Can I Apply for My Work Authorization if I Have a Valid Tourist Visa?

If you want to obtain employment authorization, there are eligibility requirements. When you come here on a tourist visa, you are not eligible. The employment visa is a different type of visa with a different purpose and application process. If you do work without authorization, that can negatively impact future visa applications.

A visa is a conditional authorization for a person who is not a citizen to enter territory and remain there for a limited duration and for a specific purpose. Tourist and work visas have a different duration and purpose. Tourist visas are issued for a limited period of leisure travel and no business or employment activities are permitted while in the United States on this type of visa. To obtain an employment visa, a prospective employer must file a petition and an approved petition is necessary to apply for a work visa. A visa can be revoked at any time, particularly if the holder does not adhere to visa restrictions.

The United States grants 140,000 employment-based visas each year. These are divided among five categories based on the current need for employees in each category. Some people are ineligible for visas though there are waivers available. Some reasons why an applicant would be ineligible include:

  • Communicable diseases
  • Criminal activities
  • Involvement in terrorism
  • Having a severe, dangerous mental-health disorder.

If you have questions about tourist or employment visa applications, restrictions or waivers, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney.

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Contact us for an initial consultation. 

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