USA and the UK
Who is eligible to work in the US?
U.S. citizens and green card holders are eligible to work in the U.S. without needing to apply for work authorization permission.
If a foreign citizen wishes to come to the United States for employment purposes, they must apply for the appropriate visa category and receive sponsorship from an eligible U.S.-based employer.
There are some other categories of individuals who are eligible to work in the U.S. but must apply for a work permit.
The requirements for each work visa regularly changes and it is important to be aware of the eligibility criteria for each category.
As with all visa categories, there are several stages that you must follow if you wish to be approved for entry to the US and undertake paid employment.
An individual who has been granted permission to work in the United States will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The EAD resembles a driver’s license and outlines the holder’s restrictions when it comes to working in the U.S.
Permanent residence work visa
Many applicants will choose to apply for a permanent work visa. This means that the holder will be granted a green card to work in the United States.
Becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States brings with it many rights and freedoms.
All the permanent residence work visas are issued in chronological order. When the annual limit for your category is reached, you need to wait until the following year. You can visit the visa bulletin to check your application status anytime once you have submitted your request.
Employment-based green cards
First Preference (EB-1): This green card has been designed for individuals who can demonstrate special abilities in certain disciplines. The standard is quite high for this category of green card. For example, those who have been awarded Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prizes or won notable awards in their fields
Second Preference (EB-2): This category is for individuals who hold an advanced degree and can prove exceptional ability. There are three tiers within this category (advanced degree, exceptional ability, and national interest waiver).
Third Preference (EB-3): Skilled workers from outside the US are eligible for this visa category if they have a minimum of two years of experience and a university degree.
Fourth Preference (EB-4): This visa category is for religious workers, special immigrant juveniles, broadcasters, G-4 international organization, NATO-6 employees and family members, US government international employees, armed forces members, and some other eligible candidates
Fifth Preference (EB-5): This green card is for individuals who intend to invest between $500,000 and $1 million into a business in the United States that will create at least ten new jobs for U.S. citizens or other green card holders.
How do you apply for a green card?
There is no single application route for a green card, as it depends on the way that you have applied.
In most cases, the employer (also known as the sponsor) completes and files Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) approval notice and seeks permission to employ foreign citizens on a permanent basis.
If the petition is approved by USCIS, the individual may apply for their green card by submitting Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
Following this, you may be asked to attend an appointment to provide your biometric information (facial photograph, fingerprints, and signature).
After this, there may be an immigration interview and you will then receive a decision on your application.
In some instances, you may be allowed to bring your spouse and children with you. After they enter the country, they can apply for a work permit or permanent residence.
Temporary worker visas
For people who wish to work in the U.S. on a short-term basis only, there are a number of nonimmigrant routes available with a temporary work visa.
H-1B Visa (Person in Specialty Occupation): For individuals who hold a higher education degree, and/or individuals with distinguished merit and ability in certain fields
H-1B1 (Free Trade Agreement Professional, Chile, Singapore): For eligible applicants with four years of study in their field of specialization
H-2A (Temporary Agricultural Worker): Designed for applicants to work in the U.S. for the purposes of temporary or seasonal agricultural work. This category is limited to certain countries
H-2B (Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker): For temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work, open to individuals from specific countries
H-3 (Trainee or Special Education Visitor): The purpose of this visa is to allow individuals seeking training (in a field other than graduate medicine or academia) that is unavailable in their home country
I Visa (Representatives of Foreign Media): The temporary work visa for journalists or those in the information or media sector who wish to undertake some temporary assignment in the U.S.
L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee): Allows an employee of a multinational company to work in a U.S. branch of that company
P-1 Visa (Individual or Team Athlete or Entertainment Group Member): To allow individuals to compete in competitions at a specific level
P-2 (Artist or Entertainer – Performance): Allows performances under a reciprocal exchange program
P-3 (Artist or Entertainer – Performance, Teaching, or Coaching): Designed for the teaching, performance, or coaching under a culturally unique or traditional ethnic program
R-1 Visa (Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers): Enables foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to work in some religious positions
TN Visa (NAFTA Workers): Enables lawyers, scientists, engineers, and teachers from Canada to live in the U.S. on a temporary basis
O-1 (Persons with extraordinary abilities): For individuals with expert knowledge in the fields of science, business, education, athletics, or art
It should be noted that each category has its own individual eligibility criteria and care should be taken when applying for any visa.
