Temporary Work Visas (H, L, P, and O visas)

Temporary employment visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time, and are not considered permanent or indefinite. Each of these visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required to apply for a temporary employment visa.

See our Temporary Employment Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.

All applicants for temporary work visas must bring the following required documents to their interview:

  1. Electronic application form DS-160. This application must be filled out electronically athttp://ceac.state.gov/genniv. This application will also be necessary to make an appointment for an interview. You must also bring a printed copy of your DS-160 confirmation page to your interview!  Please make sure that the barcode of the application is printed clearly. See the example.
  2. A passport valid for travel abroad.
  3. A photograph taken within the past 6 months (photographs must be in color, 5cm X 5cm in size and on a white background). Only original photographs are acceptable. Photos that have been altered in any way (copied, digitally scanned, retouched, etc.) will not be accepted. For more information, please see requirements for visa photos (PDF-93kb).  Application Form DS-160 allows for the photo to be uploaded to the electronic form.  The Consular Section recommends you bring a photo to the interview even if the photo upload was successful.
  4. Petition – Form I-129 or the notice of action – Form I-797. This document filed in the Department of Homeland Security by the prospective employer.
  5. If the above forms are not available, the applicants must contact the Consular Section via E-mail and provide the petition number. The Consular Section will inform the applicant if the petition information has been made available to the Consular Section through internal channels. If the petition information is available in Consular Systems, the applicants are allowed to apply without the I-129 or I-797.
  6. For family members applying to travel with a temporary worker (spouses or children), documentary proof of your relationship to the temporary worker, such as marriage or birth certificate.
  7. Family members applying without the principal applicant must also demonstrate proof of the principal applicant’s status and employment in the United States.

Fees: $205 application fee for each applicant.