Depending on your career goals, you may need a different form of visa and work permit. There are many options for foreign nationals who wish to work in the United States, including employment-based green cards (permanent residence), study and exchange visas, and temporary and seasonal work visas.
There is a wide range of work opportunities in the United States for foreign nationals. Living and working in another country, immersing yourself in a different culture and meeting new people can be a wonderful experience. Some come to the United States permanently for education and work, while others come only for a specific period of time.
Here you will find information about working in the United States, including work visas, green cards and the green card lottery, as well as tips on how to avoid visa fraud. Since the visa application process can take a long time, you should apply well in advance of your intended entry date.
How to obtain a work visa in the United States
To work in the United States, foreign nationals who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents must apply for a work visa and Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Several types of work visas are available for foreign nationals who wish to work in the United States, including temporary work visas, seasonal work visas and exchange worker visas.
You must first apply for a visa at the United States embassy or consulate in your home country or the country closest to your foreign residence before you can travel to the United States to work.
Learn about the many types of work visas available in the United States, the requirements for each, and how to apply for a visa to work in the United States.
Workers with permission to work in the United States
Foreign workers who are allowed to work in the United States include permanent immigrant workers, temporary (non-immigrant) workers, and students and exchange workers.
Exchange Visitor Visa
U.S. Green Card holders
Temporary Work Visas for Skilled Workers
Temporary work visas for non-agricultural activities
Visas for seasonal agricultural workers
Obtaining a Green Card
A green card, actually called United States Lawful Permanent Residency, allows workers to live and work in the United States forever.
However, some categories require a certification from the US Department of Labour that there are not enough able, willing, qualified and available American workers in the geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed and that no American workers are to be displaced by foreign workers.
The annual green card lottery (Diversity Immigrant Visa Program) gives potential immigrants the chance to settle permanently in the United States. Each year, the programme awards up to 50,000 green cards to applicants who are randomly selected in a lottery known as the Green Card Lottery. Those who wish to apply for the Green Card Lottery can do so online.
How to get a social security card
If you are a non-US citizen and want to work in the United States, you will need a Social Security number to do so.
How to get a work permit in the United States?
People who are neither US citizens nor legal permanent residents need a work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to prove their ability to work in the country. An EAD is required in addition to the work visa required to enter the United States.
Verification of work eligibility
If you are hired for a job in the United States, you must prove that you are eligible to work in the United States. Workers must complete Form I-9 to prove their eligibility to work in the United States.
Avoid visa fraud in the United States
When looking for work in the United States, beware of scammers who promise to help you obtain a visa. It is important to know that there are no fees for applying for a work visa in the United States or for obtaining application documents or instructions from the US government.
Three tips to help you stay ahead of the pack
There’s no need to worry. Luckily, there are some things you CAN do to work around this flawed system and land your dream job!
Use it in a specific way.
When a job search doesn’t yield quick results and there is little feedback (which is almost always the case), some people go crazy and apply to anything they can find online.
This will not help to fix the problem. Instead, take some time to research the companies you want to work for and the issues they face. Be sure to highlight comparable challenges you have overcome in the past on your CV.
A direct contact with the recruiter on LinkedIn and a personal cover letter are much more effective than an online application. You will succeed if you can find out what keeps them up at night and how you can help them by hiring them.
Improve the headline and summary of your LinkedIn profile.
What you have to offer should be reflected in your LinkedIn headline.
Your current/desired working title is a great starting point, but make sure you use the full 120 characters to appear in as many recruiter searches as possible. For every term you leave out, you lose 10 to 20 search listings per week.
Although some people use amusing terms like “guru” or “ninja” to characterise themselves, in practice this is not recommended as recruiters would never search for these terms.
The summary is another option. You should use these 2000 characters to distinguish yourself and show some individuality. Your summary should be similar to an elevator pitch. It is best if you write it in the first person.
When you have an interview, don’t drop everything.
Too many people stop applying and getting in touch as soon as they are invited for an interview.
This is not a good plan! A telephone or face-to-face interview is a long way from a job offer, and anything can happen in the meantime. An internal candidate could be hired (you’d be surprised how often this happens after an online job posting), finances could be frozen, there could be a restructuring that changes the hiring team and objectives, or they can’t agree on a candidate and the process is put on hold.