Work Visa

FAQ

On this page:

 

Overview

If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily as a nonimmigrant, under U.S. immigration law, you need a specific visa based on the type of work you will be doing. Most temporary worker categories require that your prospective employer or agent file a petition, which must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States before you can apply for a work visa.

All applicants for H, L, O, P and Q visas must have a petition approved on their behalf by USCIS. The petition, Form I-129, must be approved before you can apply for a work visa at the Embassy. When your petition is approved, your employer or agent will receive a Notice of Action, Form I-797, which serves as your petition's approval notification. The consular officer will verify your petition approval through the Department of State's Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) during your interview.

You must bring your I-129 petition receipt number to your interview at the Embassy in order to verify your petition's approval. Please note that approval of a petition does not guarantee issuance of a visa.

H2 Interview waiver

New Application Process for H2 Temporary Work Visas (Updated October 16, 2020)

We hereby inform you that starting on Saturday, April 18, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala has changed the application process for Temporary Work (H-2) visas. The new procedure makes use of the waiver of the interview requirement recently approved by the U.S. Secretary of State. 

Information for H-2B applicants:  Beginning on August 19, 2020, the Embassy will also begin using the group interview waiver mechanism to accept applications for H-2B visas from applicants subject to the Presidential Proclamation 10052 but who believe they may qualify for a national interest exception or other exception. Final determination regarding visa eligibility will be made at the time of visa processing.  

If you wish to submit a group processing request for H-2 visa applicants, the process is as follows: 

 

1. Begin by gathering the following information and documents.  You will need to upload this information as an attachment to your group request:

  • A list of all the applicants with their full name, date of birth and passport number.
  • A copy of the I-797 Approval Notice and if possible a copy of the I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Please make sure the petition is valid. 

Note that any applicants with valid ineligibilities such as recent deportations, criminal convictions, prior refusals of visas, or other circumstances require an in-person interview. However, interviews are not being scheduled for the time being and it is uncertain whether an interview will be scheduled prior to the expiration date of the petition. 

 

2. Request a group appointment:

Click here for information on requesting and making a group appointment.  If you already have a username, enter the name and password by clicking here to proceed.  If you do not have a username, you must create a new one using the group representative’s information.  Click here to create a new username. This representative must be already registered with the Consular Section of the United States Embassy. If you are not registered you may send an email to  GuatemalaH2@state.gov requesting instructions about this process. If you do not have a registered representative, the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor can offer you its own recruiting services at no cost. For more information, visit their website or contact movilidadlaboral@mintrabajo.gob.gt.  Please thoroughly follow instructions to avoid delays or complications.  Do not begin adding applicants to the group coordinator profile until after you have sent the group request and received an approval email from the Embassy. 

Please note that U.S. Embassies and Consulates may only be able to offer limited visa services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in which case they may not be able to accommodate your request unless the proposed travel is deemed emergency or mission critical.

3.How will I know if my application has been approved and what should I do next?

  • If the United States Embassy approves your appointment request, the group representative will receive an approval email from no-reply@ustraveldocs.com. This email will indicate that the group representative can access the system again and confirm the appointment the embassy has scheduled.  Only the representative must appear at any of the authorized Cargo Expreso branches to deliver the application documents of each of the applicants.
  • The day designated to drop off the documents at Cargo Expreso will be within the following five business days to ensure enough time to fill out the forms, make the corresponding payment, and collect and organize each applicant’s documents.
  • If the group representative does not drop off the documents at Cargo Expreso on the assigned day, they must submit a new request.
  • If the group representative does not bring all of the applicants’ required documentation to the appointment at the Cargo Expreso location, Cargo Expreso will receive the documentation available at that time, and the representative must request a new appointment for the missing documents.
  • The following documents must be presented for each applicant during drop-off:
      • Valid passport. (If you previously had visa(s), please attach corresponding passports).
      • A recent photograph (click here for specifications).  Digitally modified photographs will not be received, photos that don't meet all the requirements and photographs from previous visa applications cannot be reused.
      • DS-160 confirmation sheet. When filling out this form, it is very important to answer all questions truthfully. You should mention any arrests, lengths of stay, whether you have attempted to cross the border illegally, as well as any problems you have had with immigration or police authorities in any country. Failure to disclose questions truthfully will result in a visa denial or possible apprehension at the Port of Entry by Customs and Border Patrol. 
      • Copy of Form I-797 (one copy for the group).
      • Copy of the employment contract between the employer and the prospective employee

 

4How will I receive the passports back? 

