How To Work in USA 2024: Guide to Jobs, Visas and Requirements

How To Work in USA: Are you looking for a greener pasture in the United States? This will cover how to work in the USA in 2024, including visa options, job search strategies, and essential requirements for foreign workers. This comprehensive guide allows you to discover different opportunities and smoothly navigate the process.

How To Work in USA

How to Find Jobs in the U.S.

Are you planning to relocate to the U.S. for work but don’t know how to follow? Well, you have nothing to worry about. There are three ways to obtain a visa and find jobs:


Visa sponsorship refers to the practice of an employer guaranteeing your status as a legal working resident. When you obtain a sponsor, they verify your job title and take responsibility for both you and your actions while you stay in the country. Here is the process for obtaining sponsorship:

1. Prepare your application documents

The first step is to apply for a job in your home country. Start by creating an American-style resume and cover letter, demonstrating to prospective U.S. employers that you understand American norms and can adapt to a new environment. Make sure to include only relevant experience in both documents. For example, if you’re seeking employment as a computer engineer, you can list employment related to the information technology sector in the work history section of your resume. Remember to provide details about your professional achievement and specify your English language proficiency.

2. Search for jobs online

Find positions that relate to your qualifications by searching a job site such as Indeed, which allows you to create a profile so employers can find you. As you search, verify whether the employers you find provide sponsorship. That may help to avoid confusion and rejections of your applications. If the site doesn’t allow you to filter your search results by sponsorship opportunities, try typing “sponsorship” in the search field within quotation marks. That ensures you receive only results containing the term. If a company doesn’t explicitly state they provide sponsorship, contact them directly to ask. Even if they don’t usually sponsor candidates, they may make an exception if they see how you can add value to their organization.

3. Interview online

For candidates who live outside the U.S., employers usually schedule online interviews through teleconferencing software. As you set up your interviews, be aware of time differences. The contiguous U.S. has four time zones, so find the employer’s location to determine a time that works well for them and you. Be prepared to interview late at night to accommodate the employer. When the time comes for your interview, make sure to have a reliable internet connection so you can avoid disruptions. Also, dress professionally, as you would for an in-person meeting, to make a good first impression.

Temporary visa

A temporary visa involves regular renewal. Most work visas are employer-driven, requiring your employer to submit an application for you in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lottery, specifically for an H1B visa. The USCIS limits the number of applications it selects, and you won’t be able to file a petition unless yours is among them. The lottery usually opens in March for approximately two weeks, during which time your employer is to submit details such as your name, birth date, and passport number.

With the above in mind, follow these steps to obtain a temporary visa once you have accepted a job offer:

1. File a petition if necessary

If you aren’t yet eligible, ask your employer to petition USCIS. A petition isn’t always necessary. For example, you don’t need an employer petition to be eligible if you work in investment or international trade. Please refer to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website for more information.

2. Wait for your employer’s petition approval

You can apply for a visa once the USCIS approves your employer’s petition. Failure to wait for approval results in the denial of your application. The length of the waiting period depends on what category of worker you occupy, with certain categories being limited in the number of visas issued per year.

3. Apply for a temporary visa

Once the petition is approved, complete an online application for your temporary visa. Make sure to write down your application I.D. number so you can access it later. The application is in English and requires information about your work history, education, and criminal background. Follow the application prompts and respond to each question completely and accurately. Ultimately, the application prompts you to submit an application fee and schedule a visa appointment with the nearest U.S. embassy/consulate.

4. Interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate

The visa interview aims to verify that you qualify for the visa you’ve applied for. The embassy or consulate collects your visa application fee, reviews your original documents, takes your fingerprints, and confirms or denies your application.

5. Get your visa

Once approved, you can return a few weeks later to pick up your passport with a visa stamp. There may be additional fees, so make sure you ask about them.

After you get your visa, work with your employer to make travel and hotel arrangements if you don’t yet have a place to live. Some employers may provide these accommodations for you when you arrive in the country.

