us work visa

USA Work Visa for Indians - Definitive Guide

Known as the ‘Land of opportunities’ thanks to the ever-expanding opportunities for work, business, and other purposes, the United States of America is a dream destination. However, to enter the country for work, you will need a non-immigrant type of the USA work visa for Indian citizens.

What is US Work Visa?

us work visa

The USA work permits are endorsements that allow entry into the country for people who are employed in an organization in the country. Only a few nationalities can enter the country without a visa. Since Indians are not among them, a work visa is mandatory. There are various types of entry permits issued for work by the US Embassy.

US Work Visa Categories

Based on the type of work you will be performing, the work permits can be classified into the following -

  • Journalist & Media (I) - This category allows journalists and other media workers to enter the US to perform their related work. However, the organization they work for must be based outside the US.
  • Exchange visitor (J1) - This permit is issued for people who are entering the US on an exchange program. Apart from work, this can be obtained for study exchange programs as well.
  • Professional Job Visa (H1-B) - This is the most issued category, and is granted for people taking part in professional work. The H1B visa USA will require to hold at least a Bachelor's degree.
  • Intra-company transfer (L1) - The L1 visa USA is issued to people who are travelling to the US to work in a subsidiary, branch, affiliate, or parent company of a company situated outside the US.
  • Artists/Entertainers/Athletes (P) - This is granted for artists, entertainers, or athletes travelling to the US to take part in their work or project.

Eligibility for USA Work Visa

In order to be able to apply for the work visa for USA, you must meet the following eligibility criteria.

  • You must apply for a visa from India. 
  • You must have confirmed employment in the US
    1. You need to have a job and a letter from the organisation confirming your employment to be able to apply for the work category. 
    2. You will need an I-129 and I-797 form from your employer. 
    3. Your employer will need to possess a Labour certification approval from the Department of Labour in the US. 
  • You should meet the health requirements
    1. You must be healthy enough to travel to the US.
    2. You must be within the age limit to be able to apply for a work permit.
  • You should meet the character requirements
    1. You must be of good character and have genuine intentions behind working in the US.

How to Apply for US Work Visa?

The application for the USA work visa from India is a lengthy and complicated process. As a result, it is recommended that you use the services of a travel agency to apply for it. Now, before starting your application, you must ensure that you are eligible to travel for the specific work category. You can then make the application as follows - 

  1. Make sure that you have all the documents required for the permit.
  2. Visit the US Department of State Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, and fill in your details in the DS-160 form. Make a note of the DS-160 form barcode as you will need it for the rest of the procedure.
  3. Proceed to pay the application fees. Make a note of the receipt number.
  4. Log on to your account and proceed to book your appointments. You will have to book 2 appointments. The first one is for the biometric submission at one of the five VACs, and the second one is for your interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.
  5. On the day of your first appointment, visit your VAC along with a passport, appointment confirmation page, documents, and a DS-160 confirmation page. You will be subjected to a fingerprint scan, and a digital photo will be taken.
  6. For your visa interview, you will have to visit the embassy or consulate along with a valid passport, documents, appointment confirmation page, and the VAC stamped DS-160 page. 

Note that the application form has to be filled correctly. The documents that are submitted have to be valid and legitimate. Fake or invalid documents can get your application rejected. A visa denial is an important issue and can deem you ineligible for other visas.

Documents Required for US Work Visa

As per the USA work visa requirements from India, you will need the following documents for the application at the time of your interview - 

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended travel.
  • Completed DS-160 application form.  
  • Photos as per the specifications.
  • Copy of I-129 and I-797 forms.
  • Educational documents. 
  • Original employment contract. 
  • Your Curriculum Vitae.
  • Employment offer letter.
  • Experience certificate.

Note that based on the exact type of the work permit, you will require additional documents.

