Domestic employees applying for visas to accompany, or follow to join, their employer must meet specific criteria. This includes cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housekeepers, nannies, caretakers, gardeners, and paid companions, among others.
See below eligibility requirements:
The employer is a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) holder
- The employer must have a valid nonimmigrant visa in B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P or Q nonimmigrant status.
- The domestic employee must have a residence outside of the United States which they have no intent to abandon.
- The domestic employee must have at least one year of experience as a domestic employee.
- The domestic employee must have been employed by this employer for at least one year prior to the travel date (if accompanying the employer), or one year prior to the employer’s admission to the United States (if following to join.) or;
- The employer must have a history of employing domestic help over several years.
The employer is a U.S. Citizen
- The U.S. citizen employer must have a permanent home or be stationed outside of the United States. Employees can’t qualify for a B1 visa if the U.S. citizen employer will live permanently in the United States.
- The domestic employee must have at least one year of work experience as a domestic employee.
- The domestic employee must have been employed by this employer outside of the United States for at least six months prior to the travel date (if accompanying the employer) or one year prior to the employer’s admission to the United States (if following to join) or;
- The employer must have a history of employing domestic help in the same role while outside of the United States.
The employer has an official visa
Employers with a valid A, G, or C3 visas may apply for a visa for their domestic employees by following the official visas process.
Note: Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and U.S. citizens who live in the United States cannot sponsor a B1 domestic employee.
APPLY FOR A B1 DOMESTIC VISA
Domestic employees follow the same application process found in the ‘Apply for a Visa’ section on the nonimmigrant visa page.
Employers don’t need to accompany employees to their interview; however, the consular officer may request that the employer appear.
The domestic employee must present these documents during their visa interview:
- Standard U.S. visa application documents – see ‘Required Documents’.
- The employer’s valid visa or employer’s valid U.S. passport – The original or a copy.
- Employment contract
Required elements of the employment contract
Applications for B1 visas for domestic workers or personal employees must include an employment contract in a language understood by the employee, dated and signed by the employer and the employee. The contract must include the following provisions:
- If the employer is a United States citizen residing abroad or on temporary assignment in the United States, the employer must provide any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment;
- The employee will receive the greater of the minimum or prevailing wage under U.S. federal, state, or local law for an eight-hour workday. The state minimum wage can be found at https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm. The prevailing wages can be found at http://www.flcdatacenter.com/oeswizardstart.aspx;
- The employee will receive free room and board;
- If the employer is a foreign national, the employer will pay the employee’s initial travel expenses to the U.S. and to the employer’s next assignment, or to the employee’s country of residence at the end of the employment, as applicable;
- If the employer is a United States citizen residing abroad or on temporary assignment in the United States, the employer will provide round trip airfare;
- The employer will be the only provider of employment to the domestic employee;
- If the employer is a United States citizen residing abroad or on temporary assignment in the United States, the employer will give at least two weeks’ notice of their intent to terminate the employment, and the employee is not required to give more than two weeks’ notice of their intent to leave the employment.
This model B1 visa domestic employee contract is provided as a guide to applicants. The use of this model B1 visa domestic employee contract is voluntary. The provisions of the model B1 visa domestic employee contract mirror the requirements set forth in 9 FAM 402.2-5(D). Use of this model B1 visa domestic employee contract does not guarantee the issuance of a visa. Consular officers deny or approve visa applications based on the application of the Immigration and Nationality Act or other provisions of U.S. law. All visa applications are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
Know Your Rights: As a temporary worker in the United States, you are entitled to legal protections to ensure a safe and healthy experience. Prior to your interview, please read this pamphlet (English or Portuguese) to learn about your rights and the resources available to you while working in the United States.