Work Visas For Engineering Industries

Work Visas For Engineers, Designers, and Architects

The engineering industry thrives on a dynamic and diverse workforce. This includes non-domestic employees who contribute their distinctive skills and invaluable global insights. These jobs require proper work visas to legally work in the United States. We aim to provide an overview of work visas specifically related to the engineering industry, covering the different types of visas available for engineers, designers, architects, and similar occupations as well as strategies for successfully hiring foreign workers.

person with an engineers salary walking through an airport to immigrate to the US

What are Examples of Jobs in the Engineering Field?

  • Civil Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Chemical Engineers
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Aerospace Engineers
  • Computer Hardware Engineers
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Architects
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Landscape Architects
  • Drafters
  • Engineering Technicians
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians
  • Interior Designers
  • Industrial Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • User Experience (UX) Designers

What are the Benefits of Hiring Foreign Workers?

Drawing from our extensive experience in the field, we’ve observed that companies opt to hire foreign workers for several compelling reasons. Beyond enhancing diversity and filling skill gaps, hiring foreign talent can be a strategic approach to driving growth and innovation. 

Innovation and Creativity: Our clients often remark on the innovative ideas and fresh perspectives brought to the table by their foreign employees. With their unique experiences and backgrounds, these employees can often approach problems from different angles, leading to creative solutions.

Business Expansion: From our experience, companies looking to expand their services or products to international markets find great value in employing knowledgeable staff. Foreign employees often have an in-depth understanding of their home markets, which can be instrumental in guiding a successful expansion strategy.

Addressing Labor Shortages: In many high-demand sectors, especially in fields like engineering and IT, the domestic labor supply can’t always meet the needs of growing businesses. In such cases, hiring foreign workers helps keep these companies at the forefront of their industries.

Enhancing Company Culture: Many of our clients have noted that foreign workers contribute significantly to creating a vibrant, global company culture. This makes the workplace more dynamic and promotes a global mindset among all employees.

Our law firm has helped numerous businesses navigate the complexities of hiring foreign workers, offering expert guidance throughout the process. We believe that a diverse workforce is a powerful asset, and we are committed to helping our clients tap into this potential.

architect working in the us pursuing a green card

How to Hire Foreign Workers?

Identifying the Need and Suitable Visa Type:

Decide the role for which you want to hire a foreign worker and identify the appropriate visa type. The job role and the visa type should be consistent. Go about the recruitment process as you would with a US worker.

Offer and Petition Filing:

Once you select a candidate, make a job offer and, if accepted, start the petition process. The employer files a visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include the job offer details and evidence that the foreign worker meets the legal requirements for the visa type.

Visa Approval and Worker’s Entry:

After the USCIS approves the visa petition, the foreign worker can apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. If the visa is approved, the worker can travel to your country and start working.  If the worker is already in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant visa status, they can change their immigration status to the new status approved by USCIS.

Work With an Experienced Work Immigration Lawyer

Throughout the process, working with an immigration lawyer will be invaluable. They can provide guidance on legal matters, help navigate the complexities of the immigration system, and assist with paperwork. Consulting with an immigration lawyer will ensure that your company’s hiring practices comply with immigration laws, thereby protecting your business and facilitating a smooth hiring process.

What is a Work Visa? 

A work visa is a legal authorization that allows a non-citizen to work in a country where they are not a resident. Work visas are extremely beneficial in that they create job opportunities for skilled workers who live inside or outside the US. This kind of visa is typically tied to a specific employer and job position, and its duration can range to several years, depending on the nature of the work and the visa type. Work visas can be categorized into different types, such as H-1B visa, H-2B visa, L-1 visa, O-1, and more, each with unique requirements and conditions.

Common Work Visas for the Engineering Industry in the United States

H-1B Visa:

The H-1B visa is one of the engineering industry’s most commonly used work visas. It is meant for “specialty occupations” that require the theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge – a category under which many engineering jobs fall. For this visa, the employee must have a bachelor’s degree or higher (or equivalent experience) in the specific field of the specialty occupation. The H-1B visa is granted for up to three years but can be extended to a maximum of six years.