Photo Specification of US Work Visa

The USA work visa photo requirements state that the photographs submitted must meet the following specifications -

photo specifications for usa visa

  • Dimensions:  50mm X 50mm
  • Colour: Coloured
  • Recently taken
  • Background: plain white
  • Must have 70% face coverage
  • Facial expression: neutral
  • Eyes directed towards the camera and wide open 
  • Glasses: allowed for medical reasons only
  • Uniforms are not permitted
  • Headgears: allowed only for religious reasons
  • Facial hair is permitted.

Processing Time of USA Work Visa

The work visas are normally processed within 7-10 working days. However, these are almost certain to vary based on the type of the visa, any additional procedures required, the validity of the permit, the volume of applications at the specific embassy or consulate, and so on. Apart from this, you will have to take into account the high wait time for scheduling an interview. It is therefore advised to apply as early as possible.

US Work Visa Fees

The total cost depends on several aspects such as biometric fees, service charges, etc. The fees also can be changed by the embassy or consulate without any prior notice and as a result, ensure that you check the exact amount before starting your application.

Entry Stay Duration Validity Fees
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0
Multiple entry Normal 2 years 2 years 15960.0

After Submission

Once you have submitted your application, your application will be processed by the embassy. Note that once submitted, you will not be able to modify the application. As a result, ensure that you do not make any mistakes while making the application.

The visa fee is non-refundable. As a result, even if your application is rejected, you will not receive a refund. Therefore, it is advised to make your application through a reputed travel agency.

How to check US Work Visa status?

While you are waiting for an answer, you can check your visa status. This can be done in multiple ways. You can do this by visiting the CEAC website and using the interview location, and DS-160 form number to view it. Or, you can email at ‘’ with your passport number.

When you have this visa

On successfully obtaining your work visa, you must keep in mind the following few points to ensure that you have a hassle-free journey -

  • Before you travel - 
    1. Note the validity, stay duration, and the number of entries mentioned on your visa. You must not stay in the country beyond this period.
    2. Carry all your travel documents before you travel to the country. 
  • At the border
    1. You must show your passport with the visa to the immigration officer at the port of entry. Your entry stamp will be placed on the passport.
    2. You may be asked to show the copy of the other documents submitted as part of your application.
    3. You may be asked about the basic details of your visit. Ensure that you answer honestly and without hesitance.
    4. Note that the US border control officials have the right to refuse you entry if you don’t meet the requirements. The visa alone does not guarantee you entry into the country.
  • When you enter the USA
    1. You must register with your employer upon arrival in the US.
    2. You will be able to extend the visa depending upon the category.
    3. You may bring your spouse or children (children below 21) on dependent visas according to the type of work permit you possess.
    4. You must respect the culture and customs of the country, as well as abide by the immigration laws during your stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Extend My American Work Visa?

You are allowed to extend the US work entry visas according to the individual type. For this, you will have to visit the immigration department in the US and apply for an extension. Although it is legally possible to get an extension, the chances of it getting approved depend on the decision of the department. You will also need to submit the documents you have submitted for getting the permit.

After Expiring My US Work visa, How Long Can I Stay?

Once your work permit has expired, you are not allowed to stay back in the country for any longer. You are expected to leave the country before your permit expires. However, you may opt for an extension. Staying back in the country after expiry, without a valid extension, is considered as an offence and can lead to fines and maybe even deportation. You will also become ineligible to apply for other US visas in the future.

What is the Medical Test for the US work visa?

As per the requirements by the US embassy, there are no mandatory medical test requirements for the US work permit. In either case, for your own safety, and of those living in the US, it is suggested that you get medical check-ups done before travelling to a foreign country.

How Much Bank Balance is Required to Get a work visa for US?

As the permit is of work category, there is no requirement of funds. However, for your own safety, it is suggested to possess enough funds to support your stay until you take up the job.

How many months before the trip should I apply for a US Work Visa?

Even though the processing time for the US work category is around 7-10 working days, it can take much longer depending on several factors. In fact, it can even take longer to get you an available appointment slot. As a result, you must apply well in advance. As per the recommendation, it is advised that you apply at least 2 months before your intended travel date.


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