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How to Get a Job in the United States as a Foreigner


In the United States, foreign nationals enjoy various job options. Living and working in a different nation, being immersed in a different culture, and meeting new people may all be beautiful experiences. Some individuals come to the United States permanently for education and work, while others come for a specific time. However, if you are a foreign national seeking a job in the United States, you should remember that you can’t work in the USA without a work visa.

Work in the United States as a Foreigner

Therefore, learning more about getting a work permit and visa may be helpful. However, the first thing to do as a foreigner looking to enter the United States is to find a job. Then, you will need to find a sponsor for your visa. After that, you will be good to go and can freely move to the United States.

Moreover, the type of visa and work permit you will need will vary depending on your career goals. While the U.S. government provides various opportunities to obtain visas, it can be challenging to determine which option is most appropriate for your situation. This article provides a summary of employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa classifications and other categories of aliens who are eligible for employment authorization.

How to Get a Job in the United States

Here’s an overview of how to get a job in the United States as a foreigner, from how to look for a job and difficulties one may encounter during the application process.

Look for a Job in the United States

Finding and getting a job can be a challenging process. Learning more about job search methods and application techniques can also be helpful. However, the two best places to look for jobs in the United States if you are starting your job hunt are Indeed and LinkedIn.

Moreover, as a foreigner, we highly recommend searching for jobs that indicate visa sponsorship is available. For instance, in the search box in Indeed, you can type visa sponsorship and see the results you get. However, we said that indeed and LinkedIn are the two best places to look for jobs in the US. Other sites are still worthwhile to go through, such as Glassdoor,, Craigslist, and more.


Furthermore, the rules have become more strict regarding who can enter the United States and why since so many people are looking for a job in the country. That is to say, there are specific difficulties one may encounter while seeking a job in the United States. However, here are the four significant difficulties:

  • Firstly, the US employer wants to hire you, but they will tell you that they can’t hire you before you get a visa
  • Secondly, you find the job of your dream, and the employer tells you that they can’t or do not offer any visa sponsorship for the job offer.
  • Thirdly, you cannot connect with US employers, so you can’t even get a reply from them.
  • Lastly, you have plenty of interviews, but even if you don’t make your visa request known, you still can’t receive a reply from your interviewer.

Although there are many other difficulties one may encounter while seeking employment in the US, these are the significant difficulties foreigners may experience. Now you can see that finding a job in the US isn’t so easy. Most failures in getting a job in the United States as a foreigner, approximately 90%, come from one mistake. Besides, you will get nowhere in any of the aforementioned four cases.

However, if you’ve ever encountered any of these difficulties, then your major mistake might be applying without targeting. Therefore, before building your resume or CV and applying to job openings in the United States, you have to target the right open jobs and companies for you. Moreover, just like the example we gave earlier about searching specifically for jobs that indicate that visa sponsorship is available.

Working in the United States

Based on your skills, circumstances, and the job that you plan to do, you may be able to come to the United States as either a:

  • Temporary (nonimmigrant) or permanent (immigrant) foreign worker, or a
  • Temporary visitor for business

Besides, under certain circumstances, you may also be able to work in the United States if you are a foreign student or an exchange visitor. Moreover, as a foreign worker, you will need a visa to get a job in the US. Each type of visa has unique requirements, conditions, and time limits. However, you can visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an overview of each worker category and type of visa.

Ways to Apply for a Job in the United States

Furthermore, there are three ways to obtain a visa to relocate to and work in the US. There are as follows:

1. Sponsorship:

Some immigrant visa preferences require you already to have a job offer from a US employer. This employer will be considered your sponsor. Here are steps to follow to apply for a job in the United States through visa sponsorship:

  • Apply for a job: Firstly, you will need to apply for a job in the United States from your home country. You should start by creating an American-style resume and cover letter. This can demonstrate your ability to adapt to the new environment to your prospective employer. Ensure you only include relevant experience, list figures about your professional achievements, and specify your English language level. However, even before building your American resume and applying to job openings in the USA, you have to target the right open jobs and companies for you. You can find companies online and create an account on job-search websites or contact recruiting agencies if you already have several years of experience.
  • Interview Online: The next step will be the visa interview after applying for a job. Employers usually schedule online interviews for candidates who live outside the United States. When it is time for your online interview, endeavor to dress professionally as you would for an in-person meeting. Also, attend the interview in a quiet and clean space. Preparing a few statements and rehearsing before the interview will also be helpful.

2. Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Visa:

A temporary visa is one you need to renew regularly. You need to have a job before applying for this non-immigrant visa. Most nonimmigrant visas require that your prospective employer file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS. Here are the steps to follow once you accept a job offer:

  • File a petition if necessary: To come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily, your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS. In most cases, you don’t need a petition if you are eligible and in specific nonimmigrant visa categories. You don’t need an employer petition to be eligible if you are involved in investment or international trade. The same applies to citizens of Canada or Mexico who are eligible for a temporary visa without a petition.
  • Wait for your employer’s petition approval: After filing the petition, you will need to wait for the USCIS to approve your employer’s petition before you can apply for a visa. However, your application will be denied if you don’t wait for their approval. Moreover, the waiting time you need depends on the category of worker you are in. Certain categories are limited to issuing a specific number of visas annually so the approval process can take a few years.
  • Apply for a temporary visa: Upon the employer’s petition approval, gather the necessary documents like your passport, travel, and work history and complete an online application. Visit the USCIS Temporary Visa webpage for details on the visa application.
  • Interview with the US embassy or consulate: This is the final step before you get your work visa. The visa interview aims to confirm that you qualify for the visa. They collect your visa application fee, review your original documents, take your fingerprints, and confirm or deny your application. In case of denial, you can complete your application with the missing documents or information.
  • Get your visa: Once approved, you can return a few weeks later to pick up the visa.

3. Green Card:

A green card authorizes a foreign national to live and work in the U.S. permanently. Potential immigrants have the opportunity to obtain permanent residency 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 every year.

However, you can fill out a green card application if you already work with a temporary visa in the USA. A green card allows you to stay in the US without renewing your visa or returning to your country. Here are steps to follow to apply for a job in the United States with a green card:

  • Ask your employer to fill in an I-140 form: Your employer needs to fill out an immigration petition. For some visa categories, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to USCIS, the employer must obtain an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL labor certification verifies the following:
    • There are insufficiently available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to fill the position being offered at the prevailing wage
    • Hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers
  • Ask about your priority date: When they file an immigration petition, employers receive a notice from USCIS with your priority date. The priority date determines your application date. This is essential to know because your application will be rejected if you apply earlier than that date.
  • Get a medical exam: You will book an appointment for a medical examination with an approved doctor, which can find on the USCIS. That visit aims to verify you are in good physical and mental health and ensure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations. If necessary, the doctor might administer the missing vaccination and propose a follow-up treatment.
  • Fill out your application: You can download form I-485 on the USCIS website and fill it out. Ensure to give honest answers and consider getting the help of an immigration attorney if you need assistance.
  • Submit your application: Gather copies of the requested official documents and submit them according to the directions on the USCIS website.
  • Interview and biometrics: The USCIS will request that you give your fingerprints, signature, and photos. You may also be invited to interview with the embassy. You will get the date and time for these appointments once they receive your application.
  • Receive the decision: You will receive a decision on your application once they review it. However, common reasons for denied applications include missing documents, unclear information, or documents submitted later than the deadline.

Get a Social Security Number:

Once you’ve received your visa or green card, you will need a social security number to work in the United States.

Your Rights as a Temporary Foreign Worker

The followings are the rights and protections you get as a temporary foreign worker in the United States:

  • As a temporary foreign worker in the US, you will not be denied a visa or punished by the U.S. government because you have exercised your rights under U.S. laws.
  • If you violate the terms of your work visa, it could be revoked. You could be deported, arrested, or denied re-entry into the U.S.

Working in the United States on a Student Visa

Moreover, foreign students studying in the United States on a study permit may work on campus. Still, they are not authorized to work off-campus during their academic year in their program.

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Tips to Find a Job in the United States

Furthermore, here are tips to help you find work in the USA:

  • Take time: Ensure you start the process in advance, as visa acquisition can take some time.
  • Verify eligibility: Review the eligibility requirements before applying for a visa to come and work in the United States.
  • Avoid scams: Note that there are no application fees for work visas or instructional forms from the US government. Therefore, if someone asks you to offer payment for them, it’s likely a scam.
  • Verify the visa process before applying: You can visit the USCIS official website to check the visa process and learn about immigration laws’ evolution.


In conclusion, it is essential to get experienced legal help to ensure your application package has the best chance of approval. We recommend going with this because of the high number of applicants each year from around the world seeking US work visas and permits.

Moreover, 90% of failures in getting a job in the USA as a foreigner come from one mistake. Such as missed or incorrect details can result in a failure, which can be heartbreaking if they could have been easily avoided if adequately prepared by an immigration professional.



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