Visa Classifications and Work Authorization

Classification Characterization of Group Notes
A-1, A-2, A-3 Staff of foreign embassies and consulates and members of the immediate family Clearance for any work beyond diplomatic work must be given in advance by the Protocol Division of the Department of State
B-1 Visitors for business May be paid an honorarium and/or reimbursement for incidental expenses
B-2 Visitors for pleasure May be paid an honorarium and/or reimbursement for incidental expenses
B-2 Prospective Student Alien with clear intent to study in the U.S.; will change to F-1 status See B-1 eligibility
B-2 Prospective Exchange Visitor Alien with clear intent to change to J-1 status for study, research, or teaching See B-1 eligibility
C-1 Visitors in transit May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
D-1 Foreign crewmen May be paid only for work done in connection with shipping/transport
E-1, E-2 Treaty traders, treaty investors, and their dependents May be paid for business and investing work used as justification for issuance of visa; no other work is legally permitted
F-1 Foreign students On-campus work permit given by Foreign Student Adviser (on special form); off-campus work possible; approval shown on I-20 ID (yellow form)
F-2 Dependents of foreign students May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 Employees of International organizations and members of their immediate family May 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-1B Temporary professional workers May be paid any sum by the employer that filed H-1 petition for period of validity of that petition
H-2A Temporary 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-3 Trainees (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-4 Dependents of H-1, H-2, H-3 employees May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
I-1 Journalists, representatives of media, and their dependents May work only for media organization that obtained I visa for them
J-1 Student Student in the U.S. under Exchange Visitor Program May work on- or off-campus if granted permission (on special form) by Exchange Visitor Program sponsor
J-1 Scholar Researchers/professors here under Exchange Visitor Program May 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-2 Dependents of J-1's May request work authorization from INS if J-2 can state that money needed for his/her expenses; permit shown on I-94
K-1 Fiance(e)s of American citizens May 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-1 Intra-company transfers, i.e., managers, executives who have worked abroad for branch of U.S. firm May work only for the company that obtained L-1 visa on their behalf; no other work permitted
L-2 Dependents of L-1's May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
M-1 Students at vocational schools May receive permission to work for six months after completion of studies; shown on I-20 ID
M-2 Dependents of M-1's May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
N-8, N-9 Parent or dependent child of individual who has been granted Permanent Residency under special case Can be employed with EAD
NATO Alien from a NATO member country in the U.S. under sponsorship of NATO, for study, research or training Funds limited to NATO
O-1 Alien of extraordinary ability May receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
O-2 Alien with critical skills and experience May receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
O-3 Dependents of O-1's and O-2's May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
P-1 Alien athlete internationally recognized May receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-2 Alien artists or entertainers, individual or group May receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-3 Alien providing essential support to the P-1 and P-2 visa holders May receive payment from the employer who received approval for the visa
P-4 Dependents of P-1's, P-2's, and P-3's May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
R-1 Religious exchange May be paid by the sponsor of the visa only
R-2 Dependent of R-1 May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
S-1 Criminal Witness May be paid by the sponsor of the visa only
TD Dependent of TN May receive no payment whatsoever from any U.S. source
TN Individual from Mexico or Canada-NAFTA May be employed until the date on the I-94
WB (business) Visa waiver program. Can enter the U.S. for 90 days without a visa See B-1
WT (tourist) Visa waiver program See 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, Refugees Those who have been granted asylum or refugee status in the U.S. No limits at all on the employment they may legally hold
Pending Immigrants Those 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 status No limits at all on the employment they may legally hold; will be able to show Resident Alien Card (I-151 or I-551)
Temporary Residents Those who have been approved for legalization in the U.S. after having been here in illegal status for five years or more May 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 Residents Those 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 Aliens Those who entered the U.S. illegally or who lost legal status and are not eligible for legalization Not 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