Green card

A green card authorizes a foreign national to live and work in the U.S. permanently. Candidates can obtain permanent residency through an annual green card lottery called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which you can apply for online. The program randomly selects applicants and distributes approximately 50,000 green cards every year. Here’s what to do:

1. Ask your employer to complete an I-140 form

The I-140 form is an immigrant petition, which your employer is to complete and submit. Petitions may require the U.S. Department of Labor certification. Your employer may seek legal advice from an immigration attorney.

2. Ask about your priority date

When an employer files an immigration petition, they receive a notice from USCIS with your priority date, which determines your application date. Make sure you remember this date because premature application results in rejection. Look on the government website for the filing chart to see when you can submit your application according to your priority date.

3. Get a medical exam

First, find an approved doctor on the USCIS website. Then, make an appointment for a medical examination. The objective of the visit is to verify you meet the health-related standards.

4. Fill out and submit your application

Download form I-485 on the USCIS website and fill it out. Give honest answers. Consider seeking the advice of an immigration attorney if you need help. Then, to submit your application, make a copy of the requested official documents and submit them according to the directions on the USCIS website. Note that there are application fees.

6. Interview and biometrics

The USCIS requests that you provide your fingerprints, signature, and photos. The agency may also invite you to interview with the embassy to verify the answers you provided on your application. Expect to receive the date and time for these appointments once the USCIS receives your application.

7. Receive the decision

If you’re approved, you can expect your green card by mail. If you’re denied, you can appeal the decision. Common reasons for denied applications include missing documents, unclear information, and submitting documents later than the deadline.

How To Work in USA – Work Visa USA Types

There are several types of US work visas depending on the purpose and type of work you want.

Here are the types of US Temporary Work Visas:

1. H1B visa:

Person in Specialty Occupation. To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.

2. H-1B1 visa:

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional – Chile, Singapore. To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a post-secondary degree involving at least four years of study in the field of specialization. (Note: This is not a petition-based visa.)

3. H-2A visa:

Temporary Agricultural Worker. For temporary or seasonal agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States’ interest.

4. H-2B visa:

Temporary Non-agricultural Worker. For temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States’ interest.

5. H-3 visa:

Trainee or Special Education visitor. To receive training other than graduate medical or academic that is not available in the trainee’s home country or practical training programs in the education of children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.

6. I visa:

Representatives of Foreign Media. The visa allows journalists and those who work in the information or media sector to complete their work while in the US.

7. L1 visa:

Intracompany Transferee. To work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. Individuals must have been employed by the same employer abroad continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years.

8. P-1 visa:

Individual or Team Athlete or Member of an Entertainment Group. To perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete or as a member of an entertainment group. Requires an internationally recognized level of sustained performance. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.

9. P-2 visa:

Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group). For performance under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.

10. P-3 visa:

Arist or Entertainer (Individual or Group). To perform, teach or coach under a program that is culturally unique or a traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.

11. R-1 visa:

Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers. To help foreign nationals to come to the US and work in a religious organization. Only ministers and those who are directly tied to religious work are qualified.

12. TN visa:

NAFTA Workers. This visa allows lawyers, scientists, engineers, teachers from Canada to work in the US temporarily.

13. O1 Visa:

Visa for persons with extraordinary abilities. The O1 visa is for those who show expert knowledge in science, business, education, athletics, or art, including international recognition for their work.

How To Work in USA

Tips for Finding Jobs in the U.S. as a Foreign National

Consider these tips to maximize your chances of finding jobs in the U.S. as a foreign national:

  • Take your time. Make sure to start the process in advance, as the visa acquisition can be fairly lengthy.
  • Verify eligibility. Review eligibility requirements before applying for a visa to come and work in the U.S.
  • Be aware of scams. Remember that there are no fees to access forms, though there are fees to file applications and petitions.Verify the visa process before applying. You can consult the Visa Bulletin to check updates on the visa process and learn about the evolution of immigration laws.

Work Visa USA Qualifications

There are three preconditions that someone interested in obtaining a US work visa needs to fulfill before applying for it. If you do not meet even one of these conditions, the embassy might deny your visa application. This will make you unable to travel to the US and work there. These preconditions are as follows:

1. Have a job offer in the US

You need to have applied for, and been accepted in a job position within the US in order to qualify for a work visa. That is because the US requires several documents from your employer before you start your visa application.