O-1 Visa:

The O-1 visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in certain fields, including engineering. It requires high achievement and recognition in the field, such as publications, awards, or professional memberships. This visa is granted for up to three years and can be extended indefinitely.

L-1 Visa:

The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to transfer employees from foreign to U.S. operations. Multinational companies typically use them to bring managerial or executive level employees, or employees with specialized knowledge, to the U.S.


The J-1 visa is a cultural exchange program that also allows for work authorization. It is commonly used in the engineering industry for interns or trainees to gain practical experience and exposure in their field. However, it is only available for a limited time and has strict requirements.

E-1 and E-2 Visas:

The E-1 and E-2 visas are designed for citizens of countries with which the U.S. maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. E-1 is for individuals involved in international trade, while E-2 is for investors. While these are not as common as the other visa types, they may be used by individuals in the engineering field who are engaged in substantial trade or investment.

TN Visa:

The TN visa, part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the U.S. in a professional capacity. Many engineering occupations qualify under the TN visa category.

F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) and STEM OPT Extension:

The F-1 OPT allows international students who have completed their studies in the U.S. to work in their field of study for one year. Students with degrees in STEM fields, including many areas of engineering, can apply for a two-year extension.

EB-2 (National Interest Waiver):

The EB-2 visa is a preference category for United States employment-based permanent residency, specifically designed for professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Through the NIW, an individual can apply for an EB-2 permanent residency without a job offer or labor certification if they can prove their employment is of national importance, meaning they would greatly benefit the nation. This is especially applicable to areas such as engineering, technology, medicine, or environmental conservation, where the individual’s work can have a significant positive impact on the nation.

Each visa category has its specific requirements and processes. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney when considering hiring foreign engineers.

EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability)

This is an employment-based first preference classification for people with (1) extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; (2) who seeks entry to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; and (3) whose entry will substantially benefit the United States.

Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet 3 out of the ten listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of your performance in a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

This is a category where we really have to prove that you have risen to one of the top percentages in your field. It takes a lot of work and collaboration between the applicant and our office; thus, documenting your accomplishments in the field through objective sources is critical to presenting a good case to the USCIS.

woman engineer working with machinery

How Can Our Immigration Lawyers Help?

At Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group, our seasoned immigration lawyers are committed to guiding you through the intricate process of hiring foreign workers. We understand the importance and value foreign workers bring to the engineering industry, and we’re here to help you navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system effectively and effortlessly.

  • Our team can assist you in understanding and fulfilling your obligations as an employer.
  • We can help you prepare visa petitions and work with you to ensure compliance with labor laws.
  • We can help you identify the appropriate visa category that aligns with your specific staffing needs.
  • We can guide you through the rigorous process of proving the unavailability of U.S. workers for the roles you aim to fill.
  • Our team will help you understand the qualifications your prospective employees need to meet for each visa type.
  • We can help you streamline the hiring process and avoid potential legal pitfalls.
  • We maintain open lines of communication, keeping you informed every step of the way.
  • We provide guidance on any changes in immigration laws that could impact your business.

Partnering with Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group means securing professional, timely, and dedicated assistance in all your immigration-related endeavors, maximizing your chances of harnessing global talent, and driving your business forward.

individuals with extraordinary abilities at a table discussing business. one woman is pointing at a paper, while three workers are looking and listening.

Your Trusted Immigration Lawyers

In a complex and fast-changing immigration landscape, having knowledgeable and reliable legal assistance is crucial. At Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group, we are your trusted immigration lawyers, dedicated to ensuring your business is well-equipped to navigate the challenges of hiring foreign workers. Contact us today for any immigration-related queries or concerns you may have. Let us guide you through this intricate process, providing the clarity you need to make the best decisions for your business. Contact our expert team today.

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