Work in the United States for Foreign Nationals : How to Get Started

For immigrants, getting started on the job hunt can be a tricky prospect, especially if you’re not familiar with how the process works in the USA. Luckily, these tips will help you make the most of your time and resources when searching for USA jobs for immigrants in America.

Work in the United States for Foreign Nationals : How to Get Started

If you’re an immigrant and want to work in the United States, you may be wondering how to get started with jobs in the country. Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can look into obtaining an employment visa that will allow you to do so. This guide on USA jobs for immigrants will help you through the steps needed to obtain your first job in the United States as well as how to keep it once you’ve got it!

The United States may be one of the most iconic countries in the world, but it also happens to be one of the most inaccessible to immigrants looking to find work or start a new life. Unless you’re an American citizen or have had permanent residency for at least five years, you can’t get permission to work here unless your employer has petitioned and been granted permission on your behalf by the US government. If you aren’t already familiar with how that works, this guide will help you navigate the system and find jobs for immigrants in the USA today! Continue reading to learn more.

Work in the United States

The United States of America is one of the countries in the world that consistently creates job opportunities. There are several USA jobs for immigrants you can apply for to earn a living. The U.S. government has made it possible for new immigrants to earn a living as they settle down. If you're from another country and thinking about coming to America, you will be curious on what are some of the best jobs for immigrants? Here’s a look at some of them.

First, let’s define immigrant; in the U.S., an immigrant is someone who is not a citizen or national of any other country but is legally permitted to live in the U.S., typically on a temporary basis. There are many paths that can lead to becoming an immigrant—you could have been born outside of the U.S., moved here as a child, married into citizenship, or obtained legal status through your job. The United States has long been known as a destination for those seeking better opportunities than they had back home.

Requirements to Work in the US

In order to apply for a job at USA Jobs, you must be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident alien with unrestricted work authorization, says U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How to Apply for a Job in the United States

The two best places to look for USA jobs for immigrants if you are just getting started with your job hunt are indeed and LinkedIn. Foreigners have had the most success using these two. However, as a foreign national, when searching for a job on these websites.

You should specifically search for jobs that indicate that visa sponsorship. Foreign nationals who are not US citizens or lawful permanent residents of the U.S. need a work visa, as well as a permit to work, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), in order to work in the United States.

You can either get a US visa through employment or family visa sponsorship or through other pathways which we will be talking about below. In most cases, you’ll need a job offer before you can start to apply for a US employment visa. Meanwhile, there are three ways to obtain a visa when you're planning to relocate to and work in the US.


Generally, you need a job offer before you can come to the U.S. to work. Unless you're currently studying in the U.S., you'll need to search for and apply to US jobs from your home country. Here are steps to follow to work in the US a job through sponsorship:

1. Apply for a job: To begin with, you will apply for a US job from your home country. You will need a job offer before you can enter the United States to work. Start by creating an American-style resume and cover letter. This will demonstrate to the employer that you have done your research on how to get a job in the US and your ability to adapt to the new environment. Make sure you only include experience that is directly relevant to the position you are applying to. Also, specify your English language level.


2. Search for employers: There are several job search websites that are available such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, etc. That you can access no matter where you currently live. Moreover, you can also contact a recruiting agency if you are an experienced professional. Employers usually schedule interviews online for candidates who live outside the US. Ensure that you prepare a few statements and rehearse before the interview.

Temporary Visa

A temporary visa just as the name sounds, is a type of visa that you need to renew regularly. You will need to have a job before applying for a temporary visa. Once you accept a job offer you can then follow these steps to get a temporary or non-immigrant visa.

  1. To begin with, your employer needs to file a petition on your behalf with USCIS if you're not eligible to file on your yet. 
  2. Then, you need to wait for USCIS to approve your employer's petition before you can apply for a visa. If you proceed without their approval, your application will be denied. 
  3. Once the petition is approved, complete an online application with the necessary documents like your passport, travel, and work papers. To submit your application, click on the “sign application” button, then “submit.” Print the confirmation page as you will need it for your interview.
  4. Moreover, you will have to interview with the US embassy or consulate. This is to verify that you qualify for the visa. They will collect your visa application fee, review your original documents, take your biometrics, and then, either confirm or deny your application.
  5. Once approved, you can return a few weeks later to pick up your visa.

Green Card

A green card is a document that gives a foreign worker the authorization to live and work in the United States permanently. There's an annual green card lottery program known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. It provides foreign nationals with the opportunity to obtain permanent residency. The program randomly selects applicants and distributes approximately 50,000 green cards annually.

Besides the green card lottery program, you can also obtain permanent residency if you already work with a temporary visa in the US. You will have to file an application for a green card. It allows you to stay in the US without having to renew your visa. Here are steps to follow:

  1. Your employer will need to fill in an I-140 form (an immigration petition).
  2. Employers receive a notice from USCIS with your priority date when they file an immigration petition. The priority date determines your application date. If you apply earlier than the date your application will be denied.
  3. Then, you will have to get a medical exam. This is to verify that you are in good physical and mental health.
  4. Fill out your application (form I-485), which you can download on the USCIS website and fill it out.
  5. Then, submit the application once you are done. You will have to make a copy of the requested official documents and submit them according to the instructions provided on the USCIS website.
  6. Attend the interview. Meanwhile, you will have to give your biometrics (fingerprints, signature, and photos). This is to verify the information you provided on your application.

Once you have your visa or green card, you will need a Social Security Number to work in the US. 

Final Thoughts

Most immigrants would love to work in their new country, but there are many barriers—cultural, linguistic, and legal—that can make it difficult. We’ve broken down many of these obstacles below and offer tips on how you can find your dream job in a foreign land. Remember that we have also written a guide on jobs for immigrants in other countries here as well. Good luck! To learn more about finding employment in America as an immigrant click the link below.