Work Visa vs. Work Permit—Ohio

Is there a difference between a work visa and a work permit? Ohio immigration services like The Costas Network Law Center, LLC, see many applicants confusing
these categories. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants as many as 675,000 immigrants from all over the world permission to work
in the United States every year, and some professional guidance goes a long way.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952 encompass work-based visas and others, including spousal, student, and religious worker visas. Both a work visa and a work permit in Ohio allow foreign nationals to find legal employment within the U.S. Below are a few important steps to complete an application to get a work
permit in Ohio or another state.

The Difference Between a Work Visa and Work Permit

The government will issue a visa as a travel document that allows a person to enter the country for a specific period with certain permissions, including short-term work.
Immigration authorities of the destination country issue a visa at a port of entry on the day or prior to the person traveling in their country of origin.

In Ohio, work permits require some significant administrative and legal differences compared to general visas. Work permits represent stringent authorization
documents, usually paperwork that the immigration authority will issue for long-term employment (often through prospective employers). Permits specify the
employment conditions required for the person arriving from abroad, including for working hours, caps, and so on.

Both a work visa and work permit expire, and both require complete and accurate renewals under the law to remain valid from the first day to the last.

Four Types of Work Visa or Permit Options in Ohio

Foreign nationals can explore several ways to get a work permit in Ohio, including job-specific visas or permits with different eligibility criteria and application
processes. The U.S. covers four general categories for employment visas or permits, including in Ohio:

  1. Temporary Visit (Business)
  2. Student and Exchange Visitors
  3. Permanent (Immigrant) Workers
  4. Temporary Non-immigrant Workers

Services like The Costas Network Law Center, LLC, can assist with most of these applications—feel free to contact the team for more information.

#1 Temporary Visit Business Visa

Reasons to complete short-term visa applications might include:

  • negotiating or signing a contract in person
  • attending a business conference or event
  • settling an estate

There are three primary choices in this category:

WB Temporary Business Visitor Waiver Program

Foreign nationals from 39 State Department-specified countries can access rights to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes for 90 days or less without a visa.
Eligible countries include most EU countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, and Chile. Check the State Department website for a full list.

B-1 Visa

B-1 visas are for short-term business, typically over one to six months with a possible six-month extension.

GB Temporary Visitor to Guam Visa

Residents of the U.S. overseas territories (Northern Mariana Islands and Guam) use this visa to enter the U.S. for a maximum 45-day stay with proof of a return ticket.

#2 Student and Exchange Visitors Visa

Academic, vocational, and educational or cultural exchange program students are eligible to complete applications for this visa.

F Visa

The F-1 visa is for full-time academic students at accredited academic institutions, allowing foreign students to live and work in the U.S. while they study. Students can
work for an off-campus employer from the second academic year with restricted working hours. Students or minors need a pre-application form from their potential
employer indicating the hours they will complete.

Applicants attach the list of required documents with the completed application to obtain a student work permit (or minor work permit). Anyone can download and
complete the application form at the Ohio Department of Commerce website.

M Visa

The M visa applies to vocational or non-academic students (except language training programs).

J Visa

The completed application for a J visa applies to students in work- and study-based programs. These include roles like:

  • camp counselors,
  • au pairs,
  • interns, or
  • trainees.

It is mandatory to show English proficiency and a demonstrable contribution to cultural exchange during the study-based program.

#3 Permanent (Immigrant) Workers Visa

When it comes to a work permit, Ohio-based immigrants with the right job-specific skills can apply under the permanent (immigrant) section (including applications
that cover their immediate families). There are approximately 140,000 employment-based green cards available every year. Immigration authorities could
eventually issue these immigrants with permanent residence in the U.S., provided they have:

  • above-board education
  • immigration records
  • skillset
  • eligibility

Applicants must have existing offers of employment from a U.S. Department of Labor-certified employer, where hiring does not disadvantage a citizen’s working
hours or job-seeking process.

  • First Preference EB-1 applies to immigrants with “extraordinary ability,” such as actors, athletes, scientists, researchers, or business leaders.
  • Second Preference EB-2 includes foreign nationals with advanced degrees or who prove ten or more years of experience in a specific field.
  • Third Preference EB-3 covers bachelor’s degree holders and skilled or unskilled laborers with a temporary employment offer from a U.S. employer.
  • Fourth Preference EB-4 includes, but is not limited to, religious workers, U.S. Foreign Service post employees, non-citizen minors who are wards of a
    U.S. court, and retired employees of international organizations, such as the United Nations.
  • Fifth Preference EB-5 encompasses the Immigrant Investor Program and applies to people who can invest:
    • $900,000 in a targeted employment area to employ ten or more full-time hours workers
    • $1.8 million in a new venture that employs ten or more full-time hours U.S. workers

#4 Temporary Non-Immigrant Workers Visa

This employer-sponsored visa section applies to immigrants looking to work for a fixed period. The section allows immigrants to get a work permit when they
complete a work visa pre-application form prior to traveling to the United States.

Each sub-section requires slightly different parameters for this work permit (Ohio and other areas):

H Visas

In the section for 3-year H-1B visas, applicants hail from academic or professional fields. There is also a section for 1-year H-2A and H-2B visas for seasonal
(temporary) workers, and H-3 visas for people training with a U.S. employer (except graduate doctor training).

