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How much work do I have to do to work in the U.S?

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Just because you don’t live in the United States permanently, doesn’t mean you can’t work there! Many people are successfully granted work visas every year so that they can temporarily reside in the U.S. legally without truly moving from their home. Let’s presuppose that you do not have a greencard. In this case, can you work in the U.S.? Before moving on, remember that there are several ways you can apply to temporarily live in the U.S. This article will mostly address non-immigrant workers.

Your first requirement for working in the U.S. is quite obviously authorization from the U.S. government. But how do you get this? Well, work authorization typically comes in the form of a visa which you must apply for at the consulars office of your embassy to the U.S. There are a variety of visas you can apply for; this is a highly individual and variable process! On occasion, you can apply for a non-work related visa and then petition for work authorization later. People studying abroad often to do just this.

The consulars office has a great deal of control over your fate. Documents and motives help your case, of course, but it is ultimately up to the embassy if you receive a work visa or not. This is not meant to discourage you, but just to enlighten you about how temporary visas are never guaranteed.

There are also those who can gain work authorization by simply legally immigrating to the U.S. In other words, they do permanently reside in the country and thus gain working privileges. This is how you would get a greencard (mentioned earlier).

But how do you know if you’re a good candidate for a work visa? First off, an employer in America can sponsor you. This is a avenue that’s commonly taken. However, you can also sponsor yourself. This is just a bit trickier to do. Only if you are incredibly in demand here in the U.S., for example you have extraordinary ability in your field, can you sponsor yourself. So can you work in the U.S.? Yes, if you manage to earn a green card or there is an employer in the country eager to hire you on board. Otherwise, it might be more challenging to work in the U.S. unless you are an exceptional employee with rare skill and/or talent.

An important note: the more skilled and professional you are at your job, the better chances you will have at successfully traveling to the U.S. and working there. Engineers, doctors, and teachers, for instance, easily work in the U.S. As do workers who fill in gaps that U.S. residents won’t fill. In other words, if you’re interested in a job that no U.S. citizen wants, then your work visa will be more swiftly granted to you.

There’s still one last pesky caveat: some occupations simply don’t qualify you for a work visa! Make sure to check these detailed requirements out as you prepare to work in the U.S.

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