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

How can a foreigner get a job in the US? - You can work in the U.S. with an employment-related green card (permanent residency), an exchange visitor work and study visa, or a seasonal and temporary worker visa. The type of visa and work permit you'll need will vary depending on your career goals.

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

You will likely need to obtain a US work visa to work permanently or temporarily in the United States. Therefore, if you are a foreign national looking to live in the US, it may be helpful to learn more about getting a work permit and visa.

Depending on your professional ideals, the type of visa and employment authorization you require will differ. While the US government provides various visa opportunities, it can be challenging to determine which option is most fitting for your situation.

However, in this article, we will outline the options for living and working in the US, as well as steps you can take to start the process and more.

How to Get a Job in the United States

Although, getting a US visa may be the essential part of getting a job in the United States. But they are some challenges that you may encounter in the process. Therefore, here's an overview of how to get a job in the USA as a foreigner.

Find a Job in the United States

To be sincere, am not going to say it will be easy. Finding a job can be a challenging process. Learning more about job search methods and application techniques can also be helpful. Nevertheless, the two best places to look for jobs in the United States if you are just getting started with your job hunt are Indeed and LinkedIn.

Furthermore, as a foreigner we highly recommend you search specifically for jobs that indicate that visa sponsorship is available. For instance, in the search box in Indeed, you can type visa sponsorship and see the results you get. Which will lead us to the second part of this overview.

Although we said that indeed and LinkedIn are by far, the two best places to look for jobs in the US. There are other sites still worthwhile going through, such as Glassdoor,, Craigslist, and more.


Nevertheless, the regulations about who can enter the United States have become more strict. This is because of the high number of people that are looking for employment opportunities in the country. To clarify, there are certain difficulties one may encounter while seeking a job in the United States. However, here are the four major difficulties:

  • The US employer wants to hire you, but they will tell you that they can't employ you before you get a visa
  • 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
  • You are not able to connect with the Us employers, such that you can't even get a response from them.
  • 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.

There are many other difficulties one may encounter while seeking employment in the US. But these are the major difficulties foreigners may experience. 

Moreover, most of the failures in getting a job in the United States as a foreigner, approximately 90% come from one mistake. Besides, in any of the aforementioned four cases, you are going to get nowhere.

Therefore, if you have ever encountered any of these difficulties while looking for a job in the USA. Then, the major mistake you are making might be applying without targeting. So prior to you thinking about building your CV and applying to job openings in the US. You should first target the right open jobs and companies for you. Most importantly, just like the instance, 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.

However, if you are a foreign student or exchange visitor, you also be able to work in the US under certain circumstances. As a foreign worker looking for job opportunities in the US. You will need a visa to get a job in the country. 

Besides, each type of visa has individual requirements, conditions, and time limits. You can visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an overview of each worker category and visa type. Meanwhile, there are three ways to obtain a visa when seeking to relocate and work in the United States.


Some immigrant visa preferences require you to already have a job offer from a US employer. This employer will be considered your sponsor. The steps are as follows:

  • Apply for a job: The first step is to apply for a job in the United States from your home country. We recommend that you start by creating an American-style resume and cover letter. This will demonstrate to your prospective employer your ability to adapt to the new environment. Ensure that you only include relevant experience, list figures about your professional achievements, and specify your English language level. However, even before thinking about building your resume and applying to jobs opening in the USA, you have to target the right open jobs and companies for you. You can find companies on the internet and create an account on job-search websites or contact recruiting agencies if you already have several years' experience.
  • Online Interview: This should be the next step after applying for a job. Employers usually schedule online interviews for candidates who live outside the United States. Endeavor to attend the interview in a quiet and clean space. It will also be helpful to prepare a few statements and rehearse before the interview.

Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Visa

A temporary visa is a type you need to renew regularly. Also, you need to already have a job before applying for a nonimmigrant visa. Moreover, most nonimmigrant visas require that your prospective employer must file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with the USCIS. Which is also similar to visa sponsorship. The steps are as follows:

  • File a petition (if necessary): Your prospective employer must file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS in order for you to enter the US legally to work as a nonimmigrant. But you don't need a petition in most cases, such as when you are eligible and in certain nonimmigrant visa categories. However, 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.
  • Then wait for your employer's petition approval: If you don't wait for their approval before applying for a visa, your application will be denied. Moreover, the waiting time you need depends on the category of worker you are in. With certain categories being limited to issuing a specific number of visas per year, the approval process can take a few years.
  • Apply for a temporary visa: You will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa upon the employer's petition approval. Gather necessary documents like 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: This is the final step before you get your work visa. Moreover, the purpose of the visa interview is to confirm that you qualify for the visa. Furthermore, in case of denial, you are invited to complete your application with the missing documents or information. But once your visa is approved, you can come back a few weeks later to pick up the visa.

Green Card

A green card is a document that gives a foreigner the authorization to live and work in the US permanently. Potential immigrants have the opportunity to obtain permanent residency through an annual green card lottery program known as the diversity immigrant visa program. Applications for the green card lottery are done 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 having to renew your visa or return to your country. Here are steps to follow to apply for a job in the United States through 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. The objective of that visit is to verify you are in good physical and mental health and make sure you're up-to-date on vaccinations. The doctor might administer the missing vaccination and propose a follow-up treatment if necessary.
  • 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 are done reviewing 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.

Tips to Find Work in the US

Here are tips to help you find work in the USA:

  • Take your time: Ensure that you start the process in advance, as the visa acquisition can take some time.
  • Verify eligibility: Review the eligibility requirements prior to starting the application 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 on the visa process and learn about immigration laws' evolution.


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

Moreover, foreign students studying in the United States on a study permit may work on campus, but they are not authorized to work off-campus during their academic year in their program. In conclusion, we recommend getting the experienced legal help that will ensure your application package has the best chance of approval. 

However, 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. This can be heartbreaking if they could have been easily avoided if properly prepared by an immigration professional.

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