Agency Sponsored Work Visas


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
July 23, 2021 When Superseded 2   9   10   36   38  


When there is a shortage of U.S. workers to fill certain jobs, agencies may elect to hire eligible foreign nationals to meet operational requirements. In other instances, agencies may wish to sponsor a qualifying candidate for U.S. permanent residency. This issuance provides information on certain conditions under which an agency may hire foreign nationals, and the process for commencing sponsorship for permanent residency. Agencies that choose to sponsor a foreign national for an employment-based visa or permanent residency take on the responsibility for the process and associated costs. The D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) does not provide legal or other guidance on immigration issues and agencies pursuing these processes may wish to consult an immigration attorney.

NOTE: This issuance supersedes DPM Instruction No. 8-60, 9-30, 10-11, 36-7, & 38-17, Employer-Sponsored Work Visas, effected September 9, 2008. As an additional reminder, the District government is required by federal law to verify the employment authorization of all employees through the Form I-9 process (I-2021-4.)

Short-Term Employment of Foreign Nationals

Agencies who wish to hire a foreign national when there is a shortage of available U.S. workers may file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the prospective employee. Certain visa types may require additional process approvals. Upon approval of the I-129 petition, the prospective employee may apply for admission to the United States, or for a change of nonimmigrant status while in the United States, to temporarily work or receive training. Please refer to the provided USCIS guidance for additional information.

For internal tracking purposes, subordinate agencies who plan to petition for an employment-based visa for an individual must inform DCHR of the hire at least one (1) pay period before the individual’s employment commences by using the provided online form. Agencies should prepare the following information for entry on the form:

  1. Prospective employee’s name;
  2. Position title;
  3. Type of visa required;
  4. Recruitment and outreach efforts conducted for the position; and
  5. The basis for the decision to sponsor the individual.

Agencies and prospective employees must meet all immigration and other legal requirements before the individual’s employment begins. Agencies are not authorized to continue employment of the employee once their visa has expired. 

Sponsoring a Foreign National for Permanent Residency

Agencies may sponsor a foreign national to become a permanent resident based on a permanent job offer for employment in a qualifying category by filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers with USCIS. Depending on the category there may be other requirements as well, such as labor certification approval. Employees must meet all federal requirements to be eligible for sponsorship. For more information please refer to the provided USCIS guidance.

Associated Costs and Fees

The employing agency will cover all costs and fees associated with preparing and filing for employer-sponsored work visas and sponsorships for permanent residency (unless otherwise required under federal immigration law).

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on July 28, 2021, 12:11 p.m.