How to Get a US Work Visa?
The US offers unprecedented economic opportunity for immigrants. Almost 50% of the startups in Silicon Valley over the past 20 years have had at least one immigrant founder and that includes some of the most well known names in the world including Paypal, Yahoo, Intel, Google and Facebook. Additionally children of immigrants have been founders of companies like Apple, Disney, IBM and Oracle.
In short even you are not the founder or leaders at companies like these you could be one of the hundreds of thousands hard working people working at all levels of companies like these and more around the US from New York to Chicago to Dallas and Los Angeles. The average income in the US is around $45,000 USD and that becomes a lot higher depending on education level and experience.
This type of economic opportunity attracts millions of people around the world to seek things like Green Cards or the elusive H-1B work visa. However there is only a limited supply of these a year which a further restricted by country quotas, job and education requirements and the costs of legal sponsorship.
Here are the best routes to getting a US work visa
1. Be in the US when searching – We will go into detail with other tips as to how you can accomplish this best but unless you fall into the exceptional category or some low-skill or intern categories, no one will likely hire you unless they see you. This is the single most important thing you can do whether you are hear as a tourist or on another visa.
2. Plan Ahead prior to arriving in the US – If you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program you only have 3 months in the US and if you get the B1/B2 tourist visa you get up to 6 months. It can take some time to apply, attend interview, negotiate offers, etc. and it is expensive to be in the US not working with travel, accommodation, food, phone and other costs. So ensure you put a US address on your resume preferabbly of the area where you are applying. Get a US phone number from Skype or Google Voice in advance of leaving so people will call your number if you send applications in advance of arriving in US. Ensure you have a US style resume which means in almost all cases being only page and dominated by your career experience and accomplishments.
3. Come to the US as a student on an F-1 visa or intern on a J-1 visa – US experience and/or education on your resume will put at a significant advantage versus other foreigners and closer to parity with US residents when applying for a job. The other advantage of these visas is it in and of itself buys you time in the US to network and apply for jobs.
4. Understand the main US work visas like the H-1B visa, L-1 visa & E-3 visa – The H-1B visa is the most well known US work visa and has 85,000 annually. The application period starts at April 1 each year and closes as soon as the cap is exhausted. You can commence working if approved from October 1 of that same year. The L-1 visa is for multi-national company transfers but you need to have worked for at least 12 months at the foreign location of the company. The E-3 visa is currently only for Australians and there are 10,500 each year