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U.S. Department of State 
95/08/01 Visas:  Temporary Workers 
Bureau of Consular Affairs 
 
 
 
                                    TEMPORARY WORKERS 
 
 
CLASSIFICATIONS 
 
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides several categories of 
nonimmigrant visas for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the 
United States.  There are annual numerical limits on some 
classifications which are shown in parentheses.  
 
H-1A classification applies to registered nurses; 
 
H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation which 
requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly 
specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of 
higher education.  This classification requires a labor attestation 
issued by the Secretary of Labor (65,000).  This classification also 
applies to Government-to-Government research and development, or 
coproduction projects administered by the Department of Defense (100); 
 
H-2A classification applies to temporary or seasonal agricultural 
workers; 
 
H-2B classification applies to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural 
workers.  This classification requires a temporary labor certification 
issued by the Secretary of Labor (66,000); 
 
H-3 classification applies to trainees other than medical or academic.  
This classification also applies to practical training in the education 
of handicapped children (50); 
 
L classification applies to intracompany transferees who, within the 
three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one 
year, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or 
subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S.  in a managerial, 
executive, or specialized knowledge capacity; 
 
O-1 classification applies to persons who have extraordinary ability in 
the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary 
achievements in the motion picture and television field; 
 
O-2 classification applies to persons accompanying an O-1 alien to 
assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or 
performance; 
 
P-1 classification applies to individual or team athletes, or members of 
an entertainment group that are internationally recognized (25,000); 
 
P-2 classification applies to artists or entertainers who will perform 
under a reciprocal exchange program; 
 
P-3 classification applies to artists or entertainers who perform under 
a program that is culturally unique (same as P-1);  and 
 
Q-1 classification applies to participants in an international cultural 
exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, 
employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of 
the alien's home country. 
 
 
PETITIONS 
 
In order to be considered as a nonimmigrant under the above 
classifications the applicant's prospective employer or agent must file 
Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the United States 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).  Once approved, the 
employer or agent is sent a notice of approval, Form I-797.  It should 
be noted that the approval of a petition shall not guarantee visa 
issuance to an applicant found to be ineligible under provisions of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act. 
 
 
VISA INELIGIBILITY/WAIVER 
 
The nonimmigrant visa application Form OF-156 lists classes of persons 
who are ineligible under U.S. law to receive visas.  In some instances 
an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly 
classifiable as a temporary worker, may apply for a waiver of 
ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved. 
 
 
APPLYING FOR  THE  VISA 
 
Applicants for temporary work visas should generally apply at the 
American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of 
permanent residence.  Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. 
consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa 
outside the country of permanent residence. 
 
Required Documentation 
 
Each applicant for a temporary worker visa must submit: 
 
1)  An application Form OF-156, completed and signed.  Blank forms are 
available without charge at all U.S. consular offices; 
 
2)  A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity 
date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay 
in the United States.  If more than one person is included in the 
passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application; 
 
3)  One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm) for each applicant 
aged 16 and older, showing full face, without head covering, against a 
light background;  and 
 
4)  A notice of approval, Form I-797. 
 
Other Documentation 
 
With the exception of the H-1 and L-1, applicants may also need to show 
proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which 
they have no intention of abandoning.  It is impossible to specify the 
exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary 
greatly. 
 
U.S.  PORT OF ENTRY 
 
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the 
United States.  The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) 
has authority to deny admission.  Also, the period for which the bearer 
of a temporary work visa is authorized to remain in the United States is 
determined by the INS, not the consular officer.  At the port of entry, 
an INS official validates Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which 
notes the length of stay permitted.  Those temporary workers who wish to 
stay beyond the time indicated on their Form I-94 must  contact  the  
INS  to  request  Form I-539, Application to Extend Status.  The 
decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely 
by the INS. 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 
 
Family Members 
 
With the exception of "Q-1 Cultural Exchange Visitors," the spouse and 
unmarried, minor children of an applicant under any of the above 
classifications may also be classified as nonimmigrants in order to 
accompany or join the principal applicant.  A person who has received a 
visa as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept 
employment in the United States.  The principal applicant must be able 
to show that he or she will be able to support his or her family in the 
United States. 
 
Time Limits 
 
All of the above classifications have fixed time limits in which the 
alien may perform services in the United States. In some cases those 
time limits may be extended by the INS in order to permit the completion 
of the services.  Thereafter, the alien must remain abroad for a fixed 
period of time before being readmitted as a temporary worker under any 
classification.  The INS will notify the petitioner on Form I-797 
whenever a visa petition, an extension of a visa petition, or an 
extension of stay is approved under any of the above classifications.  
The beneficiary may use a copy of Form I-797 to apply for a new or 
revalidated visa during the validity period of the petition, and must 
retain a copy of the Form I-797 to present whenever reentering the 
United States during the validity period of the petition.  The approval 
of a permanent labor certification or the filing of a preference 
petition for an alien under the H-1 or L classifications shall not be a 
basis for denying a visa. 
 
FURTHER INQUIRIES 
 
Questions about petitioning procedures, qualifications for various 
classifications, and conditions and limitations on employment should be 
made by the prospective employer or agent in the United States to the 
nearest INS office.  Questions on the visa application to the American 
consular official should be addressed to the appropriate consular office 
abroad by the applicant. 
 
 
 
 
   UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                        PUBLICATION 10076 
                     Bureau of Consular Affairs 
                          Visa Services Directorate 
                               August  1995 
 
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