requirements, how to process, price and duration

(CNN Spanish) — Each year the United States grants thousands of work visas to foreigners. However, there are dozens of different types of nonimmigrant visas that cover a wide variety of job positions.

From specialized jobs, to vacancies that do not require an academic degree. This is what you should know about work visas in the US:

Skilled Worker Visas (H-1B)

This type of visa is for skilled workers, highly-skilled professionals in fields including engineering, technology, medicine, and higher education.

And there are three subcategories of H-1B visas:

  • H-1B1: for skilled workers from Chile and Singapore.
  • H-1B2: for specialists who will work on projects for the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Research and Development program.
  • H-1B3: for fashion models of “distinguished merit and ability”.

in 2021the US granted a total of 61,569 H-1B visas.


The applicant must have the educational preparation, training or experience in the chosen specialty. Eligibility criteria vary depending on the type of H-1B visa and can be consulted on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website.

How to process

Once the Form I-129 has been filed by the employee and approved by USCIS, the applicant must apply for an H-1B visa through the United States Department of State (DOS) at an embassy or American consulate.


Persons under the H-1B visa can be admitted for a period of up to three years. However, your stay can be extended, but usually not more than six years.


the price of the Visa application it is $190.

Visas for non-professional workers without an academic degree (H-2A/H-2B)

Every year, the United States grants thousands of H-2 visas to experienced and inexperienced workers (non-professionals and without an academic degree) to work temporarily in the country. This category is divided into two types of visas: the H-2A for agricultural workers and the H-2B for non-agricultural workers.

in 2021the US granted a total of 257,898 H-2A visas and 95,053 H-2B visas.


Be citizens of one of the eligible countries; see the details here:

How to process

Temporary jobs available in the United States are posted on the Department of Labor website (DOL). Interested individuals can log on to the site and search by occupation, industry, employer name, location, start date, or type of work, whether farm or non-farm.

Those interested in the vacancies should call the telephone number, write to the email or enter the website indicated under “Recruitment Information” to request more information and/or apply to the available vacancy.

Once there is a job offer from the employer, prospective workers outside the US must apply for an H-2A or H-2B visa (after USCIS approves their Form I-129) with the Department of State at a US embassy or consulate. Finally, they must apply for admission to the US at a US port of entry.


The maximum period of stay for both visas is 3 years.

H-2 visas are granted for a period of one year, although two extensions of up to one year each can be requested. The extension request must be submitted before its expiration date and the workers will be able to remain in the US during the extension process.

After a 3-year stay, H-2 visa recipients must leave the US for a continuous 3-month period before applying for readmission under the same type of visa.


The price of the visa application is US$190.

NAFTA (TN) Temporary Worker Visas

TN visas arose thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, for its acronym in English, NAFTA in Spanish) between the US, Mexico and Canada, so qualified Mexican and Canadian citizens can apply for admission to the United States as nonimmigrants to perform temporary work in the country. In 2021, the United States granted a total of 24,904 TN visas, according to government data.


To apply for a TN visa, it is necessary to be a citizen of Mexico or Canada, demonstrate a professional level in one of the professions established by NAFTAhave a pre-arranged full-time or part-time job offer from a US employer, and meet the education and work experience requirements for the profession.

How to process

Mexicans who want to apply for a TN visa will have to complete the form DS-160 online, print the application confirmation page and go to the interview at the US Embassy or consulate in Mexico.

For the interview, the applicant must bring a valid passport, confirmation of the DS-160 form, receipt of payment of the application fee, a letter of offer for a job or contract in the US, and documentation showing that they meet with minimum education and/or work experience requirements.


Up to 3 years. However, there is no specific limit on the total period of time that a foreigner can be under the TN visa as long as they continue with their employment relationship.


The price of the visa application is US$160.

Visas for persons with extraordinary ability (O-1)

The O-1 visa is for individuals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics or who can demonstrate extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or media industry and have been recognized for those achievements.

And there are 2 subcategories for O-1 visas:

  • O-1A: persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
  • O-1B: persons of extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry

In 2021, the United States granted a total of 7,294 O-1 visas, according to government data.


USCIS stipulates that to qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate nationally and internationally recognized extraordinary ability. There is a list of documentation that the applicant must present USCIS lists on its website.

How to process

To begin, a US employer or agent must file the Form I-129contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary, itinerary and the evidence to demonstrate the eligibility of the beneficiary.


Initially, USCIS will determine the time necessary to complete the activity for which the beneficiary was required. However, “new petitions that involve new events or an event that will be determined individually if it is materially different from the event included in the initial petition, could be approved for a maximum period of 3 years,” indicates USCIS.


The price of the visa application is US$190.

Visa by transfer within the same company (L-1A/L-1B)

The L-1A visas allows U.S. employers to transfer an executive or manager from one of their foreign offices to one of their U.S. offices, while the L-1B nonimmigrant classification allows U.S. employers to transfer professionals with specialized knowledge within from the same company.

The United States awarded a total of 24,863 L-1s in 2021.


The employee must have worked for an eligible organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years prior to entering the United States. Likewise, they must provide executive, managerial or expert services, as the case may be, in an branch of the same employer or in an eligible organization.

How to process

The US employer must file the Form I-129 before USCIS, pay the application fee ($460) and submit all required documentation.

For his part, the applicant must complete the form DS-160 online, print the application confirmation page and attend the interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in Mexico. Where you must present documents that prove your eligibility.


Employees entering the US to open a new office will be allowed an initial maximum stay of one year. All other employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.

L-1A visa extensions are granted for up to two years, until the total maximum limit of seven years is reached.

L-1B visa extensions are granted for up to two years, until the total maximum limit of five years is reached.


The price of the visa application is US$190.


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