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USA Work Visa for Indians

Work Visa USA is an official authorization that grants permission to its holders to enter the United States of America for employment. All non-American citizens need a valid work visa that allows them to work in the United States. Whether a foreigner is being transferred by his employer to America or wants to work for a US-based company, he would require this visa.

USA Work visa for Indians is issued by the Consular Department of the Embassy and Consulates of the United States of America. This visa only provides temporary stay to its holder in the US and thus, is a type of non-immigrant US visa.

Indian citizens need to mandatorily obtain a valid work visa USA to be able to work lawfully in the United States of America. Besides, they are also advised to get their travel to the United States insured with a travel insurance USA plan so that they can effectively tackle any exigencies faced during the journey.

Types of USA Work Visa for Indians

The United States has one of the most developed economies in the world. As a result, people from all over the world travel to the US to take up employment. To differentiate the foreigners as per the type of work they will be doing in the United States, the country broadly offers three types of USA work visa for Indians:

  • Temporary Employment Visa
  • Exchange Visitor Visa
  • Media Visa

Here is a detailed description of all types of work visas offered by the United States.

Temporary Employment Visa

A Temporary Employment visa is a type of visa that can be applied by people who will be working in the United States of a temporary or fixed period of time. The employers of the applicants under this category need to first file a petition with the USCIS or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Only after the petition is approved, the applicant can apply for this visa.

This type of USA work visa for Indians are divided into 10 categories. They are:

  • H-1B Visa – This type of visa is meant for people who want to work in a specialized occupation in the US with highly specialized knowledge and skills. Applicants of H-1B visa usually need a higher degree of education or equivalent. It includes people involved in inter-government research & development, fashion models of high ability & merit and co-production projects controlled by the US Department of Défense.
  • H-2A Visa – This visa can be applied by people who will be engaged in seasonal or temporary agricultural work in the US. H-2A visa is issued only to citizens of certain countries only as per the interest of the United States.
  • H-2B Visa – This visa category is designed for foreign nationals who will be involved in seasonal or temporary work in the US that are not in the agricultural sector.
  • H-3 Visa – The H-3 visa is meant for people who want to travel to the United States to obtain specialized training, which is not available in India. It cannot be applied by people who wish to obtain academic or graduate medical training in the US. Moreover, this type of work visa USA can also be applied by people who will be a part of the practical training program involved in imparting education to children with physical, emotional or mental disabilities.
  • L Visa – This type of visa has been designed for intracompany transferees to the United States. It can be applied by people who would be working at the US branch/ affiliate/ subsidiary or parent of his current employer at an executive/ managerial position or a position that requires specialized knowledge. L visa can only be applied if the applicant has been working with the same employer for at least one year continuously in the last three years.
  • O Visa – The O visa is meant for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability or achievements in the field of education, arts, science, athletics or business, who want to work in the US under their area of expertise. It can also be applied by people who have been recognized for extraordinary achievements in films or television through sustained national & overseas acclaim. People who provide essential services to such recognized individuals can also apply for this type of USA work visa for Indians.
  • P-1 Visa – This visa can be applied by a non-American athlete or member of an entertainment group who wants to perform at a specific athletic event/ competition held in the US. Applicants of this visa should be recognized internationally for their sustained performance. Moreover, people providing support service to such individuals can also apply for this visa.
  • P-2 Visa – This type of visa can be applied by foreign artists or entertainment group who need to perform as part of a reciprocal exchange program between the US-based organisation and an organization from another country. The support staff providing essential services to such artists can also apply for this work visa offered by the USA.
  • P-3 Visa – This visa has been designed for foreign artists or entertainment groups who will be performing or teaching in the United States under a program i.e. traditionally or culturally ethnic or involves musical, artistic or theatrical performances. Essential services staff of the artists can also apply for this visa.
  • Q-1 Visa – The Q-1 visa is meant for foreign nationals who would be participating in an international cultural exchange program held in the United States to receive practical training, work or to share Indian culture, history and traditions.

Exchange Visitor Visa

An Exchange Visitor visa is meant for foreign nationals who have been qualified to participate in exchange visitor programs to be held in the United States of America. This visa falls under the ‘J’ category of the US visa.

Applicants of this visa need to first get accepted under an exchange visitor program through a designated US-based sponsoring organization. After receiving acceptance, they have to get registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Some of the categories under exchange visitors include:

  • Camp counsellors
  • Interns
  • Government visitors
  • Physicians
  • Short-term scholars
  • Students
  • International visitors
  • Teachers
  • Professor & research scholars
  • Summer work travels
  • Trainees
  • Au pair and EduCare
  • Specialists
  • Secondary School Students
  • College/ University Students

Media Visa

The Media visa can be applied by non-American citizens who are members of the foreign media and wants to temporarily engage in informational & educational media activities in the US that are essential for the functioning of the foreign media. This may include media persons from the press, film, radio, print industries, etc. This type of work visa falls under the ‘I’ category of the US visa.

Applicants should be planning to engage in media activities that involve news gathering and reporting of current events. Moreover, the foreign media with whom the applicant is employed should have its home office outside the United States of America.

