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U.S. federal law governs immigration, including employment-based immigration. Generally, citizens of foreign countries that wish to enter the United States for employment purposes must first obtain a U.S. visa. The purpose of your intended travel to the U.S. and other facts will determine what type of visa you must have under U.S. immigration law. For example, if you intend to give up your country of residence and stay in the U.S. permanently, you are classified as an immigrant; if you do not intend to give up your country residence permanently and plan to stay in the U.S. temporarily, you are classified as a nonimmigrant. The two classifications (immigrant and nonimmigrant) have different visa categories.
This article focuses on visas for the purposes of employment available to immigrants and nonimmigrants. There are other visas available for other travel purposes. The U.S. Department of State website has information on other types of visas and more.
Visa Eligibility - To be eligible for a visa, you must fit within an open visa category AND not be inadmissible. You can be found inadmissible for several different reasons, including immigration control reasons, political and national security reasons, criminal reasons, economic reasons, public health reasons, and moral reasons. The USCIS Policy Manual provides more information on inadmissibility.
Visa Categories - The specific facts and circumstances of your situation will determine your visa eligibility, including the appropriate visa category. For example, there are different visa categories for temporary workers, permanent workers, and students.
- An immigrant employment visa is known as a permanent worker visa. There are five categories of permanent worker visas. The USCIS website provides detailed information about each category.
- Nonimmigrants seeking employment visas are generally known as temporary workers, and the visa categories are much more numerous. These visas are only valid for a limited time period. The USCIS website provides detailed information about each category.
Application/Petition - Immigrant and nonimmigrant employment visa applications are typically filed by your U.S. employer. If you are citizen of a foreign country and wish to work in the United States, you must apply for a visa from the U.S. Department of State. In many cases, before you apply for the visa from the U.S. Department of State, you (or your prospective employer) must first petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- The USCIS website provides detailed information about the petition process.
- The U.S. State Department's Employment-Based Immigrant Visa page provides detailed information about the overall process for applying for an employment-based visa.
The Farm Labor Contractor's Law requires all farm labor contractors who work in Maryland to be licensed by the Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry. The law also imposes duties on a farm labor contractor regarding the employment, housing and transportation of migrant agricultural workers. Growers must verify that a farm labor contractor is licensed before using the contractor's services.
- Completion of application form
- $25 application fee.
- Two recent passport-size color photographs of the applicant.
- U.S. Department of Labor registration as a farm labor contractor, with authorization to drive and transport migrant agricultural workers (if applicable).
- Proof of workers' compensation insurance.
- Proof of vehicle insurance issued by a Maryland-authorized company for each vehicle to be used to transport migrant agricultural workers in Maryland.
Licensing Fee: $25 per year. Licensing year begins March 1.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment Title 7
Read the Regulation: Code of Md. Regulations 09.12.45
Edited by Kerstin M. Miller, Esq., Smith & Downey, P.A.