Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers

Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers

In order for you to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily in the United States your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS1.   The main nonimmigrant temporary worker classifications are listed in the table below. For more information about the filing requirements for particular nonimmigrant classifications, see the specific classification links under “Temporary Workers” to the left.

Spouses and Children Seeking Dependent Nonimmigrant Classification

Spouses and children who qualify for dependant nonimmigrant classification of a temporary worker and who are outside of the United States should apply directly at a U.S. consulate for a visa.
Spouses and children requesting a change of status or extension of stay in a dependent nonimmigrant classification must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  Please see the Form I-539 instructions for further information on filing procedures for this application.

Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Worker Classification
Nonimmigrant Classification for a Temporary Worker Description Nonimmigrant Classification for Dependant Spouses and Children of a Temporary Worker
E-1 Treaty traders and qualified employees. E-13
E-2 Treaty investors and qualified employees. E-23
E-2C Long-term foreign investors in the CNMI E-2C
E-3 Certain “specialty occupation” professionals from Australia. E-33
H-1B Workers in a specialty occupation and the following sub-classifications: 

H-1B1 – Free Trade Agreement workers in a specialty occupation from Chile and Singapore.
H-1B2 – Specialty occupations related to Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development projects or Co-production projects.
H-1B3 – Fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

H-1C2 Registered nurses working in a health professional shortage area as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. H-4
H-2A Temporary or seasonal agricultural workers. H-4
H-2B Temporary non-agricultural workers. H-4
H-3 Trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children. H-4
I Representatives of foreign press, radio, film or other foreign information media. I 


L-1A Intracompany transferees in managerial or executive positions. L-23
L-1B Intracompany transferees in positions utilizing specialized knowledge. L-23
O-1 Persons with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and motion picture or TV production. O-3
O-2 Persons accompanying solely to assist an O-1 nonimmigrant. O-3
P-1A Internationally recognized athletes. P-4
P-1B Internationally recognized entertainers or members of internationally recognized entertainment groups. P-4
P-2 Individual performer or part of a group entering to perform under a reciprocal exchange program. P-4
P-3 Artists or entertainers, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique. P-4
Q-1 Persons participating in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country. Not Applicable4 


R-1 Religious workers. R-2
TN North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) temporary professionals from Mexico and Canada. TD

1 Only a few nonimmigrant classifications allow you to obtain permission work in this country without an employer having first filed a petition on your behalf.  Such classifications include the nonimmigrant E-1, E-2, E-3 and TN classifications, as well as, in certain instances, the F-1 and M-1 student and J-1 exchange visitor classifications.

2 The H-1C nonimmigrant classification expired on December 20, 2009.

3 E and L dependent spouses may apply for employment authorization.

4 Though the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not provide a specific nonimmigrant classification for dependents of Q-1 nonimmigrants, this does not preclude the spouse or child of a Q-1 from entering the U.S. in another nonimmigrant classification.

Last updated: 12/20/2010