HR Visa Guide

Here, we provide a table intended to be used as a quick reference guide for H.R. departments looking for an overview of visa options.

This table is not meant to be a replacement for quality legal advice. We advise always speaking with a lawyer in regards to changes in employment or immigration status.


Visa Category Accompanying Employment Authorization Document Purpose Allows Restrictions
 H-1B I-797A or I-94 card Non-immigrant visa for temporary work (3 years) with minimum requirement of Bachelor's degree.  Dual Intent. Can apply for green card while on H-1B; can renew H-1B in 3-year increments.  Material changes such as job location or employer information may require a new petition. Can only be on H-1B for up to six years unless green card application is pending.
 H-1B based on a Conrad waiver  I-797  Same as above, but for physicians subject to J-1 home residency requirement.  Physician can stay in U.S. and continue to work. Place of work must be in a medically underserved area, and physician must commit to 3 years in H-1B status.
 O-1  I-797A or I-94 card  Non-immigrant visa for aliens of extraordinary ability in arts, science, business, or athletics Dual intent. Can apply for green card while on O-1. No limit to one-year extensions.  Must show extraordinary ability in the field of endeavor, i.e. internationally renowned awards or prizes, original contributions to the field, etc.
TN I-94 card  Non-immigrant visa for Canadian & Mexican citizens Can renew indefinitely in three-year increments Limited qualifying occupations. Can be revoked at the border. Does not allow dual intent; risky to apply for green card in TN status.
 J-1  DS-2019  Visa for exchange visitors to promote cultural exchange.  Can be used for work or school. Can stay for duration of the program.  Must be sponsored by government program or private sponsor. Often is subject to two-year home residency requirement. No dual intent allowed.
 F-1 I-20 Full-time student visa Attendance at an academic institution. Limits on work unless granted CPT or OPT.
  EAD card  Employment authorization for foreign nationals, refugees, etc. Unrestricted work for any employer. Only available for certain foreign nationals - usually those with a green card case pending or in special programs.


endorsed I-20ID

 Curricular Practical Training  Must be currently attending an academic institution as a full-time student. Only available while in school. Combined CPT & OPT can not exceed 12 months in total; training must be part of curriculum.
  OPT card  Optional Practical Training  Post-graduation training to get "practical training" in field of study.  Only available for 12 months if CPT not used. Must be certified by advisor that work is relevant to degree.


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