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How Can I Get a U.S. Work Visa Without a Job Offer?

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Many people want to come to the United States to be able to work in their fields. They believe the job market is strong and that they would be able to earn more money if they were to take a job in this country. But what if you don’t already have a job offer? In most cases, you must have a specific job offer to even be able to apply for a work visa in the United States. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If you don’t have a specific job offer already but you’re interested in your work visa options, call Badmus & Associates. Our attorneys work with immigrants and employers and understand the rules for when you need a job offer and when you don’t. We can help ensure that you are doing everything in accordance with the law and educate you on your options.

Why Is a Job Offer Typically Required for a Work Visa?

A specific job offer from a specific employer is usually required for a work visa because it is the employer who is acting as your sponsor. If you don’t have an employer to file the paperwork to petition for your acceptance as an alien worker, there’s no way to have your visa considered under these options. In some cases, the employer is required to prove that bringing in workers from another country won’t impact jobs for U.S. citizens when they complete this paperwork. The U.S. government wants to ensure that foreign workers aren’t coming in at the expense of citizens being able to find gainful employment.

What Work Visas Don’t Require a Job Offer Before You Can Apply?

If you don’t have a specific job offer — and therefore an employer to sponsor you — the only option for a work-based visa is to apply for one that allows for a self-petition. In this case, you are the one filling out the form and providing all of the information. Below are a few popular visas that allow this option.


The EB-1 visa is a first preference work visa, and the EB-1A visa is a derivative. The EB-1A visa is for those who are of “extraordinary ability.” Qualifying for this visa can be challenging because the requirements are so strict. In general, you will need to be an expert in your field to the extent that you can show that you have won industry awards. These awards can be individual or team awards and can be from any country. You must also generally be a member of an organization that has a high threshold for membership and is not one where you can pay to join. Lastly, those of extraordinary ability are usually expected to have a list of industry publications, such as academic journals or trade magazines, that they have contributed to.

EB-2 National Interest Waiver

The EB-2 visa category is for those who want a work visa based on their academic degree or exceptional ability. The National Interest Waiver is a subset of this visa, which allows for a self-petition instead of needing to be sponsored by an employer. To be eligible for this option, you will need to show that it would be in the national interest to waive the requirement of a job offer.


The O-1 visa is a special visa category that is also based on extraordinary ability. With this option, you must be able to show that you have extraordinary ability in a specific area, including athletics, arts, business, education, the movie or TV industry, or the sciences. How to prove that you have extraordinary ability depends on your field, but in general, the immigration office is looking for national or international recognition and publications.

What Is the Process for Applying for a Work Visa Without a Job Offer?

The process for each of these visa options varies. In general, you will need to fill out the visa self-petition and provide documentation showing that you meet the visa’s requirements for extraordinary ability or national interest. If your visa is approved, you will be able to come to the United States and then apply for permanent resident status. There may also be additional requirements, such as having fingerprinting done or submitting to an interview with an immigration agent.

Take the first step in getting a work visa when you call 214-393-4917 to schedule an appointment with one of the immigration attorneys at Badmus & Associates. Our team is here to help guide you through the process and ensure you understand your rights and options.

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