In order to live and work in America, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements for either a non-immigrant temporary US work visa or a permanent resident immigrant visa to the USA. A non-immigrant temporary US work visa authorizes an individual to live and work in America for a specified amount of time (which can range from one year to five years) and may have an option to be renewed (depending on the visa type and other variables). A permanent resident US immigration visa (and Green Card) allows a foreign national to live and work in the USA for an unlimited period of time and has many benefits, including the option to apply for American citizenship after meeting the criteria. Since each of these two US visa categories (i.e., non-immigration and immigration) has several visa types, a general overview of the eligibility requirements is provided below.

TEMPORARY WORK VISA TO THE USA

In general, a foreign worker must meet the occupational, educational and other criteria for the specific temporary US work visa type. They will usually be required to receive a qualifying international job offer from an employer in the United States and will normally need to have the potential employer file the relevant non-immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) agency on his/her behalf. After the USCIS agency approves the non-immigrant petition, the foreign worker will usually need to file the relevant temporary US work visa application and pay the governmental fee at the American embassy or consulate in the country where he/she is living. The applicant will also need to pass the security background check and satisfy other criteria (as instructed). At the Consular Interview, the foreign worker will bring the required documents and photos and if approved, the relevant temporary US work visa will be stamped inside of his/her passport and will indicate the validity dates. The foreign worker may also need to file additional paperwork with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or other governmental agencies and follow further procedures before being authorized to live and work in the USA.

US PERMANENT RESIDENT VISA

There are several ways to live and work in America long-term as a permanent resident of the United States, including through Employment-Based (EB) US immigration programs and the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.

Employment-Based (EB) US Visas – In addition to meeting the unique criteria for the specific Employment-Based US immigration visa program, the relevant petition will usually need to be filed with the USCIS agency. If the petition is approved by USCIS, the foreign worker will file the US immigration visa application with the State Department and pay the governmental fee at the American embassy or consulate in the country where he/she is living. The applicant will also need to pass the security background check, medical exam and satisfy other criteria (as instructed). At the Consular Interview, the foreign worker will bring the required documents and photos and if approved, a US immigration visa will be stamped inside of his/her passport. The immigrant will also need to pay a fee to USCIS so that the US Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) can be issued.

Diversity Visa Lottery Program – The US Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program is one of the easiest ways to live and work in America as a permanent resident of the United States. There are two major requirements to participate in the DV-Lottery (also known as the Green Card Lottery). One requirement is to be born in a country whose nationals are eligible to participate in the DV-Lottery for a particular year (the US State Department publishes a list of eligible and ineligible countries each year prior to the Lottery). The other main requirement is to possess at least a secondary school diploma or to have a minimum of two years of paid work experience in a qualifying occupation within the past five years. The Green Card Lottery Application and photo(s) must also be submitted according to the regulations during the annual registration period. If randomly selected in the DV-Lottery, the “winner” must file the US immigration visa application online with the US State Department’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) so that the Consular Interview may be scheduled at the American embassy or consulate in the selectee’s country of residence. The applicant will also need to pass the security background check, medical exam and satisfy other criteria (as instructed). At the Consular Interview, the foreign national will bring the required documents and photos and pay the Diversity Visa application fee. If approved for US immigration, a Diversity Visa will be stamped inside of his/her passport to allow entry into the United States. The immigrant will also need to pay a fee to USCIS so that the US Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) can be issued.

Please note that this is a summary of some of the key requirements, since there are several US visa programs available for temporary foreign workers and permanent residents and each program has its own criteria which are subject to change by the US government at any time.

If you would like to learn more details about how to live and work in the USA, please feel free to contact us at International Job Master.