Information on Working in the US for Foreign Nationals

US Work Visa Requirements and Employer Sponsorship Programs

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There are many opportunities for foreign nationals to be employed in the US. It can be a rewarding experience to live and work in another country, experience another culture, and meet new people. Some people choose to come to the United States for education and employment on a permanent basis, and others come for a specified period of time.

Depending on what your career goals are, the type of visa and work permit you need will vary.

The United States Embassy website has a lot of information to help you determine what types of documentation you will need, and how to apply.

All employers in the United States are required to verify that anyone they hire is authorized to work in the country. US citizens as well as foreign nationals must present proper documentation as a part of the hiring process. Make sure that you obtain the appropriate permit for the type of job you are applying for.

Information on Working in the US for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals who are not American citizens or lawful permanent residents of the US need a work visa, as well as a permit to work, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), in order to work in the USA.

Prior to coming to the USA to work, you will need to obtain a visa from the US Embassy or Consulate in your country or the country that is closest to your residence abroad.

Here's a directory of US Embassies and Consulates.

Visa Requirements

If you want to work in the US temporarily you will need a specific visa based on the purpose of your travel and type of work you will be doing. In order to obtain a visa, you will need to meet specific requirements to qualify for a temporary work visa under immigration law.

The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa.

In addition, your prospective employer must generally file a non-immigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services).

US companies must file Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Employer Sponsorship Programs

US Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visas are for individuals approved to participate in work and study based exchange visitor programs. Participants in these programs can access a list of organizations that will sponsor their visa and information on applying online. Here's more information on US Exchange Visitor visas.

For other workers, visa sponsorship varies depending on the type of employment you are interested in i.e. seasonal work or temporary work, and the skills and experience you have.

For workers seeking permanent US residency, a green card, formally known as United States Lawful Permanent Residency, authorizes an individual to live and work in the United States permanently.

Individuals seeking a green card through a job can apply while abroad once they are assigned an immigrant visa number. Here's more information on employment based green cards.

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