Personal & Domestic Employees
Please be aware that many domestic employee applicants do not qualify for a visa to enter the United States. The decision to grant a visa is based on the domestic employee's personal situation, not on the needs or qualifications of the employer. The applicant must demonstrate strong family, social, economic, or other ties to a second country to ensure that their visit to the United States will be temporary. Meeting this legal requirement can be difficult for domestic employees because many have already demonstrated a willingness to depart their home country to seek employment abroad.
Click here for information on the rights and protections for temporary workers in the United States.
Each applicant intending to work in the United States as a personal or domestic employee of another nonimmigrant visa holder must bring a contract valid under U.S. law to the interview. The contract must be signed by the employer and the applicant. If a representative is signing on behalf of the employer, bring proof to the interview that this individual has a legal power of attorney and is entitled to sign on behalf of the employer. Each contract must be provided in English. If the applicant does not read English, then a signed copy of the contract written in the applicant's native language must also be provided. It is the responsibility of the applicant to fully understand the contract and to convince the consular officer that both parties will abide by the contract while in the United States.
The contract must contain the following provisions:
- Description of Duties. The contract must describe the work to be performed, e.g., housekeeping, gardening, child care, and also must include a statement that the domestic employee shall work only for the employer who signed the contract.
- Hours of Work. The contract must state the time of the normal working hours and the number of hours per week. It is generally expected that domestic workers will be required to work 35-40 hours per week. It also must state that the domestic employee will be provided a minimum of one full day off each week. The contract must indicate the number of paid holidays, sick days, and vacation days the domestic employee will be provided.
- Minimum Wage. The contract must state the hourly wage to be paid to the domestic employee. The rate must be the greater of the minimum wage under U.S. Federal and state law, or the prevailing wage for all working hours. The contract must state that wages will be paid to the domestic employee either weekly or biweekly, and also state what deductions are to be taken from the wages.
- Overtime Work. The contract must state that any hours worked in excess of the normal number of hours worked per week are considered overtime hours, and that hours in which the employee is "on call" count as work hours. It also must state that such work must be paid as required by U.S. local laws. If the employee does not reside with the employer, overtime for hours in excess of 40 hours per week must be paid at the rate of time and a half.
- Payment. The contract must state that after the first 90 days of employment, all wage payments must be made by check or by electronic transfer to the domestic worker's bank account.
- Transportation to and from the United States. The contract must state that the domestic employee will be provided with transportation to and from the United States.
- Other Required Terms of Employment. The contract must state that the employer agrees to abide by all Federal, State, and local laws in the United States. The contract also must include a statement that the domestic worker's passport and visa will be in the sole possession of the domestic worker. In addition, the contract must state that a copy of the contract and other personal property of the domestic employee will not be withheld by the employer for any reason.
- Other Recommended Terms of Employment. The contract must include a statement that the domestic worker's presence in the employer's residence will not be required except during working hours. The contract may include other agreed-upon terms of employment, if any, provided they are fully consistent with all U.S. Federal, State, and local laws. Any modification to the contract must be in writing.