A Brief Overview of Temporary Work Visas

Are you looking for a way to enter the United States for the purpose of employment? Temporary work visas grant you nonimmigrant status, allowing you to work in the US on a temporary basis. You typically need to have your prospective employer sponsor you, or file a petition on your behalf. Take a look at some of the main temporary visa classifications to understand the wealth of options available to you.

E-1 and E-2

Both of these classifications apply to nationals of a country which maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. If you live in one of these treaty countries, you may be able to apply for this visa either as a trader seeking to trade in the US on your own behalf (E-1), or as an investor who is investing a large amount of capital in a US enterprise (E2).


This visa covers workers in a “specialty occupation” that requires a high level of education, specialized knowledge, and the ability to perform complex duties. You can apply as a Free Trade Agreement worker from Chile or Singapore (H-1B1); as someone working on a Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development project or Co-production project (H-1B2); or as a distinguished fashion model (H-1B3).

H-2A and H-2B

Both of these visa types apply to temporary or seasonal work, but one covers agricultural work (H-2A) while the other covers non-agricultural work (H-2B). To qualify, you must be a national of a limited number of designated countries, and your work must be in the interest of the United States.

L-1A and L-1B

The L visas can be issued to intracompany transferees, or employees who wish to work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of their current employer’s company. You must work in a managerial or executive position (L-1A) or one that requires specialized knowledge (L-1B).


To qualify for the O visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or distinguish your work in the motion picture or television fields with sustained national or international acclaim. If such a person requires an assistant, they can apply for the O-2 visa.


The Q visa is reserved for those who want to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The program’s purpose must include practical training, employment, and sharing the history, culture, and traditions of the applicant’s home country.

P-1A and P-1B

Both of these visa types grant nonimmigrant status to people who are internationally recognized for their work, but only if they are athletes (P-1A) or entertainers and members of entertainment groups (P-1B).


Religious workers can apply for this visa. They can only qualify if their religion is recognized in the United States, if they maintain a minimum number of hours, and if the work itself is religious in nature.

If you’re not sure about where you fit in as a temporary worker, or if you’re confused about the finer details, don’t worry. You can always retain knowledgeable legal counsel to guide you on the path to nonimmigrant status. Call Sánchez-Roig Law Firm, P.A. to get all the preparation you need for a successful visa application.