ContractsCounsel Logo

How To Get A Work Visa

Updated: December 18, 2023
Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 10,572 reviews
No Upfront Payment Required, Pay Only If You Hire.
Home Blog How To Get A Work Visa

Jump to Section

Getting a work visa entails applying for a permit when seeking employment in a foreign country—a country where you are not recognized as a citizen by law. Typically, all countries, including the United States of America, demand a work visa for foreigners.

Using the US as an example, you need a specific type of work visa based on the kind of work you seek to do in the US. There are various types of work permits you can get – we have explained further about this later in the article.

Various countries have different work visa requirements. Hence, ensure you carefully study and familiarize yourself with the requirements of your desired country. You can do this by checking with the consulate or embassy of the country you plan to work.

For some countries, work visas are available by application, while in others, your employer needs to apply for the work permit on your behalf.

Here is an article that defines a work permit visa.

Steps to Get a Work Visa

Immigration can be complicated, especially if you do not know how to go about it. Below is a general step-by-step framework of how to get a work visa. To make sure you’re successful, your employer must be cooperative - otherwise, your efforts may be futile.

  1. Prepare for the Visa Application. You and your employer must fulfill three (3) major requirements before applying to get a work visa. Failure to meet these requirements might result in a failed work visa application. These requirements are:
    • Job Offer: You must have applied for and received a job offer in your destination country before applying for a work visa.
    • Employer Petition: After the job offer, your potential employer must also file a petition on your behalf. With the approved petition, you can’t start your work visa application process. However, an approved employer petition doesn’t guarantee the acceptance of your work visa application.
    • Department of Labor Approval: Certain types of visas require that your employer gets a DOL certificate of approval. Such work permit visa types include H-2B, H-2A, H1B1, and H-1B visas. This certificate proves that your employer truly has an open position suitable for a foreign worker.
  2. Undergo the Visa Application Process. After appropriate preparation, you can now start your work visa application process. You must follow the steps below to stand a greater chance of work permit approval:
    • Visa Application: You must completely fill out the form DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application. While filling, ensure the information provided is as accurate as possible to your best knowledge. Ensure your answers are in English, too.
    • Interview Schedule: After applying, you will schedule an interview at the country’s embassy in your country of residence. That is, if you are applying for a US work permit visa but you live in Ireland, you will schedule an interview at a US embassy in Ireland.
    • Interview Preparation: This is an essential prerequisite to acing the interview. You must pay a non-refundable application fee before the interview. Ensure your documents are complete and up-to-date. Documents needed include passport, visa application fee payment receipt, nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page, etc. Check the consulate or embassy website to know the required documents.
  3. Attend the Interview. This is typically the final stage of getting a work visa. The interview involves meeting with a consulate office to review your application and answer various questions. The surest way to ace your interview is to be honest and detailed with your answers. These consulate officers have been trained to identify deceptions quickly and would consequently deny you the work visa if you’re caught.

Here is an article on how to get a work visa.

Eligibility for Getting a Work Visa

As mentioned, various countries may have different requirements for giving a work visa. As a prospective worker, you must take your time to identify these requirements and fulfill them accordingly. These requirements can change over time, so you must be up-to-date with the information to help you put a stronger foot forward when applying.

Certain eligibility conditions are common when applying for a work visa. These conditions include:

  • You must have enough money to provide for yourself and your dependents. This is otherwise called proof of funds.
  • You must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, to return to your country immediately after your work is completed, and your stay duration is over in their country.
  • You must have no criminal record.
  • A certificate of good health is also required.
  • You won’t take another job apart from that which your employer allots to you.
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Jeremiah C.

96 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Scott S.

60 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Danny J.

7 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Jane C.

163 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Types of Work Visas

There are different types of work permits depending on the kind of work you want to do and your duration of stay, whether temporary or permanent. Understanding these work visa types is instrumental to having a successful work visa application process.

The types of work visas include:

  • Nonimmigrant Visas: These visas instruct that you leave the country immediately after your visa expiration, except if you choose to reapply for a date extension. Below are the various types of nonimmigrant visas:
    • H-1B: This is a very popular work visa issued by the US for foreigners with special occupations, such as computer engineering, computer science, and others.
    • L-1: This is a work visa available for foreigners seeking to work for businesses owned by foreigners but affiliated with US companies. To qualify for this visa, you must have worked in such an affiliated company for at least one (1) continuous year within the last three (3) years before application.
    • O-1: Do you have extraordinary skills within your field? Then consider applying for the O-1 work visa. A criterion often considered is being atop your field and known internationally or nationally for your achievements.
    • E-1: This is a work permit for persons looking to enter the US for trade activities. These people can apply as a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor. To do this, you must be willing to invest large sums of money into a US business and prove that you want to upscale your investment.

    Other nonimmigrant work visas you can get are the TN work visa, the Australian professional specialty visa, and the seasonal agricultural work visa.

  • Immigrant Visas: Immigrant visas are offered to foreigners who plan to permanently work and live in the United States. Types of immigrant visas are:
    • EB-1: Extraordinary Ability
    • EB-1C: Multinational Executive or Manager
    • EB-2: Advanced Degree

Here is an article on types of work visas.

Processing Time to Get a Work Visa

It’s nearly impossible to predict the duration of a visa application process accurately. It’s an individual process that depends on various factors, including the applicants themselves.

Some applications may be delayed because of an applicant’s failure to follow certain instructions, or for further administrative processing, etc. Nonetheless, on average, it takes about 5-7 months to get a work visa.

