Pursuing a Career in the United States for Non-Citizens
To many people, working abroad seems like a rewarding experience especially if you are looking to move to one of the most popular metropolitan cities in the world. However, the whole process may be very challenging especially if you are a foreigner pursuing a career in the United States.
Although the US has strict immigration policies about living and working in their country, you can still make your dream come true if you are more persistent. Fortunately, foreign nationals offer great employment opportunities in the US, so all you need to do is put some effort into it and prepare for the journey.
From finding a sponsor to applying for a green card, here is a list of several practical guidelines to help you get through the job application process with as much ease as possible.
Compile all the necessary documentation
The first step in the job application process is to gather all necessary documentation. As a potential employee, you are required to produce proof of identity as well as work authorization within three days of starting your new job. Besides this, you will also need a USCIS certified translation of your legal documents, for the use in US immigration and visa purposes, in your quest for a career move in the States. You will need the following documents:
- School and employment records that will include your contact information, job history and education or training
- A copy of your birth certificate to use as proof you can work in the US
- Driver’s license, if your job requires it, although many employers ask for it to use it as picture identification
- Social Security Number only granted by the Department of Homeland Security
- A work permit confirming you can work in the US
Also, don’t forget to create an American-style resume and cover letter because this way you will have better chances at getting a job in the USA.
Find a sponsor
In order to work in the USA, you must have a job offer. This means targeting the right open jobs or companies that are willing to offer you visa sponsorship while matching your qualifications.
Generally speaking, finding a sponsor employer can really help you in the entire job application process. If your future employer agrees to sponsor you, then you will have better chances of getting your work permit. Keep in mind that the company you are applying to may not be familiar with this process, so be prepared to help them along the way.
For example, USponsor Me is a search engine that includes only sponsor companies. Here, you must filter on several things such as your potential future visa, the job title you are applying for and the location of the job. If you do this properly, the search engine will provide you with the best jobs offerings according to your skills.
Choose a job-finding strategy
There are four strategies you can use to look for a job in the USA. These include applying for an open job online, by sending your application to a company with no current job openings, through networks or by directly contacting the right people.
For example, applying for a job online can be tricky for foreigners because for them finding a sponsor company is the most important thing. Unfortunately, websites with online job offerings may include companies that cannot sponsor visas. So, if you apply this way, you may have less chances of getting your work authorization and you will also be in competition with local applicants who already have work permits.
The strategy that has proven efficient is sending a spontaneous application using network platforms such as LinkedIn. This way you will connect with different recruiters to see if they offer visa sponsorships.
Apply for a work visa and permit
Work visas are required so you can be legally employed in the States. Depending on the type of work you do, you will be qualified for one of the four types of work visas. Keep in mind that the requirements for each type may change over time, so make sure you always have the updated information before you apply.
In general, foreign employees usually get temporary work visas in non-agricultural fields or as skilled workers. The first one refers to jobs that lack domestic laborers such as at hotels, beach resorts or amusement parks. The latter is reserved for skilled and educated workers who have experience in specialized occupations and are often paid above the usual wage due to their qualifications.
Once you have obtained your work visa, you can apply for your work permit known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Although this document is valid for one year, you still must renew it.
Apply for a green card
A Green Card is a document that allows an individual to live and work in the United States permanently. Foreign employees usually apply for this document while they are in the States if they decide they want to stay there. The advantage of having a Green Card is that you don’t have to worry about renewing your work visa or returning to your home country occasionally.
One way to get this document is to ask your employer to file an immigration petition for you. This will help you towards getting a permanent residency and you won’t risk losing your status in the country.
In addition to this petition, you may also require a certification from the US Department of Labor. This document will show that the company where you are working doesn’t have enough US workers who are able and qualified to work there and that they aren’t being displaced by foreign workers.
Although pursuing a career in the United States may be both overwhelming and time-consuming, it is important to follow all necessary steps in order to complete the process successfully. By gathering all documents and being familiar with any updated information regarding your work visas and permits, you will have better chances at getting your dream job while living abroad. In order to make this whole experience easier, make sure you refer back to this guide and use these strategies to help you follow through with the process.