Validity of USA Work Visa for Indians

The United States offers a wide variety of work visas that come with different validities. Take a look at the table given below to know about the validity of various USA work visa for Indians:

Types of Work Visa USA Visa Validity
(In Months)
Number of Entries
Temporary Employment Visa H-1B Visa* 35 Multiple
H-2A Visa* N/A N/A
H-2B Visa* N/A N/A
H-3 Visa* 60 Multiple
L Visa 35 Multiple
O Visa* 60 Multiple
P-1 Visa* 60 Multiple
P-2 Visa* 60 Multiple
P-3 Visa* 60 Multiple
Q-1 Visa* 15 Multiple
Exchange Visitor Visa
(J Visa)
60 Multiple
Media Visa
(I visa)
60 Multiple

* Please note that the validity of these visa categories cannot be more than the number of months mentioned in the table or the validity of the approved petition, whichever is less.

How to Apply for USA Work Visa for Indians?

Indian citizens who want to work in the United States of America can apply for a work visa USA online. The application procedure is very simple and convenient. Following are the steps involved in applying for a USA work visa for Indians online.

Apply for a USA Work Visa for Indians Online:

  • Visit the official website of the US Department of CEAC
  • Select ‘DS-160, Online Non-immigrant visa application’ under the non-immigrant category
  • Choose your location in India from where you’ll be applying for the visa and enter the code shown on the screen
  • Go to ‘Start an application’ option to begin your application procedure
  • Make a note of your Application ID and create a security question for your application
  • Enter all the required details in your visa application form
  • Submit the filled-in form
  • Make payment for your MRV or Machine Readable Visa application fee
  • Once the DS-160 form confirmation page appears, take a print out of it
  • Visit the official website of ‘US Visa Information Services in India’
  • Create your profile and schedule your appointment with the nearest US Visa Application Centre (VAC) and US Embassy or Consulate.
  • Choose a location to pick up your passport after you’ve been granted with the work visa USA
  • Visit the VAC as per your appointment and give your biometric details, such as photograph and fingerprints, to the officials
  • Attend your visa interview as per your appointment at the US Embassy/ Consulate along with all the supporting documents
  • People with successful interviews will get their work visa
  • Pick up your passport from the designated pick-up location after the visa has been granted

Please note that the applicants of H and L visa categories need to get approved petitions from the Department of Homeland Security of the United States before scheduling their visa interviews.

Applicants above the age of 80 years of age are not required to attend a visa interview to get their USA work visa for Indians. Make sure to fix your VAC appointment at least a day before your visa interview at the US Embassy/ Consulate. You can also fix the VAC appointments by calling on their call centre numbers.

Moreover, applicants of work visa USA should complete their visa application form within 30 days as they won’t be able to retrieve their saved application thereafter.

Documents Required to Apply for USA Work Visa for Indians

Each work visa USA applicant needs to carry certain documents with him at the time of their visa interview at the US Embassy/ Consulate. To know the list of documents that you need to carry as per the visa category that you are applying for, refer to the table given below:

Types of Work Visa USA Documents Required
Temporary Employment Visa
  • A passport with at least six months more validity than the applicant’s stay in the United States
  • Confirmation page of the DS-160 form
  • Payment receipt of MRV application fee
  • Receipt number of the approved petition from the USCIS
  • Proof of applicant’s ties with India, such as his address proof in India, family relationships and long-term plans
  • Evidence showcasing the applicant’s financial situation
Exchange Visitor Visa (J Visa)
  • A passport with at least six months more validity than the applicant’s stay in the United States
  • Confirmation page of the DS-160 form
  • Payment receipt of MRV application fee
  • SEVIS-generated DS-2019 form or the Certificate of eligibility for the status of an exchange visitor
  • DS-7002 form showcasing the internship/ training plans of the applicant (for J-1 applicants under intern and trainee categories)
  • Document to support the applicant’s purpose of travelling to the US, such as proof of employment and family relationship
  • Evidence showing the applicant’s financial ability to pay for the travel (if not sponsored)
Media Visa (I visa)
  • A passport with at least six months more validity than the applicant’s stay in the United States
  • Confirmation page of the DS-160 form
  • Payment receipt of MRV application fee
  • Employment contract with a media organization in India
  • Credentials issued by a designated professional journalistic association to the applicant, who is working with an independent production company

Work Visa USA Fees

All applicants of work visa USA are required to pay a Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee to complete their visa application procedure. Only after they pay their MRV application fee, they will be able to schedule an appointment with the Visa Application Centre (VAC) and the US Embassy/ Consulate.

At present, the MRV application fee for all category of Temporary Employment visa is USD 190. Applicants of Exchange Visitor J visa and Media I visa have to pay an MRV application fee of USD 160. However, if the exchange visitor visa applicant will be participating in cultural and educational exchange programs sponsored by the US Government, then they don’t need to pay any visa fees.

Moreover, applicants of the Exchange Visitor Program may also be required to pay an additional fee known as the SEVIS fee or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

The MRV application fee can be paid both online and offline. Online MRV fee payment can be made through NEFT and IMPS. On the other hand, offline payment of MRV application fee can be made via cash at a nearby branch of Citibank and AXIS Bank.

How to Track Status of USA Work Visa for Indians?

The US Embassy & Consulates may take up a few days to process your work visa USA applications. During this time, it is ideal for applicants to keep a track of the progress of their visa application and get to know about any delay on time. To check the status of your USA work visa for Indians, follow the steps given below:

  • Visit the official website of Consular Electronic Application Centre of the United States
  • Go to the non-immigrant category
  • Select ‘Check my visa application status’ option
  • Choose the location where you’ve applied in India
  • Enter your Case Number or the Application ID
  • Fill in the code shown on the screen and click on ‘submit’
  • You will be able to view the current status of your visa application

Also, get all the details on other types of US visa for Indians:

USA student visa

US tourist visa