All you need to know about Work Visas in the United States

Albanians are very interested in work visas. However, they have little information about it. Can you tell us about it?

The work visas are divided into immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. With an employment-based immigrant visa, the foreign national will be issued the residency permit, also known as the “green card,” and will be able to reside in U.S. permanently. The nonimmigrant visa allows the foreign national to work in the U.S. for the period of time on their petition, or their work authorization. U.S. immigration law provides foreign nationals with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents (e.g. get a Green Card) through employment in the United States. Here is a link with information on how to obtain a Green Card through employment-based visa: https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/employment-based.

Can you tell us what the process is? What can an Albanian do to apply for an employment based visa?

First of all, the individual must be skilled for the job. If applying for employment based immigrant visa, the prospective employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor, Form ETA-9089. Then, the prospective employer (petitioner) will file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If approved, USCIS will forward the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. Once the case is documentarily complete, and case is current, NVC schedules an interview date at the Consular Section.

We see interest in the employment-based third preference EB-3 visa for skilled workers. Can you tell us a little bit more on this category?

First of all, the foreign national must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. The EB-3 visa is for a) skilled workers with at least 2 years of job experience or training, b) professionals who possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation, and other workers performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature. The labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer is required in order to qualify.

How do I make the first contact with the prospective employer? Are there recruiting agencies? Can I trust them?

One way is to look through familial ties for such an opportunity in a prospective employer wishing to hire a foreign national for a job in which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Usually these companies have their own immigration lawyers who can guide prospective employees through the process. Optionally, there are immigration lawyers who can assist, but you must use extreme caution, as you may fall a victim of inflated prices, or incorrect information.

We hear that there are U.S. immigration lawyers advertising in Albania. Can you tell us if they are legitimate?

The U.S. Embassy does not work with any immigration lawyer, and we do not endorse any of them, U.S. or Albanian. While the contract between the person seeking employment and the law firm is private, we strongly recommend checking several options, including using a simple internet search, before deciding who you’d like to work with. This way, you will get a better sense of what the average price should be in order not to fall victim.

You mentioned temporary workers. Are Albanians eligible?

In order for a foreign national to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily in the United States, the prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on their behalf with USCIS.  There are several nonimmigrant temporary worker classifications that Albanians have applied for in the past. Please find here a complete list at: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-nonimmigrant-workers. Some of the most common visa categories Albanians apply for are: E-2 treaty trader, H-1B workers in a specialty occupation, H-2B Temporary non-agricultural workers, I – Representatives of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media, L- Intracompany transferees, etc.