Visa Classifications and Work Authorization

ClassificationCharacterization of GroupNotes
A-1, A-2, A-3Staff of foreign embassies and consulates and members of the immediate familyClearance for any work beyond diplomatic work must be given in advance by the Protocol Division of the Department of State
B-1Visitors for businessMay be paid an honorarium and/or reimbursement for incidental expenses
B-2Visitors for pleasureMay be paid an honorarium and/or reimbursement for incidental expenses
B-2 Prospective StudentAlien with clear intent to study in the U.S.; will change to F-1 statusSee B-1 eligibility
B-2 Prospective Exchange VisitorAlien with clear intent to change to J-1 status for study, research, or teachingSee B-1 eligibility
C-1Visitors in transitMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
D-1Foreign crewmenMay be paid only for work done in connection with shipping/transport
E-1, E-2Treaty traders, treaty investors, and their dependentsMay be paid for business and investing work used as justification for issuance of visa; no other work is legally permitted
F-1Foreign studentsOn-campus work permit given by Foreign Student Adviser (on special form); off-campus work possible; approval shown on I-20 ID (yellow form)
F-2Dependents of foreign studentsMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4Employees of International organizations and members of their immediate familyMay be paid only by the organization for which they received their G designation; no other work legally permitted. G-4 spouses and dependents may apply for special work permit on Form I-556 to Department of State
H-1BTemporary professional workersMay be paid any sum by the employer that filed H-1 petition for period of validity of that petition
H-2ATemporary workers whose skills are needed in the U.S.May be paid any sum by the employer that filed H-2 petition for period of validity of that petition
H-3Trainees (as distinct from F-1 practical trainees)May be paid any sum by the employer that filed H-3 petition for period of validity of that petition
H-4Dependents of H-1, H-2, H-3 employeesMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
I-1Journalists, representatives of media, and their dependentsMay work only for media organization that obtained I visa for them
J-1 StudentStudent in the U.S. under Exchange Visitor ProgramMay work on- or off-campus if granted permission (on special form) by Exchange Visitor Program sponsor
J-1 ScholarResearchers/professors here under Exchange Visitor ProgramMay work for university or organization that issued IAP-66 (visa entry form); permission for other work granted by U.S. Information Agency (contact Foreign Student and Scholar Services)
J-2Dependents of J-1'sMay request work authorization from INS if J-2 can state that money needed for his/her expenses; permit shown on I-94
K-1Fiance(e)s of American citizensMay request work authorization upon entry to U.S.; shown on I-94. Must marry American citizen within 90 days and apply for permanent residence
L-1Intra-company transfers, i.e., managers, executives who have worked abroad for branch of U.S. firmMay work only for the company that obtained L-1 visa on their behalf; no other work permitted
L-2Dependents of L-1'sMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
M-1Students at vocational schoolsMay receive permission to work for six months after completion of studies; shown on I-20 ID
M-2Dependents of M-1'sMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
N-8, N-9Parent or dependent child of individual who has been granted Permanent Residency under special caseCan be employed with EAD
NATOAlien from a NATO member country in the U.S. under sponsorship of NATO, for study, research or trainingFunds limited to NATO
O-1Alien of extraordinary abilityMay receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
O-2Alien with critical skills and experienceMay receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
O-3Dependents of O-1's and O-2'sMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
P-1Alien athlete internationally recognizedMay receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-2Alien artists or entertainers, individual or groupMay receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-3Alien providing essential support to the P-1 and P-2 visa holdersMay receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-4Dependents of P-1's, P-2's, and P-3'sMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
R-1Religious exchangeMay be paid by the sponsor of the visa only
R-2Dependent of R-1May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
S-1Criminal WitnessMay be paid by the sponsor of the visa only
TDDependent of TNMay receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
TNIndividual from Mexico or Canada-NAFTAMay be employed until the date on the I-94
WB (business)Visa waiver program. Can enter the U.S. for 90 days without a visaSee B-1
WT (tourist)Visa waiver programSee B-1
Asylum Applicants (I-589 filed)Those who have filed for asylum in the U.S.May request work authorization from INS during the waiting period; shown on I-94 or special form
Asylees, RefugeesThose who have been granted asylum or refugee status in the U.S.No limits at all on the employment they may legally hold
Pending ImmigrantsThose who have filed for adjustment to Immigrant Status in the U.S.May request work authorization from INS during brief waiting period (3-4 months); would show on I-181 or special form
Immigrants (Permanent Residents)Those who have been granted permanent residence in the U.S.; may stay forever in this statusNo limits at all on the employment they may legally hold; will be able to show Resident Alien Card (I-151 or I-551)
Temporary ResidentsThose who have been approved for legalization in the U.S. after having been here in illegal status for five years or moreMay request work authorization for the year (or longer) it will take to obtain permanent residence; will be able to show I-688 or I-688A (Temporary Resident Employment Authorization Card)
Conditional Permanent ResidentsThose who have applied for immigrant status through marriage to an American citizen or Permanent Resident of the U.S.No limits at all on the employment they may legally hold; will be able to show work authorization from INS
Undocumented AliensThose who entered the U.S. illegally or who lost legal status and are not eligible for legalizationNot eligible for any work in the U.S. Employer not liable to any punishment if these aliens have been employed for same employer since before November 7, 1986