How to Find Work in United States as a Foreigner - Step by Step Guide


How to Find Work in United States as a Foreigner - Step by Step Guide

Perhaps you have always dreamed of coming to the United States to live and work. Although the United States has strict immigration policies, you can still achieve your dreams with a little effort and persistence.

The best way to do this is to search for a job in America through your country.

Once you get a job, your employer will file a petition to approve your visa application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will handle the rest of the process.

If you are a foreign national who wants to live in the United States, it may be useful to know more about the process of obtaining a work permit and visa.

Although the United States government offers a variety of visa options, it can be difficult to decide which option is best for you.

In this article, we outline your options for living and working in the United States and the steps you can take to begin the process.


Outline of Getting a Job in the US

The United States of America places a high value on quality education and meaningful work experience. Therefore, the first thing will be to get the right educational qualifications and work experience.

It will be easier to identify better job opportunities with a degree from a reputable university and a few years of work experience.

The next step will be to identify your skill set and identify the jobs that align with them. Once you have identified potential jobs you can apply for, the next step is to tailor your resume to highlight the skills and qualifications needed for the job.

The work culture in the US is open, with good communication and direct feedback. There is a work mindset and money play a big part in business.


Requirements for Getting a Job in the United States

To work in the United States, the first and most important requirement is to obtain a permit to live and work in the United States. You must have a valid work visa or green card for US job market opportunities to be available. The type of job you get and the benefits associated with it also depends on where you want to move.

According to the latest studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States is the lowest since 2007. Therefore, there are many job prospects available for international job applicants. Employers in the United States prefer to hire people who demonstrate fluency in English and the ability to read and write well in the language with a solid command of the language.

The best way to work in the US is to identify your skills, job opportunities, and titles that match your competencies. You can do this by browsing job portals where jobs in the United States are listed. Another way to identify job opportunities is through an immigration agency who will help you find a job. It's also important to familiarize yourself with the US job market to understand hiring the best employers and potential organizations.

Currently, the education, service, and healthcare sectors in the United States are booming along with the TIMES market, which stands for Telecommunications, Information Technology, Multimedia, Entertainment, and Security Services Market.


General Job Search Engines and Classifieds

From the sites below, you can expect a 0.5-1.0% response rate (people who will respond to the people you send your application/resume to.) However, I encourage you to try the sites a because you do not know what you will see or the connections you can make through email or application.

How to Find Work in United States as a Foreigner - Step by Step Guide

 Career Builder: Another popular job search site in a crowded field.

 CraigslistA giant classifieds site. The king of kings.

 Dice: The best site for tech jobs.

 Glassdoor: Glassdoor has a slew of opportunities across the United States. A good site that contains information about international programs and jobs for students interested in traveling abroad.

 Indeed: Big U.S. job search site. This is the best place to begin your search.

 Learn4Good: I’ve seen job opportunities on this site that would fall under the J1 visa program. If you are not familiar with it, the J-1 visa offers cultural and educational exchange opportunities in the United States through a variety of programs overseen by the U.S. State Department.

 Randstad: Staffing services.

 Simply Hired: Yet another job search engine like the rest of them.

 USA Jobs: Work for Uncle Sam.

Other websites and blogs

 Just LandedJust Landed has a good guide to finding a job in the US.

 The balance careers.comGood listing of the top places for job hunting in the United States.

 Guidelines for Foreigner NationalsAlison writes detailed instructions for foreigners seeking employment in the US.


Job abroad and expat portals

  eFinancialCareersMy favorite search engine for finance jobs on the web. I used them during my Wall Street days.

•  LinkedIn: Last but not least, this huge professional social network is a resource for building contacts in the field and location of your interest.

There you have it. The best places to find jobs in the United States as a foreigner. For information on visas for the United States, be sure to check out my United States visa page.

Ways 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.



1. 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 show your future employer your ability to adapt to your new environment. Make sure to include only relevant experience, list figures on your professional achievements and specify your level of English.

How to Find Work in United States as a Foreigner - Step by Step Guide

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.

2. Online interview: Employers often schedule online or telephone interviews for candidates who live outside the United States. When it's time for your online interview, be sure to dress as professionally as you would for an in-person meeting.

Also, have your interview in a quiet, clean space. It's best to prepare some statements and rehearse before the interview.


Temporary Visa

A temporary visa is one that you have to renew regularly. Most work visas are employer driven, so your employer must apply for a non immigrant visa.

These are the steps to follow after accepting a job offer:

1. File a petition, if necessary: Your employer must file a petition on your behalf with USCIS if you are not already eligible. A petition in certain categories is not required. If you are involved in international trade or investment, you do not need an employer petition to be eligible.

2. Wait for your employer's petition to be approved: USCIS must approve your employer's petition before you can apply for a visa. If you do not wait for your approval, your application will be rejected. The waiting time depends on the category of worker you are in. Since some categories are limited to issuing a specific number of visas per year, the approval process can take a few years, but it can vary depending on the visa category.

How to Find Work in United States as a Foreigner - Step by Step Guide

3. Apply for a temporary visa: Once your petition has been approved, gather the necessary documents, such as your passport, travel and employment history, and complete an online application. Be sure to write down the I.D. of your request number so you can access it later.

The application is in English and asks for 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 make a visa appointment at the nearest US embassy/consulate.

4. Interview with the US Embassy or Consulate: The purpose of the visa interview is to verify that you are eligible for the visa. They collect the visa application fee, review your original documents, take your fingerprints, and confirm or deny your application.

5. Get your visa: Once approved, you can return a few weeks later to collect your visa-stamped passport. There may be additional costs, so be sure to ask about all costs.


Green Card

A green card is a document that authorizes a foreign citizen to live and work in the United States permanently. Prospective 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 issues approximately 50,000 green cards each year.

1. Have your employer fill out an I-140 form: Your employer must file an immigration petition. Petitions may require certification by the US Department of Labor. The employer can seek legal advice from an immigration lawyer.

2. Request your priority date: When they file an immigration petition, employers receive a notice from USCIS with their priority date. This date determines the application date. It is essential to know this because your application will be rejected if you apply before that date. Search the government website for the filing table to see when you can submit your application based on your priority date.

3. Undergo a medical examination: 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 the standards relating to health.

4. Complete your question: You can download Form I-485 on the USCIS website and fill it out. Give honest answers and consider seeking the advice of an immigration attorney if you need help.

5. Submit your request: To do this, make a copy of the required official documents and submit them according to the instructions on the USCIS website. Please note that there are tuition fees.

6. Interview and biometric data: USCIS requires 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 once they receive your request.

The purpose of the interview is to verify the answers you have provided on your question.

7. Receive the decision: Common reasons for rejected applications include missing documents, unclear information, or documents submitted after the deadline.


Get a Social Security Number

Once you get your visa or green card, you'll need a Social Security number to work in the United States.


Tips for Finding Work in the United States

• Take your time: Make sure you start the process early, as acquiring a visa can be quite lengthy.

• Verify eligibility:  Review the eligibility requirements before applying for a visa to come and work in the United States.

• Beware of scams: Remember, 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 to check for updates on the visa process and to learn about the evolution of immigration laws.


What are the Requirements to Work in the United State?

In most cases, obtaining permission to work in the United States as an alien is part of visa processing. Depending on the type of visa you need, you will need to obtain one of the following two:

• Application for employment status: issued to workers with a temporary work visa (H-1B (1) and E-3); ensures that their salaries are comparable and do not impact the salaries of native-born employees; can be released in about a week.

• Employment certification: issued to workers with work visas which can lead to obtaining a green card; ensures that no skilled native worker can perform the work for comparable pay; the release can take from 6 to 24 months.

You might also work in a field that requires multiple licenses from the government. Occupations may include (depending on the state):

• Healthcare specialists (doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.)

• Legal advisors (lawyers, judges, etc.)

• Protective services workers (firefighters, law enforcement, etc.)

• Personal care specialists (hairdressers, skin care specialists, etc.)

• Others (architects, engineers, real estate agents, accountants, bus drivers, etc.)

If so, you will need to take additional steps to obtain permission to work in the United States.

These may include attending specific training courses or passing licensing exams.

Licensing standards vary from state to state, so make sure you meet the requirements of the state you're relocating to.


Top Highest Paying Jobs in the US

On average, a full-time man in the United States earns $51,212 compared to women, who earn $40,742. Some of the highest paying jobs in the US and their approximate annual salary are:

• Anesthetists: $246,320

• Computer and Information Systems Managers: $136,280

• Executive Directors: $180,700

• Lawyers: $133,470

• Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $214,750

• Petroleum Engineers: $147,520

• Psychiatrists: $182,700

• Sales Managers: $126,040

• Surgeons: $240,440


Popular Jobs in the US

The United States of America has a large labor market with many opportunities to find work. Most jobs for US citizens and foreigners are created through the service sector.

Some of the most popular Jobs in the US are:

• Cargo and cargo carriers

• Cashiers

• Customer Service Representatives

• Fast food workers

• General Managers

• Office workers

• Registered Nurses

• Secretaries

• Sellers


Most in Demand Jobs in the United States

The US Department of Labor is projecting a bright future for several occupations over the next few years. The below lists the most in-demand jobs in the United States and an approximation of how much they pay.

Occupation Title Hourly Wage (USD) Annual Salary (USD)

Accountants and auditors 33–34 69,000–70,000

Tellers 10 20,000–21,000

Cooks/food preparers 10–12 20,000–25,000

Construction workers 16–17 34,000–35,000

Customer Service Representatives 15–16 32,000–33,000

Orderlies and cleaners 12 25,000

Landscape and grounds maintenance workers 13–14 27,000–28,000

Nurses 33–34 70,000 Retailers 11 23,000

Sales Representatives 25–26 52,000–53,000

Teachers and tutor’s N/A 39,000–40,000

Waiters/waitresses 10 20,000–21,000


Other Popular Occupations with Expected High Growth and their Estimated Salaries:

• Marketing Manager ($64 per hour/$132,000 per year)

• Software Developer ($52 per hour/$108,000 per year)

• Web Developer ($33 per hour / $68,000 per year)


How to be Self-employed in the US

If you want to be self-employed in the US, in most cases you will need to start a business.

The basic steps to starting a business in the United States are:

• Make a business plan and raise funds.

• Choose a corporate structure best suited to the job you want to do.

• Register your business with the state.

• Get your federal and state tax IDs.

• Apply for licenses and permits (if applicable).

Some states also require you to register your business name. The taxes you pay will depend on the business structure you decide to establish.

However, whichever you choose, in most cases you will need to obtain a federal tax ID number. But even before you take this step, you'll need to find out if your company meets the visa requirements.

Below, we've outlined the following structures you can set up, along with the necessary documentation for each, the benefits, drawbacks, and type of workers it's good for.


Sole Proprietorship

This type of business is perfect for small businesses and freelancers. No specific documentation is required for this type of configuration. It's easy to set up and simple when reporting taxes.

The disadvantages are:

• Personal financial responsibility

• Managed by a single person

• No real growth opportunities. 


This setup is great for businesses with multiple owners and professional groups (like lawyers). You will need a certificate and a partnership agreement (limited or restricted availability).

It's easy to set up and another benefit is that it's owned by more than one person, so there's an equal and shared commitment to the business.

The advantages are:

• Shared personal financial responsibility;

• Dependence on partners;

• Benefits divided equally.


Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This type of company is ideal for large companies, medium to high risk companies and individuals who want to protect their personal assets. Necessary documentation includes articles of organization and an LLC operating agreement (you need a resident agent, someone who will receive and take care of your company's legal documentation).

Some of the advantages of this type of configuration are:

• Limited responsibility

• One or more owners

• Lower taxes and easier to set up than a corporation

• Flexibility in the distribution of benefits.

Some of the disadvantages are that if members leave the business, it needs to be dissolved. It's not even that easy to create, there are taxes on self-employment and it's hard to raise money for it.


Public Corporation (B or C Corp or Non-Profit)

Finally, a public company is perfect for large corporations, medium to high risk businesses, and businesses that need to raise money. It is difficult to set up and will be subject to corporation tax.

There is also more books and record keeping.

However, some of the benefits of this type of business include:

• Limited responsibility

• One or more owners

• Ease of fundraising

• Attractive to employees.

Will require articles of incorporation and by-laws or resolutions (requires resident agent).


Self-employment and Social Security Benefits

Just like any other employee in the United States, when you are self-employed, you must contribute to Social Security. 

The size of your payments depends on whether you work for a company or just for yourself (read more in the tax section of our guide). 

You should expect to receive Social Security benefits after working for at least ten years.


Who is Authorized to Work in the United States?

Several categories of foreign workers can work in the United States, including permanent immigrant workers, temporary (non immigrant) workers, students, and exchange workers.

These include:

US Green Card holder.

Exchange tourist visa

Temporary work visas (non-agricultural)

Temporary work visas (skilled workers)

Visas for seasonal agricultural workers


How to get a work visa in the United States

You must obtain a visa from the US embassy or consulate in your country or the country closest to your overseas residence before coming to the US to work.

There are several types of work visas available to you. Foreign nationals, including temporary work visas, seasonal work visas and exchange worker visas.

Foreign nationals who are not US citizens or legal permanent residents of the US need a work visa and work permit before they can work in the US.

This is officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).


How to get a Green Card in the US

A green card, formally known as a Permanent Resident Card, entitles a person to live and work in the United States permanently.

Some categories require certification from the US Department of Labor to demonstrate that there are not enough able, willing, skilled, and available US workers in the geographic area where the immigrant will be employed, and that there are no US workers be displaced by foreign workers.

The annual green card lottery program, formally known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, is an opportunity for prospective immigrants to obtain legal permanent resident status for the United States. This program runs annually and can provide up to 55,000 green cards to applicants randomly selected in a lottery process known as the "Green Card Lottery".


How to Get a Work Permit in the US

You will need a work permit, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), to demonstrate your eligibility to work in the United States if you are not a citizen or legal permanent resident. You will need an EAD in addition to the required work visa to enter the US.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I work in the US?

People often aspire to work in the US to seek a better life with better benefits and opportunities.

Some of the reasons for working in the US include the following:

1. You will come into contact with various people from different cultures.

2. You will find many opportunities for professional growth.

3. In most industries, profit potential is high in the United States.

4. You will have paid health benefits.

5. You can experience the American culture of freedom and independence.


What are some of the most sought-after Qualifications to secure a Job in the United States?

The three most sought-after college degrees in the United States that increase your chances of getting a job are:

1.  Engineering: It is one of the most in-demand and highest-paying fields of study in the United States and includes many majors, such as electrical, structural, mechanical, and computer engineering.

2. Medicine: The United States is also known for its renowned medical field. The role of a physician is one of the most respected and highest paying career paths in the United States.

3. Business Administration: A business administration degree has a global reach with great career opportunities. career opportunities with world-renowned multinational companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.


What are the Best Companies to Work for in the US?

Some of the best companies and industries to secure a job in the US are:

1. Cisco, Information Technology

2. Salesforce, Information Technology

3. Hilton Hospitality

4. Rocket companies, financial services and insurance

5. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., Retail.

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