Working in the United States is only possible with a visa – regardless of how long or short you stay.
To receive a work visa, a U.S. employer has to file a petition for a work permit for you in the U.S. After the petition has been approved you can apply for a visa.
The U.S. Consulates in Germany do NOT provide information on job opportunities in the U.S. U.S. immigration laws prohibit you from taking a summer job, accepting an internship or au pair position if you do not have the proper visa.
Note: Medical students intending to do a Famulatur at an American university hospital have to apply for a B1/B-Visa.
H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation, which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. This classification requires a labor attestation issued by the Secretary of Labor. Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense also apply to this classification;
H-2A classification applies to temporary or seasonal agricultural workers
H-2B classification applies to temporary or seasonal nonagricultural workers from certain countries. This classification requires a temporary labor certification issued by the Secretary of Labor. Please see the “Eligible Country List“.
H-3 classification applies to trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children;
L-1 classification applies to intra-company transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will be employed by a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity;
Note: There is a $500 “fraud prevention and detection fee” for persons applying for L-1 visas under “blanket” provisions abroad. This fee is to be paid in cash (euro or dollar) or with credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discovery) on the day of your appointment.
O-, P-, Q-Visa
O-1 classification applies to persons who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary achievements in the motion picture and television field;
O-2 classification applies to persons accompanying an O-1 alien to assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or performance;
P-1 classification applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an entertainment group that are internationally recognized;
P-2 classification applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program;
P-3 classification applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique (same as P-1); and
Q-1 classification applies to participants in an international cultural exchange program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the alien’s home country.
Petition (H, L, O, P, Q-Visa)
In order to be considered as a nonimmigrant under the above classifications the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, the employer or agent is sent a notice of approval, Form I-797. It should be noted that the approval of a petition does not guarantee visa issuance to an applicant found to be ineligible under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
All of the above classifications have fixed time limits in which the alien may perform services in the United States. In some cases U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may extend those time limits in order to permit the completion of the services. Thereafter, the alien must remain abroad for a fixed period of time before being readmitted as a temporary worker under any classification. The USCIS will notify the petitioner on Form I-797 whenever a visa petition, an extension of a visa petition, or an extension of stay is approved under any of the above classifications. The beneficiary may use form I-797 (original) to apply for a new or revalidated visa during the validity period of the petition. The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of a preference petition for an alien shall not be a basis for denying a visa under the H-1 or L classifications.
With the exception of “Q-1 Cultural Exchange Visitors,” the spouse and unmarried, minor children of an applicant under any of the above classifications may also be classified as nonimmigrants in order to accompany or join the principal applicant. With the exception of spouses of L visa “inter-company transferees”, a person who has received a visa as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept employment in the United States. The principal applicant must be able to show that he or she will be able to support his or her family in the United States.
C1/D (Crew) - Airline/Ship
Individual C-1/D visas are issued to crew members of international airlines and to aliens required for the normal operation and service of a vessel. In the case of the later, in determining who qualifies for the C-1/D visa, we take into consideration the individual’s responsibilities and activities on the ship. For example the most commonly issued C-1/D visas are to crew members of cruise liners and include, but are not limited to, beauticians, entertainers and lifeguards.
Crew members who are to service a vessel in dry dock require the appropriate work visa unless the work is being done under warranty, in which case, they may qualify for the B-1 visa.
If you will be working on a private yacht sailing out of a foreign port and cruising in U.S. waters for more than 29 days, you require a B-1 visa.
If you wish to remain in the United States for a holiday after your period of employment, you will be required to apply for admission as a visitor on a B-2 visa. However, if you enter the U.S. aboard a cruise liner which participates in the Visa Waiver Program you may be eligible to enter visa free. You should check with the cruise liner before traveling.
Dependents of Crewmen
Dependents of crewmen (D) visa holders who are accompanying the alien to the U.S. may be eligible for B-2 visas. Note: Visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program is only available to those who enter the United States aboard a participating carrier. Many shipping companies are not participating carriers.
I-Visa (News Media)
Representatives of the foreign news media travelling to the U.S. on assignment may be eligible for classification under the “I” visa category. This may include representatives of the press, radio, film or television whose activities are essential to the foreign media function, such as reporters, film crews, editors and persons in similar occupations. Please note that only those who are actually involved in the newsgathering process are eligible (proof readers, librarians, or set designers are not eligible).
Freelance journalists and members of independent production companies will also be considered for an “I” visa if they are under contract to a media organization (see below).
Persons engaged in the production or distribution of film only qualify for an “I” visa if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information or news, and the primary source of funding and point of distribution will be outside the US. All published material must be documentary in nature and intended for a foreign audience.
Individuals or companies commissioned to work on film projects of commercial or entertainment value require the appropriate work visa (O, P or H), which involves obtaining employment authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for a visa.
Application & Visa Interview
All applicants for “I” visas must submit their application and supporting documents IN PERSON in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich (see below for details). The DS-160 visa application form requires applicants to select a Purpose of Trip from a drop-down menu. I-visa applicants should first select “Other” in the main “Purpose of Trip” drop-down menu and then select “Representative of Foreign Media (I)” from the secondary drop-down menu.
In the Temporary Work Visa Information screen, “I” applicants will be asked to provide the name and address of their U.S. employer. If your media organization does not have a U.S. office, please enter the name of your institution or non-U.S. contracting company and “NA” in the address lines.
All applicants must schedule an appointment to appear for biometric collection and a personal interview. Instructions are available a http://www.ustraveldocs.com/de/
Please note that electronic devices (cell phones, PDAs, laptops, USB sticks, etc.), may not be brought into the consulate or embassy. Backpacks, suitcases and attaché cases are also not permitted. Security personnel cannot store items for visa applicants.
Applicants are advised that they will have the best chance of qualifying for a visa if they apply in the country where they normally reside. Applicants who reside in Germany have to apply at the Consular Section in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich.
Besides the standard documentation required, the following I-Visa specific documentation is required:
- A credential issued by a professional journalistic association (your press ID).
- A letter from your media organization confirming the purpose of your trip to the United States.
Freelance Journalists Must Submit:
- A credential issued by a professional journalistic association (your press ID).
- A valid contract of employment from the sponsoring media organization. At a minimum, the contract should clearly identify the parties to the contract and include the term (dates or duration) and a description of duties to be performed or work product resulting from a temporary stay in the U.S.