When the process is complete, the group coordinator will receive an email indicating the applicants’ passports are ready for pick-up at the Cargo Expreso location selected in their profile. If you have additional questions, please visit the our ustraveldocs website or write to the following email address: guatemalaniv@state.gov.  Please use “H2IW” in your email’s subject field.

Due to resource constraints, we would like to inform you that the processing time for H-2 visas at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is currently two weeks from the time that the documents are dropped off at Cargo Expreso. 

Visa Descriptions and Qualifications

H-1B (specialty occupation)
An H-1B visa is required if you are coming to the United States to perform services in a pre-arranged professional job. To qualify, you must hold a bachelor's or higher degree (or an equivalent degree) in the specific specialty for which you seek employment. USCIS will determine whether your employment constitutes a specialty occupation and whether you are qualified to perform the services. Your employer is required file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor concerning the terms and conditions of its contract of employment with you.

H-1B1 (Treaty-based Temporary Work Visa)

Do I qualify for H1B1 visa ?

Only Chilean and Singaporean citizens are eligible as principal applicants to apply for this visa, although their spouses and children may be nationals of other countries. For more information on the H-1B1 visa, please visit this web page

H-3 (trainee)
An H-3 visa is required if you are coming to the United States to receive training from an employer in any field of endeavor, other than graduate education or training, for a period of up to two years. You can be paid for your training and "hands-on" work is authorized. Training cannot be used to provide productive employment and cannot be available in your home country.

H-4 (dependents)
If you are the principal holder of a valid H visa, your spouse or unmarried children (under age 21) may receive an H-4 visa to accompany you to the United States. However, your spouse/children are not permitted to work while in the United States.

L-1 (intra-company transferees)
An L-1 visa is required if you are the employee of an international company which is temporarily transferring you to a parent branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the United States. The international company may be either a U.S. or foreign organization. To qualify for an L-1 visa, you must be at the managerial or executive level, or have specialized knowledge and be destined to a position within the U.S. company at either of these levels, although not necessarily in the same position as held previously. In addition, you must have been employed outside the United States with the international company continuously for one year within the three years preceding your application for admission into the United States. You may only apply for an L-1 visa after your U.S. company or affiliate has received an approved petition from USCIS, either on a "blanket" or individual basis.

L-2 (L-1 dependents)
If you are the principal holder of a valid L visa, your spouse or unmarried children (under age 21) may receive this derivative visa. 

O (individuals of extraordinary ability)
Type O visas are issued to people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television production, and their essential support personnel.

P (artists, athletes)
Type P visas are issued to certain athletes, entertainers, artists and essential support personnel who are coming to perform in the United States.

Q (cultural exchange)
A Q visa is required if you are traveling to the United States to participate in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of your home country. You must have a petition filed on your behalf by the program sponsor and the petition must be approved by USCIS.

When to Apply

The Embassy may process your H, L, O, P or Q visa application up to 90 days prior to the beginning of employment status as noted on your I-797. However, when making your travel plans, please note that due to Federal regulations, you can only use the visa to apply for entry to the United States starting ten days prior to the beginning of the approved status period noted on your I-797.

Application Items

If you apply for an H, L, O, P, or Q visa, you must submit the following:

      • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form confirmation page. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
      • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). 
      • One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
      • A receipt showing payment of your US$190 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This web page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
      • If you are an L-1 applicant on a blanket petition, you must pay a fraud prevention and detection fee (more information about this fee is here).
      • The receipt number printed on your approved I-129 petitionPaper copies of the I-797 are not required at the interview.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

How to Apply

Step 1
Pay the visa application fee.

Step 2
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3
Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

      • Your passport number
      • Your MRV receipt number
      • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Step 4
Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are only one of many factors a consular officer will consider in your interview, and will not be required in every case. Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

  • Evidence that establishes your job qualifications, including any university diplomas.
  • Original letters from current and previous employers detailing your position and projects you worked on and how long you worked with your employers.
  • If you are currently working and holding H-1B status, please submit your pay slips for the current calendar year and your Federal tax returns (IRS Form 1040 and W-2) for all the years in which you have been employed in the United States. You should bring:
        • Pay slips from your current or most recent place of employment.
        • The names and current phone numbers of the personnel managers at your present and previous places of employment.
        • Your resume or CV

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. 

Dependents

Your dependents should bring all required documents for any nonimmigrant visa, plus:

    • An original marriage (for your spouse) and/or birth certificate (for unmarried children under 21), as applicable
    • A letter from your employer confirming his or her continued employment.

More Information

For more information about H, L, O, P, and Q visas, visit the Department of State's Temporary Workers webpage