To chase the American dream, many people migrate to the United States from around the world. It is the all-time favorite destination of Indian youngsters. They want to find jobs and settle in the US. However, to be eligible to work in the United States as a nonimmigrant, you need a work visa and a sponsor to submit a petition. Like for H1B visa sponsorship, your employer will file a petition on your behalf to the USCIS. In this article, you will learn about US work visa sponsorship.
There are several types of a US work visa for Indians based on the type of work they will be doing. Moreover, most nonimmigrant employment visas require your future employer to sponsor your work visa.
What is a US work visa sponsorship?
It is essential for an Indian to find a job first to be able to go to the United States to work. The company you will be working for needs to hire you and agree to sponsor you. A US work visa sponsorship means that the employer in the US is hiring a non-US citizen and will be responsible for that employee and his/ her actions during his/her stay in the US. Your employer assures the US visa authorities that you will be legally working in the country.
A US visa sponsorship is not only a letter of invitation, but a set of documents sent to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the petition submitted with the USCIS, the employer has to justify hiring a foreign employee. This is because the US has a large population, so why not hire a US citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR)?
So the employer must show that it posted a job advertisement but couldn’t find required skills and abilities from the US workforce or no one was interested. And submit other documents to the US Department of Labor (DOL).
Which US visa needs sponsorship?
The US offers so many nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to Indian citizens. Only a few of them require sponsorship. Even in the work visa category, very short seasonal work visas might not require sponsorship. Below are the nonimmigrant and immigrant visas that require employment sponsorship.
Nonimmigrant work visas that need employment sponsorship
To work in the US temporarily, you need to obtain a work visa based on the type of work you will be doing. There are so many types of US nonimmigrant visas that need employment sponsorship, such as H1B visa sponsorship, L1 visa sponsorship, etc. Here are some of the most popular work visas:
- H1B visa: Professional in speciality occupation
- H2B visa: Skilled and unskilled workers
- L1 visa: Intracompany transferees
- O-1A visa: People with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, etc.
- O-1B visa: People with extraordinary abilities in arts, motion picture and television production, and film industries.
- O-2 visa: Individuals who assist O-1A and O-1B visa holders.
Immigrant visas that need employment sponsorship
Immigrant visas or Green Cards also require employment sponsorship. Here are employment based immigrant visas that require sponsorship:
EB-1 visa: Priority workers who have:
- Extraordinary ability in the arts/ sciences/ education/ business/ athletics that require special ability
- Professors and researchers
- Managers and executives of MNCs
EB-2 visa: Professionals with advanced degrees and special abilities:
- For a role that requires at least master’s degree
- Positions that require at least bachelor’s degree + minimum 5-year’s relevant experience
- For a role in the arts/ sciences/ education/ business that requires special ability
- Positions in the national interest
EB-3 visa: Skilled, unskilled and professional workers:
- Skilled positions requiring at least 2 years’ training or experience (not temporary or seasonal).
- Unskilled positions that require 2 years’ training or experience.
- Professional positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degree from a US university or college or its equivalent form a non-US college.
EB-4 visa: Special workers like
- Media professionals
- Religious workers and politicians
- Afghans and Iraq nationals who have served the U.S. Government
- Certain other working employees, retired workers and their family members
Self-petitioning is allowed in some of these immigrant visas, such as the EB-1 visa. It means you can sponsor your own visa by paying the petition fees yourself and submitting required documents.
How to get a US visa sponsorship letter
For US work visa sponsorship, you need to have a job offer from an employer in the US. In nonimmigrant visas, the Department of Labor requires a Labor Certification first. Your employer has to prove that they couldn’t find a suitable candidate in the US and have to hire a foreigner.
The company files the petition with all the supporting documents, contracts, itineraries, certificates of the employee, etc. with the USCIS. They need to submits Form I-129 Petition for nonimmigrant employment visa sponsorships and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
Then the USCIS processes the case. Since there are so many petitions, some employers may have to wait for months or even years to hear from the USCIS. The employer and employee will be informed once the USCIS makes a decision. If the petition is approved, the notice will state the next steps that the employer and employees must take to get a US work visa. Then you can complete the visa application process at a US Embassy in India.
If the USCIS declines the petition due to any reason, the notice will outline the reasons. The petition may be denied because the employee couldn’t meet required criteria or due to insufficient documentation.
How much does the sponsor visa cost?
When it comes to US visa sponsorship, the US employer has to pay most of the fees. Following is the cost to sponsor a foreign employee. It is the basic cost and the actual fee will depend on the visa type:
Form I-129 – $460
Form I-140 – $700
(ACWIA) – $750 or $1,500
Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee – $500
A company with 50 or more employees and 50% of them are foreigners: $4,000 or $4,500
For immigrant visas, the Green card fee varies based on the petition.
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A nonimmigrant work visa has temporary validity. For example, the H1B visa is valid for 3 years, while others are valid for 1 year only. However, when the visa is going to expire the employer can again apply for sponsorship to USCIS.
As far as immigrant work visas are concerned, they are permanent. Once you get these visas, you are issued a green card.
For a US work visa sponsorship, you need to find a job in the USA first. Then your potential employer will file a petition on your behalf with USCIS. Once the petition is approved, you can apply for a US work visa at the US embassy or consulate in your country.
In general, a visa sponsorship fee is approximately $4000 but may cost up to $9,000 if a company has more than 50 employees and 50% of them are foreign nationals.
– If you are applying within the US
If you are applying for a Green card within the United States, the US Department of Homeland Security allows applicants to check their USCIS case status online.
– If you are applying outside the United States
Individuals who are applying for a Green card from outside can use CEAC Visa Status Check platform to check the current status of their Green Card application. Select Immigrant Visa as the Visa application type and enter your Immigration Visa Case Number. Then click ‘Submit’ button.