• James D. Lynch

Visa Options for Workers

Here is a summary of employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa classifications.


The main nonimmigrant temporary worker classifications include:

● CW-1 (CNMI-Only transitional worker)

● E-1 (Treaty traders and qualified employees)

● E-2 (Treaty investors and qualified employees)

● E-2C (Long-term foreign investors in the CNMI)

● E-3 (Certain "specialty occupation" professionals from Australia)

● H-1B (Workers in a specialty occupation)

● H-1C (Registered nurses working in a health professional shortage area)

● H-2A (Temporary or seasonal agricultural workers)

● H-2B (Temporary non-agricultural workers)

● H-3 (Trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children.)

● I (Representatives of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media)

● L-1A (Intracompany transferees in managerial or executive positions)

● L-1B (Intracompany transferees in positions utilizing specialized knowledge)

● O-1 (Persons with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and motion picture or TV production)

● O-2 (Persons accompanying solely to assist an O-1 nonimmigrant)

● P-1A (Internationally recognized athletes)

● P-1B (Internationally recognized entertainers or members of internationally recognized entertainment groups)

● P-2 (Individual performer or part of a group entering to perform under a reciprocal exchange program)

● P-3 (Artists or entertainers, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique)

● Q-1 (Persons participating in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the nonimmigrant’s home country.

● R-1 (Religious workers)

● TN (NAFTA temporary professionals from Mexico and Canada)


There are also five immigrant visa categories that allow you to permanently live and work in the United States:

● EB-1 (persons of extraordinary ability)

● EB-2 (persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees)

● EB-3 (professionals, skilled workers, and other workers)

● EB-4 (certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, noncitizen minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of noncitizens)

● EB-5 (business investors who invest $1.8 million or $900,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers)