Step 1: Determine which U.S. work visa you should apply for.
There are several types of U.S. work visas, the most popular being H1-B, H2-B, H-3, J-1, L-1, O-1 and R-1. Your occupation and length of stay will determine which visa you should apply for.
Step 2: Determine if you are eligible for the visa.
The eligibility requirements for each work visa type are different. Generally, you will be required to have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer to be eligible. In the case of the J-1 exchange visa, you will have to be enrolled in a qualifying program.
Step 3: Have a U.S. employer file a petition with USCIS on your behalf.
If applying for a nonimmigrant work visa, a U.S. employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker before you can apply for a visa. The J-1 visa does not require this form.
Step 4: Complete a visa application with the U.S. Department of State.
If applying for a nonimmigrant work visa, complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
Step 5: Schedule an interview with a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live.
If you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79, you are not required to have an interview.
Step 6: Collect required documents for your visa interview.
You will be required to bring the following documents to your visa interview:
A passport that is valid for at least six months past your planned date of departure
The confirmation page from your Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before the interview
The U.S. embassy or consulate where your interview will take place may request you provide additional documentation, such as evidence of:
The purpose of your trip
Your intent to leave the U.S. after your trip
Your ability to pay all the costs of your trip
Step 7: Attend the visa interview.
The visa interview will take place at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. You will be interviewed by a consular officer who will determine if you are qualified to receive a visa. He or she will review your documentation and visa application, ask you questions about your personal history and the reason for your trip to the U.S.
If the consular officer approves you for a visa, he or she will take your passport and have a visa placed in it. When your passport with visa is ready, you will notified to pick it up or it will be sent to you.
Step 8: Pay the visa issuance fee.
Depending on your nationality, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee if your visa is approved