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Ask the Consul

Work Visas

March 24, 2010

If you want to work in the U.S. temporarily, you need a specific visa, based on the type of work you will be doing.  The process for getting a work visa starts in the United States.  Prospective employers in the U.S. must obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security in the United States before you can apply for your visa.  You cannot work legally for pay in the U.S. on a temporary visitor (tourist) visa.

Under U.S. law, only certain kinds of workers are eligible for temporary visas.  These include:  people in specialty occupations who have certain kinds of higher education; temporary seasonal workers; managers of multinational corporations; persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, or education; and internationally recognized artists or athletes.

In most cases, applicants for these temporary work visas must demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that he or she will leave the United States after the authorized work term, and that the applicant’s social, economic, professional, or family ties compel him or her to return home.

Some local organizations work with U.S. employers, helping them to identify potential Dominican temporary employees.  Before you pay any recruitment fees, take time to find out as much as you can about the firm.  Have they sent employees to the U.S. in the past?  Have friends and family heard of them?  Beware of anyone who claims he or she can guarantee you a job in the United States.  Local recruiters can help match you with a potential employer, but cannot “fix” a visa for you.  In addition, review the potential job offer, wages, and recruiter fees carefully.  Once you pay for food and housing in the United States, and the recruiter’s fees, how much money will you earn?

U.S. employers do hire thousands of temporary foreign workers every year, and a temporary work visa can be a way to earn good money in a short time. However, before you pay any agency fees, find out as much as you can about the work visa process, the local recruiter, and the job offer.