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How to Sponsor an Employee for a Work Visa?

sponsoring a work visa
Work visa

Businesses and employers are constantly seeking ways to access a diverse talent pool to drive innovation, productivity, and growth. One of the avenues explored by companies to achieve this is sponsoring foreign employees for work visas. This process not only allows organizations to tap into a broader spectrum of skills and expertise but also contributes to cultural diversity within the workplace.

Visa Sponsorship is a set of documents that states and guarantees working status within the United States. The employer can sponsor the visa if they can demonstrate that no qualified US citizen was available for the position.

The duration of sponsorship varies based on the type of visa, ranging from one to ten years with the possibility of extensions. To understand how sponsoring is done, we need to know what a work visa is. A work visa gives a foreign national the ability to take a job. One is to require the holder of a visa to have a local employer sponsoring him/her and immediate return to their home country when he/she loses the job. There are several types of work visas that support employee sponsorship, falling into two categories: non-immigrant and permanent work visas.

Non-Immigrant Sponsorship

Non-immigrant sponsorship refers to the process by which a person or entity in one country sponsors a foreign national to come to United States temporarily for a specific purpose, such as work, study, tourism, or other authorized activities. Non-immigrant sponsorships are intended for temporary situations where the individual does not have the option to ultimately become a US citizen. This is valid for individuals who are only temporarily moving to the country, this implies that Non-immigrant visa holders are not eligible for Green Cards.

If the job requires you to travel for a short period of time only, this would be the ideal visa sponsorship for you. However, this means that you would require an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the United States.

Permanent Work Visas

A permanent work visa, often referred to as an employment-based immigrant visa, is a type of visa that allows foreign nationals to live and work in a specific country on a permanent basis. These visas are typically granted to individuals who have a job offer or employment sponsorship from a company in the host country and who meet certain eligibility criteria.

To obtain a permanent work visa in the U.S., an employer usually sponsors the foreign worker by filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the visa is approved and the foreign national enters the U.S., they typically receive a lawful permanent resident status, also known as a "green card." This status allows them to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely and provides a pathway to eventual citizenship, if desired.

The process in Sponsoring an employee for a work visa

Sponsoring an employee for a work visa in the United States involves several steps and processes. The most common type of work visa is the H-1B visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Here's a general outline of the steps involved in sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure that the position you're hiring for qualifies as a 'specialty occupation,' typically requiring a bachelor's degree or higher in a related field.

  2. Labor Condition Application (LCA): Before filing an H-1B petition, the employer must submit an LCA to the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA outlines details such as the wage offered, working conditions, and location of employment.

  3. File Form I-129: Complete and file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form includes information about the employer, the employee, the job description, and other relevant details.

  4. Include Required Documentation: Along with Form I-129, include all necessary supporting documents such as job offer letters, employment agreements, educational credentials, and any other relevant evidence.

  5. Pay the Applicable Fees: Pay the filing fees associated with the H-1B visa petition. These fees can vary and might include the base filing fee, ACWIA (American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act) fee, and premium processing fee (if applicable).

  6. Wait for USCIS Processing: USCIS will review the petition and supporting documents. Processing times can vary, and you can check the USCIS website for estimated processing times.

  7. Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions: If the H-1B visa falls under the annual cap (limited number of visas issued per year), your employee's petition may be subject to a lottery if petitions exceed available visas. If selected, USCIS will proceed with processing.

  8. Wait for Approval or Denial: USCIS will either approve or deny the H-1B petition. If approved, they will issue an approval notice, Form I-797.

  9. Consular Processing or Change of Status: If the employee is outside the U.S., they will need to attend a visa interview at a U.S. consulate. If the employee is already in the U.S. in a valid status, they might apply for a change of status without leaving the country.

  10. Employee's Arrival or Change of Status: Once the visa is approved, the employee can enter the U.S. on the specified start date of employment or change their status if they were already in the U.S.

Please note that the H-1B process is just one of several work visa options available in the U.S. The process can be complex, and it's advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure compliance with all regulations and requirements.

The process of sponsoring a foreign national can be complex, and not understanding the rules and regulations can result in both time and cost implications. If you are considering sponsoring a foreign worker in the United States, please don't hesitate to contact us at (305) 371-8846. We are dedicated to guiding you through this intricate process, ensuring all necessary paperwork is filed accurately. Our aim is to make the immigration process for your employees as smooth and stress-free as possible. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at or email us at

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone: 305-371-8846.


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