L Visa

Immigrants transferring temporarily within the company may apply for an L Visa (work permit). Ohio caps this at one to three years.

I Visa

The I visa section covers foreign press (journalists, editors, and film crew) who perform duties on behalf of an employer (a foreign media outlet).

P Visa

As an event-based section, this visa applies to artistic or athletic experts who perform in-country.

O Visa

The O visa section includes extraordinary achievements or abilities (including the person’s family members). A famous example is Albert Einstein.

R Visa

The R visa is for non-immigrant religious workers in a religious organization or non-profit.


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) permits citizens of Canada and Mexico to work under temporary professional business arrangements on behalf of their company.

USCIS Work Permit: How to Apply to a Work Visa in Ohio

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit. Ohio-based foreign nationals may
work in the U.S. for any employer with no restrictions under this work permit. Foreign nationals can obtain it when they file Form I-765 with USCIS if they already
live and work in the U.S, whether temporary employees or permanent or sponsored employees.

Temporary employees require U.S. non-immigrant visas, while permanent or sponsored employees need a U.S. immigrant visa. There are prior conditions to a
work permit (Ohio or another state), including:

  • A valid job offer from a U.S. employer
  • Department of Labor (DOL) approval
  • An approved USCIS work petition (I-129 form) for your employer to sign and file (the U.S. Embassy holds final discretion for applicants from abroad)

H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, and H-2B work visas require the employer to have a DOL-certification (the employer should file this before a USCIS petition). It provides proof
that U.S employers require foreign workers because there are no locals to fill the full-time hours or citizens seeking similar jobs. A completed application from abroad
should include:

  • Valid passport for the entire duration plus six months after returning home
  • U.S. visa photo uploaded to the form online
  • Confirmation page for a completed Non-immigrant Visa Pre-Application (DS-160 Form)
  • Receipt Number for employers’ approved Petition for Non-immigrant Worker (Form I-129)
  • Visa application fee receipt
  • Proof of intention to return to the country of origin after work ends (e.g., residence in a home country, family relationships, financial ability, long-term

L Visa applicants must also fill in Form I-129S (Non-immigrant Petition Blanket L Petition) for consideration for a work permit in Ohio.

Applying for a work visa or completing the work permit process from abroad may require additional documentation, such as a copy of a birth certificate or a
physician’s certificate after a physical exam. It might also require employer records and work hours that an employer will need to sign and submit to the issuing officer
to get a work permit on an employee’s behalf.

Tips to Complete the Application for a Work Permit—Ohio

The information on Form DS-160 form must be accurate and in English for a successful work permit application. The issuing officer requires that applicants complete the work permit application fully—a local U.S. Embassy will be able to assist with details about the application process.

The Costas Network Law Center, LLC, recommends the following considerations for applicants who complete the work permit application as a student or minor already
resident in the state of Ohio:

  • Check and download the relevant form at the Ohio Department of Commerce website
  • Complete the first page of the work permit application. Minors will need parents or legal guardians to append a signature in the student section.
  • Leave the “Proof of Age” section blank for school officials to complete and sign.
  • Ask a doctor to complete and sign the second page of the form prior to placement. The application will be invalid unless a doctor completes this
    second page of the work permit application and attaches a copy of a Physician’s Certificate detailing the physical exam (the Physician’s Certificate
    on the second page proves the physical exam’s timeline).
  • The YCS 365 office will complete the Pledge of Employers section on the completed application. Middle School students may need to visit the state
    board or district high school office during working hours for an Age and Schooling Certificate.
  • School officials will then complete the Proof of Age section on the work permit. Ohio schools typically need 24 to 48 hours’ notice to complete this
  • Permits are job-specific and non-transferable. If the YCS 365 changes, applicants must receive a new permit to retain a job.
  • Check permitted work hours with the school and the list of personal and employer-provided documents to complete and sign prior to submitting your
    application, including a birth certificate or other ID, Physician’s Certificate, employer form, and school attestation to ensure you get a work permit in

A person must receive their permit prior to the first day of work.

Call Our Ohio Work Permit Attorney to Start a Work Permit Application

Starting work in the U.S. is an exciting prospect for many people worldwide, but it is essential to apply for the right work permit. Ohio work permit applications are
similar to other areas, but each document needs to check the right boxes for a chance to succeed. At The Costas Network Law Center, LLC, we advise on how to
obtain a work permit in the United States before the first day of work and help applicants navigate complex legal statutes surrounding the work permits process.

Since 2012, our legal professionals have helped thousands of immigrants and other clients obtain the right work permit (application process details differ) and collate
family immigration records. Our professionals receive requests to handle immigration records, work permit application process glitches, and removal defense in Ohio. Immigration lawyers like us help applicants obtain sound legal advice on immigration rights, including:

  • employer authorization for both a temporary and permanent work visa,
  • permitted work hours, and
  • all relevant documents to sign and submit.

Call (216) 616 3103 or email today to consult an Ohio immigration lawyer about your work permit application
process or for help with a work permit in Ohio.


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