How do you apply for a temporary work visa?
Even though you are not applying for permanent residence with a temporary work visa, there are still a number of stages in the process.
First, your employer (sponsor) should file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS. If this is approved, you may then prepare your application for submission.
Some work visas (including H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, and H-2B) require that your sponsor holds certification from the Department of Labor. This certification states that there is a genuine need to hire non-US workers and that the hiring of a non-US national will not negatively impact US workers.
When submitting your work visa application, you should ensure that you have gathered all the required documents.
This will likely include some of the following:
- Valid passport (which expires no sooner than 6 months following the end of your stay)
- US visa photo
- Receipt number from Form I-129
- Receipt to prove that you have paid the application fee ($190)
- Evidence to show that you intend to leave the US following the end of your stay
There may be further documents required based on your individual circumstances. If you are unsure of the information required, it is recommended to consult an immigration lawyer who can assist you with the process.
Following the submission of your application, you will likely be required to attend an immigration interview where an official will ensure that you are eligible for the visa you have applied for.
After this, you should wait for a decision on your application.
How to work in the USA
It can be difficult to find work in the USA. Because it is the objective of many people around the world, working in America is not possible for everyone.
Not every US company will sponsor a foreign worker. This is due to many factors. It can be expensive for employers to sponsor workers from outside the U.S., as well as time-consuming and involve complex application processes.
Some of the key points to consider when getting a U.S. work visa include:
- Your nationality: The nationals of certain countries are more likely to receive a US work visa
- Education level: Depending on your level of educational achievement, you are more likely to be successful with some categories of visa than others
- Industry: The industry that you currently work in can play a role in whether you are approved for a visa as some industries are more valuable to the US than others
- Career level: Depending on your type of visa, some visa categories will be more suited to individuals at a higher career level
- Length of the visa: All visas have an expiry date, so the length of the visa you choose will be an important point to consider. How long do you want to stay in the US?
When applying for work in the US, it is more efficient to apply to companies that do sponsor foreign citizens.
In many cases, you will only be able to apply for a visa once you have a formal job offer from a US-based company.
How can IAS help?
Successfully receiving an American work visa is not an easy task and can be complex. There is a high potential for visas to be rejected if incorrect paperwork is submitted.
One of the most important aspects is to highlight how your qualifications and experience level is appropriate for the role in question.
At IAS, we can assess your eligibility for the role in question and give you an estimation of the likelihood of a successful application based on your circumstances.
If you want the support of an experienced immigration lawyer to assist with your work visa application, we are ready to support you
Some of the services we provide include:
- Reviewing your job offer or contract to assess your eligibility for the role and the role’s eligibility
- Assist your sponsor in obtaining temporary labor certification
- Advise you on the required supporting documents
- Liaise with your U.S. sponsor throughout the process
- Assisting in filing your application to the highest standard
- Check the progress of your application and ensure that you are kept informed of key dates and deadlines in the process
- Supporting you throughout the application and making sure you are given accurate information at all times
Schedule your first consultation with us on +1 844 290 6312. We are ready to assist with your immigration case today.
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To travel to the U.S., you must hold a valid passport that does not expire until at least six months beyond your intended period of stay.
It depends on your personal circumstances. There are a number of work visas for America, both immigrant (green card) and non-immigrant (temporary visas).
The best visa for your circumstances will be the one that is most appropriate to your job, expertise, career level, industry, educational qualifications, and professional accomplishments.
Depending on the work visa you apply for, the cost of a visa will vary from $160 to $265. There may be additional costs that you are required to pay as part of the process.
These could include non-immigrant visa issuance fees or filing fees.
Visa application fees are non-refundable in most cases.