Final Thoughts on How to Get a Work Visa

If you are looking to get free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, you can Click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

Need to apply for a work visa?

Create a free project posting

Meet some of our Lawyers

Andrew A. on ContractsCounsel
View Andrew
4.8 (8)
Member Since:
June 1, 2023

Andrew A.

Managing Partner
Free Consultation
Charlotte NC and SF CA
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Thomas Jefferson School of Law

I am the Managing Partner of Adams Global Immigration, a Business Immigration Law firm focusing on nonimmigrant visa processing (H-1B, L-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, TN, etc.) and immigrant visa processing (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, PERM, NIW, etc.). I have many years of business immigration experience, including legal work at Jackson and Hertogs, Fragomen, E&M Mayock, and as a Freelance Immigration Specialist. My specialization includes complicated Request for Evidence responses and high-volume nonimmigrant visa preparation. I can provide legal advice regarding employment visa preparation, unique international travel issues, and various other complex immigration matters. Prior to joining Jackson & Hertogs in 2018, I served as a Certified Law Clerk with the San Diego Public Defender office through Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL). In this role, I argued over 40 hearings in state court for criminal juvenile matters, adult misdemeanors, and adult felonies. I subsequently joined the TJSL Removal Defense clinic, wherein I argued and won a full asylum trial in Federal Court for a Moroccan refugee fleeing severe LGBTQ persecution.

Jennifer W. on ContractsCounsel
View Jennifer
5.0 (3)
Member Since:
May 24, 2023

Jennifer W.

Immigration Attorney
Free Consultation
New York
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT
Quinnipiac University Law School

I am an Immigration attorney specializing in business, corporate, and family immigration. I have served the immigrant (EB1A/B/C, NIWs, and PERM) and non immigrant (H, L, O, TN, E) needs for individuals, families, start-up companies, and some of the largest financial and commercial companies. I have experience with adjustment of status and consular processing. Please let me know how I can serve your immigration needs.

Brian W. on ContractsCounsel
View Brian
5.0 (7)
Member Since:
May 18, 2023

Brian W.

Business & Immigration Attorney
Free Consultation
Texas or Alabama
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in AL
Texas Southern University

As a licensed AL lawyer with over 7 years of experience in the legal field, I have spent more than 15 years working in the business and finance sector. I am deeply passionate about immigration, contracts, & my expertise spans a wide range of projects. From handling ICOs & IPOs to navigating VCs, SaaS, OnlyFans, Wholesaler & Manufacturing Agreements, Prenups, Movie Finance, M & As, Visas, Green Cards and more. I have a comprehensive understanding of various contractual needs. Whatever your contract requirements may be, feel free to reach out to me—I can craft or work on any contract with precision and expertise.

Christina M. on ContractsCounsel
View Christina
5.0 (9)
Member Since:
June 22, 2023

Christina M.

Legal Consultant
Free Consultation
Las Vegas, NV
17 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NV
UNLV Boyd School of Law

I am a regulatory transactional attorney with 16 years of in-house experience, largely in the gaming/gambling industry. I have negotiated various types and sizes of contracts from janitorial services for a small commercial building to multi-million dollar technology transactions. I also have a strong regulatory background that strengthens my ability to navigate contracts that are subject to stringent regulations.

John B. on ContractsCounsel
View John
Member Since:
June 21, 2023

John B.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Indianapolis, IN
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL, IN
University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

I am an attorney with over 13 years experience licensed in both Illinois and Indiana. I spent the early part of my career as a civil litigation attorney. Eventually, I moved into an in-house role, specifically as general counsel, to help companies avoid the pains of litigation. In doing so, I gained significant experience in executive leadership, corporate governance, risk management and cybersecurity/privacy. I bring this wealth of experience to my client engagements to not only resolve the immediate issue, but help implement lasting improvements in practices to avoid similar problems going forward.

Daniel W. on ContractsCounsel
View Daniel
Member Since:
June 22, 2023

Daniel W.

Free Consultation
New York
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY

I am a Spanish-fluent corporate and commercial real estate attorney and broker licensed in New York and New Jersey. My pragmatic approach towards conflict resolution allows me to provide valuable advice to clients on avoiding issues of liability through effective risk management and strategic allocation of resources. I counsel businesses, developers, owners and investors on residential/commercial real estate and corporate transactions involving the acquisition, finance, development, leasing and disposition of all asset classes. In addition, I advise on joint venture partnerships and the negotiation, structure and drafting of operating agreements. Throughout my successful practice, I have held in-house counsel positions at large corporations, including JPMorgan Chase and Duane Reade, and had the privilege of working for the Department of Justice where I honed expertise in all aspects of mortgage-backed securities.

Christine T. on ContractsCounsel
View Christine
Member Since:
July 17, 2023

Christine T.

Free Consultation
Albany, NY
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, NJ, NY
UCLA School of Law

Christine E. Taylor focuses her practice in the areas of Hospitality Law, Business Law, Labor and Employment Law, Real Estate Law, Administrative Law, Estate Law and Litigation. Ms. Taylor grew up within the campground industry, working at parks in both the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Franchise and the Kampgrounds of America Franchise. Armed with two decades of experience, Ms. Taylor is quick to point out the legal issues that apply to outdoor hospitality business owners. She has provided a wide variety of services to campgrounds, RV Parks, and glamping venues, including seasonal licenses, waivers, employment contracts, real estate services and even litigation services as needed.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Need to apply for a work visa?

Create a free project posting
See All Immigration Lawyers
Learn About Contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

Need to apply for a work visa?

Create a free project posting

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city