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.|
|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.|