Domestic Employee Visa

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Overview

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following an employer to the United States may be eligible for B-1 visas. This category of domestic employees includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers' helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

Those accompanying or following to join an employer who is a foreign diplomat or government official may be eligible for an A-3 or G-5 visa, depending upon their employer's visa status.

Qualifications

If you are a domestic employee and wish to apply for a B-1 visa, you must demonstrate that:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for work as a domestic employee
  • You plan to remain in the U.S. for a specific, limited period of time
  • Your employer meets certain qualifications
  • You have evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad
  • You have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure you return abroad at the end of your contract.

Accompanying a Nonimmigrant Visa Holder

If you are a domestic employee and wish to accompany or join an employer who is not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and who seeks admission to, or who is already in, the United States under a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R nonimmigrant visa then you may be eligible for a B-1 visa classification, provided:

  1. You have at least one year's experience as a personal or domestic employee as attested to by statements from previous employers
  2. You have been employed outside the United States by your employer for at least one year prior to the date of your employer's admission to the United States, or
  3. Your employer-employee relationship existed immediately prior to the time of your employer's application, andyour employer can demonstrate that he/she regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) domestic help over a period of years preceding the time of their application
  4. You will have no other work, and will receive free room and board and round trip airfare from your employer as indicated under the terms of the employment contract

Accompanying an American Citizen

Personal or domestic employees who are accompanying or following to join U.S. citizen employers temporarily assigned to the United States may be eligible for a B-1 visa classification provided that:

  1. The employee has a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning;
  2. The alien has been employed abroad by the employer as a personal or domestic servant for at least six months prior to the date of the employer’s admission to the United States OR the employer can show that while abroad the employer has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity as that intended for the applicant;
  3. The employee can demonstrate at least one year experience as a personal or domestic servant by producing statements from previous employers attesting to such experience; and
  4. The employee is in possession of an original contract or a copy of the contract, to be presented at the port of entry, which contains the original signatures of both the employer and the employee.
  5. The U.S. citizen employer is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more as a condition of the job as confirmed by the employer’s personnel office and is returning to the United States for a stay of no more than six years.  The employer will be the only provider of employment to the domestic employee, and will provide the employee free room and board and a round trip airfare as indicated under the terms of the employment contract; and
  6. The required employment contract has been signed and dated by the employer and employee and contains a guarantee from the employer that, in addition to the provisions listed in item (2) above, the employee will receive the minimum or prevailing wages whichever is greater for an eight hour work-day.  The employment contract must also reflect any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment.  The employer will give at least two weeks’ notice of his or her intent to terminate the employment, and the employee need not give more than two weeks’ notice of intent to leave the employment

Employment Contract Requirements for B-1 Visa Holders

As a domestic employee applying for a B-1 visa, you must present an employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, which includes:

  • A description of your duties in the U.S.
  • The number of hours you will work each week
  • The number of authorized holidays, vacation and sick days per year
  • The regular day(s) off each week
  • The rate of pay, which must be at least the prevailing or minimum wage per hour under Federal law (whichever is greater) where you will be employed for all hours of duty. Current minimum wages throughout the U.S. are found here and current prevailing wages can be found here.
  • A certification that you will receive free room and board
  • A certification that your employer will ensure that you do not become a public charge while working for your employer
  • A certification that you will not accept any other employment while working for your employer
  • A certification that your employer will not withhold your passport
  • A certification that both parties understand that you cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation
  • A certification that your employer will pay your initial travel expenses to the U.S. and subsequently to your employer's onward assignment, or to your country of normal residence at termination. 

For a sample employment contract, click here

Application Items

To apply for a B-1 domestic employee visa, you must be prepared to submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpagefor more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreementsprovide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph. This pagehas information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This pagehas more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • A copy of your employer's visa or other method they will use to enter the United States (their Visa Waiver country passport or U.S. passport)
  • An employment contract, signed by both you and your employer, which meets all requirements listed above.

How to Apply

Step 1
Pay the visa application fee.

Step 2
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • Your MRV fee payment receipt number
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Please read Step 4 before choosing an interview date.

Step 4

In addition to the qualifications above, applicants must send the following information to ManilaB1domestic@state.gov ten (10) business days before the interview appointment:

  1. The subject line of your email must be: (LAST NAME, First Name) B1 DOMESTIC INFORMATION
  2. Include in the body of the email:
  • Applicant’s complete name including middle name and date of birth
  • Each city and state of intended employment (in the US)
  • Employer’s and spouse’s complete name, including middle name (and that of any family member with whom the applicant might travel)
  • Employer’s and spouse’s date of birth (and that of any family member with whom the applicant might travel)
  • Employer’s and spouse’s nationality (and that of any family member with whom the applicant might travel). If employer is an American Citizen, please provide documents demonstrating the American Citizen’s residency status abroad.
  • Applicant’s interview appointment date and time, if available (the interview time slot for domestic employees is at 7:30 a.m. only.)

Failure to comply with the requirements above will invalidate an applicant’s appointment even if he/she comes to the Embassy.  An applicant will not be interviewed and he/she will be asked to reschedule.

Step 5
Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, your current passport and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

For more information regarding requirements and how to apply, click here

Important Reminders

  • While it is not required, we encourage the employer to accompany the domestic employee to the interview to ensure compliance with U.S. labor laws.  It may not be necessary for an officer to interview an employer.  For identification purposes, the employer must bring his/her passport with valid U.S. visa.  The employer need not book a separate appointment to accompany the domestic employee to the interview.
  • In certain cases, additional documents may be requested.
  • All documents must be original.  Photocopies will not be accepted, unless specified.  The applicant must submit these documents to the interviewing consular officer during the interview.  The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit does not accept documents before the interview.  Any document received will not be returned and will be destroyed.  Please note, however, that presentation of the documents will not guarantee visa issuance.  Applicants must still qualify under INA Section 214(b).

Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers in the United States

  • Learn and know about your rights and protections as a temporary worker in the United States.
    Read more here