Filipinos who wish to work (legally!) in the United States must have a valid Work Visa issued by the U.S. Embassy. There are several types of work visas available for Pinoys; these are based on the kind of job they applied and qualified for.
Keep in mind that work visas are applied and processed only after a petition from the Pinoy’s prospective U.S. employer has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This means that you should have already complied with and satisfied the requirements of the U.S. employer.
These are the different types of U.S. work visas and the unique qualifications of each job type:
- H-1B (specialty occupation)
- Applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree, an equivalent or higher degree.
- Degree must be specific for the type of employment in the U.S.
- Apart from the U.S. employer, the USCIS will determine if the applicant is qualified to perform the services being required.
- The U.S. employer must file a Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor stating the terms and conditions of the Filipino applicant’s contract of employment.
- Types of jobs under H-1B are Accountants and Auditors, Architects, Budget and Management Analysts, College and University Educators, Graphic Designers and Artists, Physicians.
- H-2A (seasonal agricultural workers)
- Temporary agricultural jobs.
- The U.S. Employer or the association of U.S. agricultural producers must file a Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf.
- H-2B (skilled and unskilled workers)
- Temporary or seasonal job where there is a shortage of U.S. workers.
- The U.S. employer must secure a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the job on which your petition is based.
- H-3 (trainee)
- Filipino applicant will undergo training in the U.S. from an employer.
- No specific field or endeavor.
- Training may be up to two years.
- Filipino applicant shall be paid for his training and hands-on work is authorized.
- The training must not be used for productive employment in the Philippines.
- H-4 (dependents)
- May be filed by a Filipino who holds a valid H visa (work visa).
- Spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) may receive an H-4 visa to join the Filipino worker to the United States.
- L-1 (intra-company trasnferees)
- Applicable to employees of international companies.
- Filipino employee needs to secure this if the international company will be temporarily transferring him to a parent branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the United States.
- Filipino applicant must be at the managerial or executive level or have specialized knowledge and be destined to a position within the U.S. company at either of these levels.
- He must have been employed outside the United States with the international company continuously within the three years preceding the visa application.
- L-2 (dependents)
- Derivative visa of dependents of an L visa holder (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old).
- Spouse may seek employment authorization too. He/she must enter the U.S. on his or her own L-2 visa and then submit a completed Form I-765 (from the USCIS) and pay the application fee.
- Children are not authorized to work in the United States.
- Visa issued to people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics.
- Those who can prove extraordinary achievements in motion picture and television production, and their essential support personnel.
- Required from Filipinos who will be participating in international cultural exchange programs.
- Petition must be filed on the Filipino applicant’s behalf by the program sponsor and duly approved by the USCIS.
- The H, L, O, P, and Q visas are processed by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate up to 90 days prior to the beginning of your employment status as noted on your I-797 (Notice of Action or Approval Notification – sent to your U.S. employer after your I-129 form has been approved by the USCIS).
- Federal regulations suggest that you can only use the visa to apply for entry to the U.S. starting 10 days before the beginning of the approved status period stated on your I-797. (This is an important reminder when purchasing your plane tickets and making travel plans).
Tomorrow we will feature the documentary requirements and application process for all U.S. work visa types.
Other related articles:
- Basic Reminders for Philippine Passport Holders Part 1
- Basic Reminders for Philippine Passport Holders Part 2
- New Requirements When Renewing Green and Machine-readable Passports
- Dedicated Passport Center for OFWs
- Can A Married Woman Use Her Maiden Name On Her Passport?