The United States of America is a with powerful global force with a strong and diverse economy with competitive wages, high-standard of workplace safety, and many opportunities for professional growth and development. Making it a prime destination for many foreigners who are looking for employment opportunities abroad. But for a citizen of another country to work in the United States.
There are certain permissions and requirements to be met. Which US Employment Visa Sponsorship is a major step in the process.
However, in order to work in the United States, it is necessary to ensure that the foreign citizen has the proper authorization to make the employment legal. Therefore, in this article, we will provide information in detail about US Employment Visa Sponsorship, what it means, how it works, how much it costs, and any other necessary information pertaining to US Employment Visa Sponsorship.
What is US Employment Visa Sponsorship?
If you are seeking to relocate to the United States of America for employment-related purposes. Firstly, you will need to find and secure a job offer. But since you are not a Legal Permanent Resident in the country, the US Visa department will not permit you to enter the country. However, the company or employer that wants to hire you must be aware that you are not a United States citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident.
The employer will need to guarantee to the US Visa department or authorities that you will be a legal working resident in the United States. This process is the visa sponsorship. Therefore, US Employment Visa Sponsorship is a set of documents that guarantee and state your working or employment status in the United States.
Moreover, the employer will have to send the set of documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The documents must include different forms and letters which state the employment information and also guarantees that the employer is willing to hire the foreign employee.
US Employment Visa Sponsorship
Furthermore, you should know by now that to get a Visa sponsor, you must first of all secure an employment offer in the United States with your name from the company or employer hiring you. However, just like we said earlier the employer submits a set of documents to the US Visa authorities. Which is to guarantee that you will be a legal working resident in the country. But they are certain conditions in which the employer can only make the sponsorship.
However, the employer or company will have to show or prove to be right or reasonable to hire a foreign employee. This is by stating the reason for not hiring a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), since the United States has a larger population. Generally, when trying to sponsor a foreign employee for a job offer. The employer or company will have to post job ads for employment positions and submit other relevant documents to the US Department of Labor.
After that, the employer must wait for some time for someone to respond to the employment ads post. Then, if no satisfactory response comes for the job. The employer or company can say that they could not find a suitable US citizen or LPR skilled for the job position. This certainly justifies why the employer or company hired a foreign employee.
Do I Need a US Employment Visa Sponsorship Letter?
However, most people think that the employment visa sponsorship is a letter. But in fact, just as we said earlier it is a set of documents that the employer sends to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It includes different letters and forms with states the employment information and that the employer is also hiring the foreign employee willingly.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. However, they are so many visas in the United States and it can be confusing to know the ones that are for employment. The most common types of US work visas are categorized into Temporary Non-Immigrant Visa and Permanent (Immigrant) visa. Below are the types that need employment sponsorships.
Temporary (Non-Immigrant) Visa
US temporary worker or non-immigrant visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time and are not considered permanent or indefinite. The visas are not green cards, therefore they don’t give the holders rights to become US citizens. Each of these visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa. Meanwhile, the non-immigrant visas that need employment sponsorship are as follows:
- H-1B: Person in Specialty Occupation
- H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Worker
- L: Intracompany Transferee to work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.
- H-2B: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker
- O: Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
Permanent (Immigrant) Visa
People with the right job skills can apply for the approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas. Which are made available every fiscal year to applicants that qualify under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. However, to be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories below. The applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. In other words, there is also a need for employer sponsorship.
- EB-1: Outstanding professors, researchers, persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Including managers or executives who have worked at an overseas branch of the U.S. employer for the previous three years.
- EB-2: Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
- EB-3: Skilled workers with a minimum of 2 years of work experience, unskilled workers capable of filling positions that require less than two years of training or experience.
- EB-4: Certain special immigrants such as religious, government, or international organizations workers.
However, with this visa, holders can live in the United States and also become Legal Permanent Residents. Moreover, there are certain situations in which some of these visas can permit self-petitioning. That is to say that you can sponsor your own visa, by submitting all the necessary documents and pay the visa fees. In addition, there’s also an EB-5 visa which is for investors and only works through self-petitioning.
How to Get a US Employment Visa Sponsorship Letter
However, the employment visa sponsorship process can be very overwhelming. In the sense that it can be a long process. Most employers hire a lawyer to complete them because it is very easy to make mistakes and all the documentation and justification must be accurate. Moreover, mistakes in filing or submissions can lead to the delay of the visa processing. Below is the step-by-step guideline of the US Employment Visa Sponsorship process.
Firstly, you should know by now that getting a US Employment Visa Sponsorship requires you to have a job offer from an employer in the United States. Therefore, the first step requires the employer to send you a contract to sign, which will be then included in the visa sponsorship documents.
Then, for some non-immigrant visas, a Labor Certification will be requested by the Department of Labor. Which will state that the US employer could not find a suitable employee within the United States, and therefore, have to hire a foreign employee.
How to Get a Sponsorship Visa
After that, the US employee submits the petition which includes all the other supporting documents necessary for the sponsorship to the USCIS. Such documents include contracts, itineraries, qualifications of the foreign employee, etc. However, for nonimmigrant employment visa sponsorships, the employer submits Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. For immigrant visas, the employer submits Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
Moreover, after submitting the petition and necessary supporting documents to the USCIS, they will then start processing the visa sponsorship. This usually takes some time, as they can be so many petitions. Sometimes, it takes months or even a year until the USCIS makes a decision on the application.
Certainly, when USCIS makes a decision on the application, both the US employer and the foreign employee will receive a notice. If the USCIS approves the petition, then the notice will be positive. Then, the employee can start the actual visa process in his/her home country. The notice will outline the next steps that the employer and employee must follow depending on the type of visa they need. The actual visa application process will be done at the US embassy or consulate in the foreign employee’s home country.
However, if the USCIS denies the petition, similarly, the notice will be negative. It will outline the reasons for the denial. Which could be that the employee lacks adequate qualification for the position or that the documentation is not enough.
How Long is Visa Sponsorship Valid
However, the validity of the Visa Sponsorship depends on the type of visa you have. That is to say that if you have a non-immigrant visa, its validity is temporary meaning that it will expire after some time. Some of them are valid for 3 years, while others can only be valid for 1 year. You can extend your stay when the time comes for your visa to expire.
The employer can file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires. However, there is a limited number of extensions for non-immigrant visas, you may not be able to extend for more than 2 or 3 times.
Moreover, immigrant work visas are permanent. Getting an immigrant work visa typically turns you into a green cardholder. Which is valid for 10 years with unlimited extensions. You can even apply for United States citizenship after 5 years of living and working in the US.
US Employment Visa Sponsorship Cost
Furthermore, the cost of getting an employment visa sponsorship can be a bit expensive. Also, the US employee will be the one to cover most of the fees for the visa. However, the cost might be up to a few thousand dollars depending on the type visa. But below is a general overview of the visa fees and their costs:
- Form I-129 filing fee – $460
- Form I-140 filing fee – $700
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998(ACWIA) – $750 or $1,500
- Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee – $500
- For employers with 50 or more employees and 50% of them are foreign – $4,000 or $4,500
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Moreover, note that the approval of a petition does not guarantee that you will get a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa. Also, a visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry and request permission to enter the United States. However, note that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.