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How Long Will a U.S. Work Visa Last?

The length of time given to an immigrant to work in the United States is determined by the immigration category and the type of visa granted. There are two main categories: immigrant and non-immigrant. The latter is split into several types of visas while the former is limited to a just a few.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for Immigrants

The EAD is typically granted to foreigners who intend to reside in the United States. This work permit is granted to individuals whose immigration status is either permanent or temporary and whose living situation would be improved by the ability to work. The most common EAD is granted to immigrants who are on a path to permanent residency. For example, the foreign-born daughter of a U.S. resident can be given a one-year work permit by means of a Form I-765 petition. In this case, the immigrant should satisfy all requirements to be granted a conditional residency card since her EAD does not provide for a renewal.

An immigrant on a San Diego K-1 visa can be given an EAD for 90 days, but this does not preclude the U.S. citizen providing sponsorship from financially taking care of his or her future spouse.

Undocumented immigrants with forced departure orders or pending asylum petitions may qualify for EAD cards that are valid until their adjustment of status takes place. Immigrants on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can get EAD cards that last as long as the projected expiration date of their TPS.

Foreigners who qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program under the Obama administration are typically given EAD cards that last two years.

In general, immigrants with an EAD expiration date that is approaching without evidence their status will be adjusted should contact immigration lawyers in San Diego to discuss their options. Working with an expired EAD is illegal and could greatly compromise future immigration plans.

Non-Immigrant Work Visas

The greatest difference between the EAD and non-immigrant work visas such as the H-1B is that the expiration date of the latter means the immigrant should not only stop working but also exit the U.S. immediately. EAD holders may be able to remain in the country beyond the expiration of their work permits, particularly if they are pursuing resident status, although this does not mean they are allowed to work.

H-1B visas are valid for the length of the employment contract, up to six years. Extensions beyond six years are unusual unless either the worker or employer pursues an adjustment of status from non-immigrant to immigrant, which would signal the intention of applying for a green card.

Canadian and Mexican workers who are issued TN work permits must either exit the country after three years or file for extensions.

Executives and some self-employed professionals may be granted E-1 and E-2 visas that are generally valid for five years and periods of stay of two years as long as the activities they carry out are conducive to substantial trade. For example, the director of an international bank that is actively involved in financing business projects in the U.S. could extend his or her E-1 visa for many years.

There are a wide range of temporary employment visas that non-citizens can acquire. For instance, if you need information on religious workers immigration in San Diego, get in touch with KS Visa Law today. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule a free consultation.


June 2024