an immigrant visa application or adjustment of status.

H-1B visa: Nurses may qualify for H-1B visas only if the position they will fill requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Only high-level nursing positions such as administrators, nurse practitioners, midwives, and other positions requiring advanced degrees or equivalent work experience will qualify for H-1B visas, as will nurse positions in the state of Montana, which require a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

TN visa: The NAFTA Schedule of Professionals includes nurse as a TN qualifying profession for Canadian and Mexican citizens. Applicants must have a state or provincial license or licenciatura degree.

H-1C visa: This special program permits the admission of 500 registered nurses per year to work exclusively in temporary positions in hospitals located in health professional shortage areas. Very few employers were able to qualify for this program and it ended in 2003.

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