2. Approved petition by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

This requirement means that before you apply for a US work visa, your employer must file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS. This petition, otherwise known as a I-129 form is the most important document for you to get your work visa. When USCIS approves your employer’s petition, you can start applying for the visa. However, if your petition is approved, that does not necessarily mean that the US Embassy will automatically give you a work visa. Due to reasons that might remain at the discretion of the Embassy, you could be denied the work visa even if your USCIS petition is approved.

3. Labor certification approval by the Department of Labor (DOL)

Some of the work visas, more specifically the H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, and H-2B also require your employer to have a certification from DOL. Your employer should apply for the DOL on your behalf before even filing the petition with USCIS. The US government requires this certification as proof that US employers need foreign workers. They have to prove that they cannot fill those work positions with US employees. In addition, the certification is needed in order to ensure that temporary foreign workers are not having an impact on job opportunities for US citizens in a negative way.

How to get a work visa

To get a U.S. work visa, you’ll need to find a job at a US-based company willing to sponsor you for a work visa. Except if you fall into those exceptions:

  • you are an American citizen;
  • you hold a green card;
  • you hold an EAD (Employment Authorization Document);
  • you won the EDV Green Card lottery and will get the green card;
  • one of your parent(s), spouse, child(s), or sibling(s)) is an American citizen or green card holder and is willing to sponsor you;
  • your spouse got a non-immigrant visa such as H1B, E1, E2, J1, L1, or A2, and on the one, you can be added as a dependent and ask for work authorization then;
  • you are a journalist, or you work for an independent production company and are sent to the U.S.A. by your current company;
  • you are employed by a company at a management or expertise level and are sent to the U.S.A. by your current company;
  • you have an extraordinary ability in the arts or athletics and want to work as an independent contractor;
  • you have an extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and want to work as an independent contractor;
  • you create your own company;
  • you invest $800k+ in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create jobs.

If you fall into one of the four first exceptions above, you do not need any visa sponsorship. Our career advice below does not apply to you. We recommend you use general job boards such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or LinkedIn and their career advice section for finding your job.

If you fall into one of the other exceptions above: you might be able to get a work visa or work authorization without needing any visa sponsorship from a U.S.-based employer. In that case, we recommend you contact a lawyer in immigration law who will be able to help you with that.

If you do not fall into one of those exceptions above, you may need a visa sponsorship from a U.S.-based employer. And our career guide below can definitely help you!

US Work Visa Requirements

In addition to fulfilling the three qualifying preconditions, you will also need to have these documents:

  • Valid passport – which needs to be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the US and an additional six months after you return
  • US visa photo – which you need to upload when you fill out the online application form.
  • The Receipt Number, which you can find on your approved Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (I-129 Form) which your employer filed.
  • A confirmation page that you have completed your Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160 Form).
  • Receipt that proves that you have paid the application fee. For US work visas, the application fee is $190. There might also be additional fees that apply to your location, so you should check with your local US Embassy for more details.
  • Proof that you will return to your home country after your work in the US ends. This applies to all types of work visas with the exception of the H-1B and the L visa. Examples of how you can prove you will return from the US include the following:
  • Submitting your economic situation
  • Your family relationships
  • Any long term plans you might have
  • Residence that you plan on returning to

For those applying for an L Visa, you will also need to have a filled I-129S form (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition). You should bring this form with you when you have your visa interview.

Besides these general requirements, which apply to all those who want to get a US work visa, there might also be other documents which you need to submit. You should contact your local US Embassy for more detailed information.

Work Visa USA Application Procedures

If you have fulfilled the three prequalifying conditions and gathered the necessary documents, then you qualify to start your application for the US work visa. The way you can apply is by completing the following steps:

1. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) and print the confirmation page

The information you enter into the DS-160 form must all be correct. If you submit any incorrect information, the Embassy will have reason enough to deny you the visa. In addition, the DS-160 form is available in many languages, but your answers must be in English.

