- Country Name: United States of America
- Capital: Washington
- Population: 322,369,319 (2016 estimate)
- Language: English
- Time Zone: UTC -4 to -12, +10, +11
- Dialing Code: +1
- Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
This FAQ has been created as an introductory guide to immigration procedures for United States of America. Since rules and requirements in every country are constantly changing and each case must be assessed on its own merits, for in-depth and up-to-date advice, please contact us.
Please note, we can only advise on matters relating to immigration and are unable support you with employment in a new region. We do however have a network of trusted partners that can support your move, so please visit Our Partners page for further information.
The US offers a diverse range of roles for foreign workers which range from information technology specialists, nurses and agricultural workers to researchers and scientists.
There are two types of US visa; the non-immigrant visa, which is for those seeking temporary work in the US and the immigrant visa, which is for those wishing to reside there permanently, whether they are seeking employment or not.
The applicant’s prospective employer will need to obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. If that is successfully received, the employer must file Form I-129 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This will depend on which employment visa you are applying for. For the H-1B category an applicant will need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. The employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor stating that it complies with wage and working conditions, and also a petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which must be approved. If this is successful, the applicant will then need to apply for an H-1B visa at the nearest US embassy in their country of residence.
For the L-1 intra-company category, the employer will need to submit an individual petition on behalf of the applicant to USCIS. Once this is approved, the applicant may apply for the L-1 at a US embassy. Alternatively, multinational companies who frequently use the service will be able to make use of an L-1 ‘blanket’ petition.
The US Department of State has a web page which you can check to find the waiting period for the US embassy you are applying from. The typical amount of time for a temporary work visa to be processed from the US Embassy in London is 4 days.
Applicants applying under the H-1B category are usually granted an initial period of stay of up to three years. Extension periods are available up to six years maximum. L-1 applicants are granted an initial period of stay of up to three years, with extensions available for up to a seven year maximum.
It is possible to look for jobs under a tourist visa, and to search for work and attend interviews. You are not permitted to work without a work visa, however. If you do enter under a tourist visa, you will need to wait for sixty days to change category from a tourist to work visa.
Yes, as long as the partner, spouse or child is a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident who earns a sufficient salary and is prepared to support you financially, then this is a viable option. The designated sponsor will have to execute a legally binding affidavit that outlines their support for the applicant.
To apply for permanent residency, you will have to qualify under certain prescribed Employment Based criteria, such as the extraordinary ability EB-1 category, or the EB-3 skilled workers category.
You may apply for citizenship if you have been employed for five years in the USA. You will be required to pass a test and swear an oath of allegiance, as well as proving you have not been convicted of certain crimes, have been a member of some organisations or suffer from certain diseases.
Depending on the applicant’s nationality, a visa can be issued for single entry or multiple/unlimited entry.
Individuals should apply for their visas well in advance of the date they wish to travel to the US. You should not travel until your visa has been issued to you.