H, L, O, P, Q, R Visas

H, L, O, P, Q, R visas for temporary workers

Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time. There are different categories according to the type of employment.

The most common categories are:

H1B: for workers in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense. Beginning December 19, 2019, Italian national H-1B applicants and their Italian national spouses and children are subject to a $168 reciprocity fee per person to be paid at the consular section at the time of issuance.

H2A: for temporary or seasonal agricultural work.

H2B:  for temporary or seasonal non- agricultural work.

H3: for trainees other than medical or academic. This classification also applies to practical training in the education of children with mental and physical disability.

L: To work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.  Individual must have been employed by the same employer abroad continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years.
L1 Blanket visa applicants must pay a fraud prevention and detection fee of $500.00 at the time of the interview at the consular section.  Beginning December 19, 2019, Italian national spouses and children of L1 Blanket visa applicants are subject to a $323 reciprocity fee per person to be paid at the consular section at the time of issuance.  Beginning December 19, 2019, L1 Individual visa applicants and their Italian national spouses and children are subject to a $323 reciprocity fee per person to be paid at the consular section at the time of issuance.

O: For persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Persons providing essential services in support of the above individual can qualify for the same visa category.

P: for athletes or members of an entertainment group internationally recognized, performing at a specific athletic competition, or under a reciprocal exchange program, or under a program that is culturally unique. Persons providing essential services in support of the above individual can qualify for the same visa category.

Q1: For practical training and employment and for sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of your home country through participation in an international cultural exchange program.

R1: for applicants seeking to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis. Religious workers include persons authorized, by a recognized employing entity, to conduct religious worship and perform other duties usually performed by authorized members of the clergy of that religion.
Beginning December 19, 2019, Italian national R-1 applicants and their Italian national spouses and children are subject to a $129 reciprocity fee per person to be paid at the consular section at the time of issuance.

Before applying for a temporary worker visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, a petition for a nonimmigrant worker, form I-129 must be filed on your behalf by a prospective employer and be approved by USCIS. Once the petition is approved, USCIS will send the prospective employer a Notice of Action, Form I-797 with a receipt number which will be necessary to complete the visa application process. Some temporary worker categories are limited in total number of petitions which can be approved on a yearly basis. For more information about the petition process, eligibility requirements by visa category, and numerical limits, if applicable, see Working in the U.S. and Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers on the USCIS website.

Spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) may also apply for the same visa category to accompany or join the principal applicant, with the exception of Q-1 visas. Principal applicants must be able to show that they will be able to financially support their family in the United States.

Application procedures for H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas

  1. Complete the DS-160 online application available at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and print the confirmation page (to bring to the interview)
  2. Create an account on this website: https://usvisa-info.com;
  3. Pay the non-refundable MRV fee online;
  4. Schedule an interview appointment with a consular office.
  5. Attend your interview appointment and bring all pertinent documentation:
    • Confirmation page of form DS-160
    • Valid passport;
    • One passport size photo for each visa applicant, including infants (see the “Photo Requirements” webpage);
    • Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on Form I-129 or Form I-797, issued by USCIS.
    • Documentation that demonstrates social, economic and family ties to Italy (except for H1B and L visa applicants who do not need to show proof of ties to their country of residence). Such documents might include: original residence permit for foreigners, certificate of residence, family status, marriage certificate, contract of sale or lease of property, employment contract, last pay slips, tax returns, bank statement, etc…
    • L1 Blanket visa applicant must bring Form I-129S to the interview. They will be requested to pay an additional fraud prevention and detection fee of $500.00 at the time of the interview at the consular section.
    • Reciprocity fees:  Beginning December 19, 2019, Italian nationals are subject to reciprocity fees to be paid at the consular section at the time of issuance for the following visa classifications:
      • H-1B (persons in specialty occupations and their spouses/children): $168
      • L-1/L-2 (intracompany transferees and their spouses/children): $323
      • R-1/R-2 (religious workers and their spouses/children): $129
  6. If approved, the visa is issued within two or three working days, and the passport is forwarded to DHL. After a maximum of another three working days, the passport will be available for collection at the DHL location selected during the online registration process (on average about five working days after the interview). If you select the home delivery option, delivery will take a few business days longer.
  7. Once your passport is at the DHL location, you will receive an e-mail by DHL with instructions on how to pick it up.
  8. If the visa is denied, your passport will be returned to you at the conclusion of the interview, along with a letter explaining the reasons for the visa refusal.