H, L, O, and P visas entitle the holder to work in the United States. All require the hiring company or organization in the United States to first submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for permission. If the petition is approved, the company will be issued a form I-797 enabling you to apply for a visa. Click here for more information about the Petition Process.
Visa Specific Information
H Visa: The H visa is intended for temporary employment in the United States. For most H applicants, the visa is valid for multiple entries within one year. Chinese applicants do not have to pay additional H visa issuance fees. Nationals of other countries may have to pay an additional H visa issuance fee, depending on their country of origin.
L Visa: The L visa is for individuals who are being transferred by their company in China to a branch or related company in the United States. Applicants must intend to fill a managerial or executive position, or have specialized knowledge, and have been continuously employed by the same employer or a related company for at least one of three years immediately preceding the visa application. For most L applicants, the visa is valid for multiple entries within one year or two years, depending on the period of time specified on the applicant's L petition approval notice. If the visa is approved, each Chinese L applicant must pay an additional $120 USD visa issuance fee at the time of the visa interview. This means, for example, if one principal L-1 applicant is traveling with two family members who are applying for L-2 visas, the family must pay a total of $360 USD in visa issuance fees. If the principal applicant is applying for an L-1 visa under “blanket” L visa provisions, the applicant must also pay $500 USD “fraud prevention and detection fee” at the time of their visa interview.
O or P Visa: These visas are for performers or trade workers possessing unusual or extraordinary skills, who plan to perform, teach, coach, or participate in cultural exchange in the United States. The applicant’s work unit in China and host institution in the U.S. should contact USCIS for information on filing such petitions. For more information regarding the complexities of petitioning for performance visas click here or the USCIS web page for temporary workers.
All H, L, O, or P applicants should prepare to present the following documentation and other relevant information at their interview:
- Valid Passport: If your passport will expire less than 6 months from your planned arrival in the United States, or is damaged, or you do not have a page for a visa, please get a new passport before your interview.
- The DS-160 application form confirmation page, with the telecodes for your name, your name, home address, company name and company address written in Hanzi handwritten on your form. When printing out your confirmation page, please set “page layout” to “portrait”. Please bring the printed, not the faxed confirmation page to your interview. Please click here for an example. If you need telecodes, please click here.
- One photograph: Two inches square (51mm x 51mm) color photograph, less than 6 months old, against a white background, full frontal view. Click for more information on photo requirements. Please use scotch tape to stick your photo on the front cover of your passport.
- Original Bank Receipt for Application Fee: The 1197 RMB application fee may be paid at any CITIC Bank branch in China. Please glue or tape the application fee receipt onto the bottom of DS-160 form confirmation page. Please click here for an example.
- Passports containing all previous U.S. visas, even if expired.
- Work/Research Plan: Detailed information about your planned work or research in the US.
- Resume/CV: Detailed information about your past academic and professional experience, including a complete list of all publications to which you have contributed. Please click here for a sample resume.
- Blanket L-1 applicants need to provide an original and two copies of the I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition) and copy of the I-797 form.
The above items should not be considered an exhaustive list and presentation of these documents does not guarantee visa issuance. Be prepared to explain to the visa officer and present evidence regarding why you are going to the US and why you will return to China.
We Want You to Know
For more information on U.S. Temporary Work Visas, click HERE to visit the relevant Consular Affairs web page of the Department of State.
Are you coming to the US to work or study temporarily? Do you want to know your basic rights while your stay there? Please click HERE for the details.