2. Schedule your interview

Due to the high number of applications that US Embassies receive, you should make sure that you schedule your interview as soon as you meet all the requirements. If you are younger than 13 years old or older than 80 years old, a visa interview is generally not required. As for people between the ages of 14 and 79, interviews are required, but there can be exceptions if you are just renewing your visa.

3. Attend the interview

Your interview and the information on the DS-160 form will serve for the US Embassy to make their decision on whether you should be given a visa or not. That is why, it is highly important that you show up to the interview on time, dressed appropriately, and with all the necessary documents. In addition, you should answer all questions as fully as possible, always giving true information. Visa interviewers are trained to detect when someone is providing false information, so if you do that, they will deny your visa.

4. Complete additional procedures

You will be required to give digital fingerprints before, during, or after your interview depending on your location, as well as pay any additional fees. After the visa processing, if the US Embassy gives you the work visa, you might also be required to pay a visa issuance fee. The amount of the visa issuance fee is determined based on your country of origin.

5. Your Rights and Responsibilities

Temporary Workers in the US have a set of rights, which the government grants them. They are protected from violations and exploitation, and can exercise these rights without being penalized. If someone in the US violates your rights and you report it, your visa will not be terminated and the government cannot force you to return to your country if your visa is still valid, only because you reported those violations.

If the inspectors of Homeland Security and other departments allow you entry into the US, you also have the right to apply to extend your stay. However, once your visa expires, you cannot stay in the country unless the Embassy extends your visa. If you stay after your work visa is invalid, you might not be eligible to apply for one in the future.

You also have the right to apply for a visa for your spouse or children in the same visa category as you.

  • For H visa holders, your spouse and children should apply for an H-4 visa
  • If you hold an L visa, your dependents should apply for an L-2 visa,
  • For O visas, spouse and children should apply for an O-3 visa,
  • P visa holder’s spouse and children should apply for a P-4 visa, and
  • Those who hold a Q visa, spouse and children should apply for a Q-3 visa

How To Work in USA

What is a Labor Conditions Application?

A Labor Conditions Application (LCA) or Certification is issued by the US Department of Labor to a company which is planning to hire a foreign worker. The LCA gives the right to the company to hire employees who are not US citizens of Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) and sponsor them for visas.

The LCA declares that the company needs to hire a foreign worker because a US worker was not available, qualified, or willing to work in that job position. It also states that the foreign worker’s salary will be on par with that of a US worker and that the foreign worker will not face discrimination or a bad work environment.

What is an Employment Petition?

An employment petition is submitted by a US company that wants to sponsor a foreign worker for an employment visa. The petition is submitted to USCIS for processing and includes details of the job position, salary, and the qualifications of the foreign worker.

When a US employer submits an employment petition, they must also pay the fees for processing and sponsoring the employee. They must also attach supporting documents which prove that the company can afford to hire a foreign worker, that they have paid all taxes, and obtained a Labor Certification Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.

What is an Employment Authorization Document?

Those who have US nonimmigrant visas cannot start working unless they have a work permit. The US work permit is called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and it can be obtained immediately after your visa is approved.

The EAD allows you to work in any US company legally for as long as your visa is valid. Your spouse can also get an EAD if they qualify. Once you renew or extend the visa, you must also apply for a renewal of your EAD. For information on how to apply, visit the EAD article.

Conclusion: How To Work in USA 2024

Securing employment in the United States as a foreign national in 2024 requires careful planning, persistence, and adherence to complex immigration procedures. The process involves understanding various visa types, meeting specific qualifications, and navigating through application procedures. Key steps include obtaining a job offer from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you, ensuring you meet visa requirements, and completing necessary documentation such as the Labor Conditions Application and Employment Petition.

While the journey may seem daunting, it offers incredible opportunities for professional growth and cultural exchange. Stay informed about the latest immigration policies, as they can change. Remember that each visa type has its own set of requirements and benefits, so choose the one that best fits your situation and career goals.

As you embark on this journey, maintain patience and diligence. Seek assistance from immigration attorneys if needed, and always provide accurate information throughout the application process. With the right preparation and approach, working in the USA in 2024 can become a rewarding reality, opening doors to new experiences and career advancement in one of the world’s largest economies.


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