If you are a foreign national seeking to live in the US, it may be helpful to learn more about the process for obtaining a work permit and visa. While the US government offers many opportunities to obtain visas, it can be challenging to determine which option is best for your situation.
In this article, we outline your options for living and working in the US, as well as steps you can take to get started.
How to apply for a job in the US
There are three ways to obtain a visa when planning to move and work in the United States. You can get it through sponsorship, apply for a temporary work visa, or apply for a green card.
For more information, visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Here are the steps for all three methods.
Apply for a job.
First, apply for a job in your home country. Start by creating an American-style resume and cover letter. You can demonstrate to your future employer your ability to adapt to the new environment.
Be sure to include only relevant experience, list numbers about your professional achievements, and specify your level of English.
You can search for companies on the Internet and create an account on job search sites or contact recruitment agencies if you already have several years of experience.
Employers often schedule interviews online or by phone for candidates who live outside of the US Also, participate in the interview in a quiet, clean space. It is best to prepare some statements and rehearse before the interview.
A temporary visa is one that you need to renew regularly. Most work visas are issued by the employer, so your employer must apply for a nonimmigrant visa. Here are the steps to take after accepting a job offer:
Make a request, if necessary. Your employer must file a petition on your behalf with USCIS if you are not yet eligible. You do not need a petition in certain categories. If you are involved in international trade or investment, you do not need an employer petition to be eligible.
Visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for more information.
Wait for your employer’s petition to be approved. USCIS needs to approve your employer’s petition before you can apply for a visa. If you do not wait for approval, your request will be denied.
The waiting time depends on the category of worker in which you are. Since certain categories are limited to issuing a specific number of visas per year, the approval process may take a few years but may vary depending on the visa category.
Apply for a temporary visa. Once the petition is approved, gather the necessary documents, such as a passport, and travel and work history, and complete an online application. Be sure to note down your Application ID number so you can access it later.
The application is in English and requires information about your work history, education, and criminal record. Follow the instructions in the app and answer each question completely and accurately.
The application will ask you to submit an application fee and schedule a visa appointment with the nearest US embassy/consulate.
Interview with the Embassy or Consulate of the United States. The purpose of the visa interview is to verify that you qualify for the visa. They collect the visa application fee, review your original documents, take your fingerprints, and confirm or deny your application.
Get your visa. Once approved, you can return a few weeks later to collect your passport with a visa stamp. There may be additional charges, so please ask about all charges.
A green card is a document that authorizes a foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. Potential immigrants have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence through an annual green card lottery program called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
You can apply for the green card lottery online. The program randomly selects applicants and distributes approximately 50,000 green cards each year.
Ask your employer to fill out Form I-140. Your employer needs to file an immigration petition. Petitions may require certification from the United States Department of Labor. The employer may seek legal advice from an immigration attorney.
Ask for your priority date. When they file an immigration petition, employers receive a notice from USCIS with their priority date. This date determines your enrollment date. It is essential to know this because your application will be rejected if you apply before this date.
Look on the government website for the filing table to see when you can submit your application based on your priority date.
Get a medical exam. You can find an approved doctor on the USCIS website and make an appointment for a medical exam. The purpose of this visit is to verify that you meet health-related standards.
Complete your application. You can download Form I-485 from the USCIS website and complete it. Give honest answers and consider seeking the advice of an immigration attorney if you need help.
Submit your application. To do this, make a copy of the requested official documents and submit them according to the instructions on the USCIS website. Please note that there are application fees.
Interview and biometrics. USCIS asks you to provide your fingerprints, signature, and photographs. They may also invite you for an interview with the embassy.
They communicate the date and time of these appointments as soon as they receive your request. The purpose of the interview is to verify the answers you provided on your application.
Receive the decision. Common reasons for denied applications include missing documents, unclear information, or documents submitted after the deadline.
Tips for finding a job in the United States
No rush. Be sure to start the process early, as acquiring a visa can take a long time. Check eligibility. Review the eligibility requirements before applying for a visa to work in the US.
Beware of scams. Please note that there are no fees to access the forms, although there are fees to submit applications and petitions.
Check the visa process before applying. You can check the Visa Bulletins for updates on the visa process and the evolution of immigration laws.
USA Job Sites For Foreigners
Americas Job Exchange