US Work Visa for Indians: Types, Requirements & Application

The United States is the all-time favorite destination of Indian youngsters for work and higher studies. To work in the US temporarily as a nonimmigrant, you need a specific visa based on the type of work you will be doing. A US work visa for Indians is issued under various categories. Most nonimmigrant work visas require your prospective employer or agent to file a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can apply for a work visa. 

US Work Visa for Indians: Types, Requirements & Application
US Work Visa for Indians

Indians applying for H, L, O, P and Q visas must have a petition approved on their behalf by USCIS. Once your petition, Form I-29, is approved, you can apply for a work visa at the US Embassy or Consulate.  

US work visa types for Indians

There are many types of a US work visa issued by the US Government to citizens of other nations. However, foreign workers can apply for specific visa types based on the country they are citizens of. Following is the checklist of non-immigrant US work visa for Indians based on the type of work you will be doing:

US work visa categoriesDescription
H1B (specialty occupation)The applicant must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree (or an equivalent degree) to qualify for an H1B visa. Your prospective employer is required to file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor. 
H2B (skilled and unskilled workers)H2B visa allows foreigners to get a temporary/ seasonal job in the United States for which there is a shortage of U.S. workers. The prospective employer needs to obtain a Department of Labor certification so that the visa application can be initiated.
H3 (trainee)You need an H3 visa to visit the US to receive training from an employer in any field, other than graduate education, for up to 2 years. 
H4 (dependents)Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of the principal holder of an H visa can apply for an H4 visa to accompany the principal visa holder to the United States. However, the dependents are not allowed to work in the US.
L1 (Intra-company transferees)An L1 visa is issued to employees of international companies who are being transferred to a parent branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the United States. You must be at the managerial or executive level to qualify for an L1 visa. Your US company or affiliate must have an approved petition form to the USCIS before you apply for an L1 visa.  
L2 (dependents)Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of the principal holder of L visa can apply for an L2 visa to accompany the principal visa holder to the United States. Now spouses of L visa holders are allowed to work in the US. 
O (Extraordinary ability)Individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, arts, or extraordinary achievements in motion picture and television production, etc. are eligible to get an O type visa. 
P (artists, entertainers)Certain athletes, entertainers, artists, and their essential support personnel wishing to perform in the United States can get a type P visa. 
Q (Cultural Exchange)The Q visa is issued for foreigners to travel to the US for the purpose of providing practical training, sharing history, culture and tradition of your homeland.  
US work visa types

Prerequisites for US work visa for Indians

The existing/ potential employer of an applicant needs to obtain either the Department of Labor certification (Form I-129), USCIS Notice of Approval/ Action (Form I-797) or both before the application for non-immigrant categories can be initiated. 

The approval of a petition doesn’t assure entry into the United States. The US immigration policy departments such as US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and US Customs and Border Protection, etc. are authorized to cancel a visa or visa application due to many factors.

Application process for US work visa for Indians

The application process for a US worker visa from India slightly varies based on the location and work visa type you are applying for. You must go through the guidelines and instructions provided by a US Embassy or Consulate in India and then start the application. Here are a few basic and common steps for the US work visa application process:

Step 1: Determine your work visa type to proceed.

Step 2: Complete the nonimmigrant visa application (DS-160) Form online. Fill the form carefully and all information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you can’t make any changes. 

Step 3: Once you have completed the D-16, you must pay the US work visa fee of $190 or Rs. 14,820.

Step 4: Now to schedule your visa appointment, you can login to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your US work visa fee. 

You are required to schedule two appointments – one for the VAC (visa application center) and one for the visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in India. 

  • You need to visit one of the VACs to provide fingerprints and a visa photograph before visiting the US Embassy/ Consulate. 
  • Schedule your visa interview appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate using the following information:
  • Your passport number
  • Date on which you paid the visa fee
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Applicants below 13 years of age and over 80 years are not required to attend the visa interview.

If you are applying for an H1B visa, here are the frequently asked H1B visa interview questions and answers.  

US work visa requirements for Indians

You will need to provide the following documents for the application for a US work visa for Indians:

For visa application center (VAC)

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with at least six months validity beyond your intended time of stay in the US and blank pages for immigration stamping. 
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page.
  • The confirmation page of the Form DS-160. 
  • One photograph as per the US visa requirements. See the US visa photo requirements for more information.
  • Receipt of visa fee paid at the time of US visa application must be printed and brought along with other documents.

Documents required for the US Embassy

Following your appointment at the visa application center, you will have to visit the US Embassy/ Consulate on the date and time of your interview.

  • Printed copy of your appointment letter.
  • DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Your passports – current and old, if any.
  • Supporting documents based on the visa type you are applying for. 
  • Receipt number available on your approved I-129 petition. A paper copy of Form I-797 is not required at the interview.
  • Receipt of visa fee paid at the time of US visa application must be printed and brought along with other documents.

Other documents

You may be required to submit additional/ supporting documents of employment, such as your university degree/ diploma, job offer letter, current and previous employment letter, payslips from the current employer, bank statement, ITR form, etc., or other documents based on the specific category of visa.  

Once your visa application is assessed and approved, you will receive the visa along with the original passport you submitted at the time of application.

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