Do you dream of living in America? There are plenty of reasons to make the move: a high standard of living, increased status, and a better pay scale
It’s definitely a dream worth pursuing, but unless you plan to study in the USA, you’ll need to find a job in order to secure your visa. That won’t be easy, but we’ve collected some helpful tips to get you on the right path.
How to Choose the Right Visa
In order to increase your chances of securing a visa, you need to select the best one for your particular situation. Below are the most commonly used visas for work in the U.S.
The H-1B visa is for skilled workers with an advanced educational degree and a history of management-level positions in their home country. However, it also covers some entertainment professionals, such as models.
Choosing an H-1B visa is ideal if you hope to live and work in the United States indefinitely.
If your desire is to live in the States for only a short time, or else to get to America and explore your options for staying longer, look to the H-2B visa. It is for temporary or unskilled workers in non-agricultural positions.
Though the H-2B excludes agricultural workers, it can still be seasonal as the majority of employees in this category work in hospitality and tourism.
For temporary agricultural work, apply for an H-2A visa. The U.S. has a great need of people to help with planting, tending, and harvesting crops. Studying in the U.S. applying for a student visa
One perk of life on an H-2A visa is that your American employer is required to provide you with housing and meals, as well as transportation to and from the worksite.
H-2A Eligible Countries List
Except as noted below, H-2A petitions may only be approved for nationals of countries that the secretary of homeland security has designated, with the concurrence of the Office of the Secretary of State, as eligible to participate in the H-2A program.
The Department of Homeland Security publishes the list of H-2A and H-2B eligible countries in a Federal Register notice. Designation of eligible countries is valid for one year from publication.
Effective Nov. 10, 2022, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A program:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- North Macedonia
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Korea
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- United Kingdom
Moldova will no longer be eligible to participate in either the H-2B or H-2A program. However, Moldova’s eligibility for the H-2A program remains effective until Jan. 18, 2022.
Regarding all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” See 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.
The secretary of homeland security may consider adding a country to the Eligible Country List upon receiving a recommendation from the U.S. Department of State or a written request from an unlisted foreign government, an employer that would like to hire nationals of an unlisted country in H-2A status, or another interested party or parties. When designating countries to include on the list, the secretary of homeland security, with the concurrence of the Office of the Secretary of State, will take into account factors that include the following:
The country’s cooperation with issuing travel documents for citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country who are subject to a final order of removal
The number of final and unexecuted (meaning completed but not yet carried out) orders of removal against citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country
The number of orders of removal executed against citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country
Other factors may serve the U.S. interest. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1).
If you want DHS to consider adding a country to the Eligible Country List, send a written request to DHS’s Office of Policy, or the Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Country listings are valid for one year. DHS may add a country to the Eligible Country List whenever the secretary of homeland security determines that the country is eligible.
A national from a country not on the list may only be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A petition if the secretary of homeland security determines that it is in the U.S. interest for the nation to be the beneficiary of such a petition. See 8 CFR 214.2(h)(2)(iii) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(ii) for additional evidentiary requirements.
Note: If you request H-2A workers from both eligible and non-eligible countries, USCIS suggests that you file two separate petitions. Filing one petition for workers from eligible countries and a separate petition for workers from non-eligible countries may help decrease delays in processing your request for H-2A workers.
Period of Stay
Generally, USCIS may grant H-2A classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2A classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each. A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request. The maximum period of stay in the H-2A classification is 3 years.
A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H-2A nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2A time.
Exception: Certain periods of time spent outside of the United States may “interrupt” an H-2A worker’s authorized stay and not count toward the 3-year limit. See the Calculating Interrupted Stay for H-2 Classifications Web page for additional information.
Another visa for skilled workers, and perhaps the easiest to attain if you meet certain qualifications, is the L1 or intracompany transfer visa. This program allows foreign workers at companies with an American branch to simply transfer to the States and stay with their current employer.
However, your role at the company must be at the level of executive or management in order to be eligible for an L1.
Tips to Bolster Your Professional Qualifications
Even if you have an advanced educational degree, you may find that it doesn’t correspond directly with an American degree. So before you apply for your visa, determine whether additional education or a qualifying exam is necessary.
In any case, if you have been out of school for some time, it is wise to enroll in some continuing education courses in order to bolster your qualifications. The U.S. is looking for the best and brightest when it comes to the many thousands of applications it receives each year.
It can’t hurt to reach out to people who have successfully traveled this road and ask what qualifications they think tipped the balance for them.
Finally, be sure to do plenty of research on what employers are currently looking for in candidates for positions in your industry. This can help guide your choices on new courses to pursue as well as ensure you speak the language of your preferred American industry.
Finding an Employer to Sponsor You
When it comes to your actual job search, you can be as prepared as possible and still struggle. The problem is that not so many U.S.-based companies are prepared to take on the expense and the red tape of sponsoring foreign workers.
Therefore, your best strategy is to seek out employers that have a history of sponsoring foreign workers. Another good idea is to research the industries in America that are currently experiencing labor shortages. Companies in those niches are more likely to go the extra mile to attract qualified workers.
The industries to explore right now include education, technology, telecommunications, media, and manufacturing. Great medical professionals are always in demand. Even if you don’t currently work in any of these industries, explore whether a case can be made for your skills to translate.
As mentioned earlier, if you are an executive or manager for a company that has a presence in the U.S., you could simply apply for an intracompany transfer. It may still take some time for a relevant position to open up at the American office.
Keeping Track of the Timeline
It can be tricky to navigate the timeline of a visa application. You need to have a job offer in order to qualify for a visa, but many employers are going to want to see that you’re likely to qualify before offering a job.
Also, each visa has a different deadline for application, and these can change from year to year with no notice. In any case, it will take at least a few months to secure your visa, and in some cases, the process can stretch as long as a year.
Therefore, it is vital to be fully versed in all deadlines associated with the visa of your choice. For example, the H-1B selection starts on April 1st of each year, so you’ll need to have all materials submitted for your application by then. If approved, you won’t get your visa until at least October 1st, which is the start of the next fiscal year.
Keep a detailed calendar for yourself as you navigate the process to make extra sure that you won’t miss any important dates. Doing so can set you back for a year or more.
A great resource for foreign nationals seeking work in the U.S. is the website run by the Department of Immigration. There you will find information on professional requirements, writing a resume, and evaluating a job offer. This is also a good place to learn about fees, deadlines, and qualifications for various visas.
The last piece of advice we can give you is to start saving money as soon as you begin your visa journey – or even sooner. While some types of visas require the employer to foot the bill, others assess fees directly to the applicant. But no matter how you go about it, moving is expensive. Be sure your savings are enough to support the move so that you don’t end up with a job offer that you can’t accept. Find out more easy Amerian visa sponsorship program