Congratulations upon your decision to come the United States to work! In order to come to the USA you need to have the appropriate Visa. The Visa used to be to color green and so was called a “Green Card.” Most people still use the term Green Card, but the technical term is now “lawful permanent residence’ There are many types of visas that you can apply for. For most people, you need to be sponsored by a United States employer, who will then offer you a job. This is a first step to permanent residence in the United States.

Getting Certified to work in the United States

There are five main ways to get a work visa for the United States.

Sponsorship by an Employer – you have already a job and the employer wants you to work. There are different professions that are needed in the United States. You first must have found the job, the Employer files for the Visa, then the United States Immigration Bureau approves the request and only then can you start to work.

Investment – this is a visa which is used by business people who invest in the United States, who is from another country which has a special treaty with the United States.

Sponsorship by a close Family Member in the United States – this is a person who is working, or is a citizen of the United States.

The Diversity Visa Lottery Program – This is a program that permits 55,000 people who meet strict requirements to be chosen at random from the pool of applicants. There are many fraudulent websites that say that they participate in this program. The program stopped accepting applicants for the 2013, so choose another kind of visa.

Asylum & Refugee Status – Asylum status that you are already in the United States, and refugee means that you are outside the United States. You can qualify for these statuses if you are afraid to go back to your home country because of persecution of race, religion, political affiliation, membership in a particular social group. You have to have been persecuted there in the past, or a well founded fear that you will be persecuted if you go back. If you have this status, then you can apply for a “Green Card” within one year of being in the United States.

There is a quota – a upper limit for each year for each type of visa. You must also pay a fee for a Visa, and in some cases it might be expensive. Always call your local embassy to find out the cost in your currency. They usually only accept cash, but this can vary. Check the official immigration website http://travel.state.gov/visa/ for more information.

There is also a special type of Visa for people from Australia. This is the E3 Visa and it allows 10,500 Australians to enter the United States for work purposes. You have to be in specialty occupation, have a BA and be sponsored by an American company that wants to employ you. You can apply for this special visa at a US Consulate and not at the US Embassy which will save lots of time and traveling for most people in Australia.

Be prepared that this process may take some time to get your working visa. So, good luck and see you working in the USA!

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