Legal Immigration to the United States Through a Work Visa

posted byLA Attorneys GroupJune 1, 2021

One of the most common routes for legal immigration to the U.S. is through a work visa, or employment visa.

There are many work opportunities in the United States, which is why a large number of foreign nationals move to the United States for employment.

If you are looking to immigrate to the U.S for employment, in this article, we are going to be discussing the following:

What is a Work Visa, or Employment Immigration?

When immigrating to the U.S. there are both immigrant and non-immigrant visas. However, if your end goal is to obtain U.S. citizenship, you will need an immigrant visa.

Immigrant visas are issued to non-United States citizens who hope to permanently immigrate to the United States, in this case, for employment.

This is different from a non-immigrant visa, which is for those planning to visit the United States temporarily for tourism or short-term employment.

In this article, we are specifically focusing on legal immigration through a work visa. So let's outline what employment immigration is.

If you choose to immigrate through a work visa, there are a number of categories you may fall into based on your employment.

  • Employment First Preference: This group are those who are categorized as having “extraordinary abilities” in their field and therefore do not need a specific job offer to immigrate. This category also includes professors and researchers continuing their positions in education, as well as those working for multinational companies and who have been working in executive positions.
  • Employment Second Preference: This category includes those who have “exceptional ability” in their given field, far above their colleagues.
  • Employment Third Preference: This category includes all workers: skilled, professional, and unskilled. Each of these subcategories is determined by the nature of work and the level of education.
  • Employment Fourth Preference: Those in this category are referred to as “special immigrants,” which encompasses a wide range of subcategories, such as religious workers. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State website for the full list of people who fall into this category.
  • Employment Fifth Preference: Those who fall into this category are referred to as “immigrant investors,” or those investing in commercial ventures in the United States.

As outlined above, those planning to permanently immigrate to the U.S. on a work visa must fall into specific employment categories. However, one’s eligibility to immigrate is also determined by the number of U.S. citizens who are capable of doing the job of this prospective immigrant.

This is to prevent jobs from being taken from able and willing U.S. workers.

The Process of Legal Immigration Through a Work Visa

There are many steps when attempting to gain citizenship in the U.S. through a work visa.

Once you have your job in the U.S., your employer will need to submit a labor certification approval form, acting as the sponsor for your visa.

Your employer must also sign an Affidavit of Support, which states that the sponsor agrees to be financially responsible for you. Your employer will also have to supply financial documents to support this document.

The next step is filling out an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker or Form I-140 and submitting it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Once documents are signed and processed and the necessary fees are paid, you will need to submit an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

Next, it is important to gather documents from your home nation, which must be scanned and submitted. These documents must be official civil documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and military records.

Once all of this has been done, the prospective immigrant must complete an interview, during which the necessary documents previously submitted to the National Visa center must be supplied to the office, including a passport.

When your work visa has been approved, plan to travel to the United States within 6 months of the visa being issued.

When you move to the U.S., you will officially be a green card holder and will legally be allowed to work and live in the United States.

Keep in mind that your visa may still be denied, so it is important to follow the steps above carefully and completely.

The Green Card Lottery Program

Another way to legally immigrate to the U.S. on a work visa is through the Green Card Lottery Program.

This program also referred to as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program , is one way to obtain legal, permanent resident status. Learn more about Green Cards and how to obtain one in this article.

The Green Card Lottery Program involves a random lottery through which citizenship applicants are randomly selected for a Green Card.

In order to be considered for this program, applicants must apply in advance and before they officially move to the United States and enter the country.


If you have been employed in the U.S. and are hoping to immigrate permanently, you have the opportunity to legally immigrate through a work visa.

While the application process is long and complicated, considering the number of documents and procedures that must be completed, our immigration attorneys are here to help you through the process.

If you have any further questions regarding immigrant visas or are planning to obtain an immigrant visa in the near future, contact LA Attorneys today for further guidance.

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