What is a Visa Sponsorship?

Visa sponsorship is the process by which a foreign national obtains permission to live legally in the United States. A visa sponsor is a person or entity based in the US that is willing to file documentation in support of a visa applicant, as well as take responsibility for the individual for the duration of their visa as a legal working resident of the US.

If you are a company or US employer hoping to hire a foreign national to work at your US-based company, then you are entering the process of sponsorship for employment visa status. It's best to know at the outset that this is a long and arduous process, one that requires patience, organization, and a high level of motivation to hire your new employee.

In order to be successful, visa sponsorship means both the employer and the applicant have to be very committed to the process. Before you embark on visa sponsorship, you should also be sure that the individual you're looking to hire has an exceptional talent or a specialty occupation that can't be easily filled by an American citizen or non-immigrant worker.

With all that in mind, let's take a closer look at the process of employment sponsorship from the employer's point of view.

What does visa sponsorship mean? 

Just because a US company wants to hire a non–US citizen doesn't mean they can. Employment-based visa sponsorship is when an employer or company submits documents to the US government on the applicant's behalf. In other words, your applicant's visa sponsorship depends not just on your willingness to provide them a job offer, but the US government's willingness to grant them an employment visa. There are no guarantees.

What are the different types of employment visas?

There are many different types of employment visas, and applying for the one that best suits your employee and job posting is imperative in order to have a successful application. There are two broad categories employment visas can fall under: Non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas.

Non-immigrant visas are for temporary contracts where the applicant does not intend to pursue permanent residency in the US. In other words, a non-immigrant employment visa does not come with a green card (a permanent residence card) and does not promise a path to permanent residency for foreign nationals.

There are many different employment visas that fall under the non-immigrant visa category, but a popular one is the H-1B visa. This visa allows employers to hire foreign nationals who are skilled workers for a specified period of time. It requires that the applicant hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree or the equivalent and is popular in fields like tech and finance.

Immigrant visas, on the other hand, can lead to permanent residency or green cards. If you are looking to hire a foreign national who wants to become a legal permanent resident—or move an existing employee from a foreign branch in your company to the US permanently—then you'll need to find out which employment-based immigrant visa is most suitable for your situation. This will require research, and the particular visa sponsorship you pursue will depend on the individual circumstances of both the role and your applicant.

What is required for visa sponsorship for employment? 

Arguably the hardest part of visa sponsorship is when a company has to justify hiring a foreign national, rather than an American citizen, to fill the job in question. As part of this process, an employer may need to post a job listing to prove that there is no suitable applicant already living in the United States. They must then file proof of all this information—known as a Labor Condition Application—along with other documentation to the Department of Labor, which will determine whether or not they are permitted to hire a foreign national to fulfill the role.

In addition to sending this proof to the Department of Labor, a visa sponsor must also submit a visa application to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the applicant. Depending on what type of visa your applicant is applying for, you may also need to enter the lottery for that visa type, as there are a set amount of employment visas granted each year.

What are the necessary documents for a visa sponsorship?

In the visa sponsorship process, you'll often hear about a 'letter of support' or a visa sponsorship letter. This is not actually a letter, but rather a collection of sponsorship documents that the visa sponsor must file to the USCIS on behalf of their applicant.

Included in these supporting documents should be the justification of why the visa sponsor needs to hire a non–US citizen to fit their company's hiring needs. The exact collection of documents will depend on the type of visa your applicant is applying for, and close adherence to submission guidelines is essential.

Always travel well-informed with CIBTvisas

As you can see, the process of visa sponsorship is complex, arduous, and time consuming. It's almost always the case that you'll need a professional to guide you through it. An experienced visa specialist can help you navigate the complexities of border-crossing requirements. Contact CIBTvisas for a quote today. 

Travel well-informed with CIBTvisas 

An experienced visa specialist can help you navigate the complexities of border crossing requirements. Contact CIBTvisas for a quote today.

Stay Up To Date

Stay up to date on the latest travel news from the experts at CIBTvisas.

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Job Title: