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How can I Get Employed in the US as a Foreign Citizen?

Finding a job in the US as a foreigner can either be done before or after entering the country. In this article, we'll be looking at both options. However, I should warn you that it will most likely be easier to seek employment before entering American soil.

Once you know what option you want to go for, we'll be looking at how to apply for a job in the US as a foreigner.

Another question you'll need to ask yourself is whether you want to stay in the US permanently or temporarily. This will alter what kind of visa you're going to need.

How Can I Get a Work Permit?


If you wish to enter America as a temporary worker, you will not count as an immigrant. Your right to stay is going to be connected entirely to your job, should you lose your job (due to being fired, made redundant, or the company you work for go bankrupt), you will need to leave the country and return home.

An H1B visa is for a specialty occupation which requires a Bachelor's degree or higher. Should you get this job, your employer will need to fill out a specific form.

An H2B visa is for skilled or unskilled workers whom the US requires due to a shortage of US workers who possess that skill. The government will only give this visa to people with skills that the US Labor Department agrees are lacking among the American citizens.

An L1 visa is for an Intra-Company transfer. This is when your current employer requires you to move to the USA as part of your job.

Should you have an extraordinary ability, be that in science, business, or the arts, you might be able to qualify for an O1 or O2 visa.

The P1-P3 visas are similar to the O1 and O2 visas, but the difference is that to have one of these visas, you will need to have gotten a job, and have your employer fill out an application form on your behalf.

You can also get a Q1 visa as part of a cultural exchange; when you come to America to share your culture with the American people.

Or an R1 visa is for people in the country for religious purposes.

Should you go for any of these options, you will only be allowed to stay in the country for a limited amount of time, and your visa is connected to your job.


Your other option for how to get a job in the US without citizenship is to get a permanent work visa. You can do this in one of two ways.

The first option will be to get a temporary work visa and apply for a green card when you're in America. Applying for a green card can be done by filling in the correct application once you are already living, working, and contributing to the economy in America.

Most green cards will only be valid for a period of 10 years at first, but when you have it, you can apply for a permanent residence.

Your other option is to go on an E1-E5 visa. Five types of work visa won't require you to have a job before entering but will require you to either search for one, or start your own company when you do arrive.

E1 is for people with extraordinary abilities (like the O1/O2 visa, but permanent).

E2 is for people with an advanced degree.

E3 is for people with a highly sought-after skill.

E4 is for broadcasters, religious ministers, government employees, or Iraqi/Afghan translators.

E5 is if you can invest at least $500,00, and create jobs for American citizens.

How Can I Get a Work Permit?

If you're wondering how to apply for a job in the US as a foreigner, one option is to talk to your embassy about getting an E visa.

Alternatively, you can apply for a job that requires any of the following H1B, H2B, L1, O1, O2, P1, P2, P3, Q1, or R1.

When you find an employer, who is willing to give you the job, your employer will need to fill out for I-129 with the "US Citizenship and Immigration Services"- USCIS for short.

Should they accept, your employer will be given a notice of action- form I-797. At this stage, you will be able to start your application for working in America. This process will depend on your visa type, so talk to your embassy for more information.

You're going to have to fill out form DS-160, send in a passport photograph, and attend an interview.

How do I apply for a Social Security Number?

Now you know how to get a job in the US as a foreigner, you may want to apply for a social security number.

Social Security will allow you to keep on top of what you're earning; how much tax you owe. It will be beneficial if you feel like you are getting underpaid, or you're paying too much tax.

You can only begin this process once you have entered the USA.

Firstly, find your nearest office at Here, you will need to take the required documents and fill out form SS-5-FS. Please remember that it will usually take around 6-8 weeks for your application to be processed, for this reason, it may be wise to get it when you first arrive so that you need to spend as little time as possible without it.

The documents you're going to need are your proof of birth- this will usually be a birth certificate. And proof of ID, this is most likely going to be a passport.


Even if you manage to get a job in the USA, even a permanent one, and even if you have a green card, you won't be able to vote. Voting is something that only US citizens can do. To apply for citizenship, you will need to have been a green card holder for at least five years.

Trying to obtain a green card is highly recommended as it will mean that even if you lose your job, you'll be allowed to stay in the USA, and won't need to worry about deportation.

Can a foreigner get a job in the US? Yes!

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