Immigration Options - USA

How You Can Work in the USA

The United States of America has the world’s largest economy and is also the #1 destination for immigrants, as well as the country with the largest foreign-born population (around 45 million). 

The US has a long history of attracting and welcoming immigrants from around the globe who come from various socioeconomic backgrounds, but who share a common desire to enjoy the American Dream. 

Immigrants are extremely important to the US economy, filling millions of skilled and unskilled jobs in America. 

Many sectors of the American economy are highly dependent on foreign workers, such the healthcare, high-tech, hospitality, and construction industries. 

The American government grants Permanent Resident Green Cards to approximately 140,000 foreign workers each year through five Employment-Based (EB) US visa programs, most of which require the foreign worker to receive a qualifying offer of employment in the United States at the start of the application procedure (there are some exceptions). 

The five Employment-Based (EB) Green Card Programs include:

  • EB-1 Visa – for qualified individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education and the sciences; outstanding researchers and professors; and multinational managers and other executives.
  • EB-2 Visa – for certain professionals with advanced university degrees (i.e., beyond a Bachelor’s Degree or having a Bachelor’s Degree combined with five years of relevant work experience); or individuals who have exceptional ability in the arts, business or sciences.
  • EB-3 Visa – for skilled workers whose occupations require at least two years of training or work experience, professionals whose jobs require at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and certain unskilled workers whose occupations require less than two years of training or work experience.
  • EB-4 Visa – for “special immigrants” (such as religious workers, ministers of religion, certain international broadcasters, or other specific categories of immigrants).
  • EB-5 Visa – for foreign investors who make a substantial investment in a new business enterprise in the USA which will produce at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers during a two year period. 

Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers also receive temporary US work visas each year to live and work in America for a specific amount of time through several non-immigrant programs.

Examples of US non-immigrant temporary work visas include:

  • E-1 Visa (Treaty Trader)
  • E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)
  • H-1B (Specialty Occupations)
  • H-2A (Temporary Agricultural Workers)
  • H-2B (Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers)
  • L-1A Visa (Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager)
  • L-1B Visa (Intracompany Transferee with Specialized Knowledge)
  • O-1A Visa (Persons with Extraordinary Ability in Science, Education, Business, or Athletics)
  • O-1B Visa (Persons with Extraordinary Ability in the Arts or Extraordinary Achievement in the Television or Motion Picture Industry)
  • P-1A Visa (Internationally Recognized Athlete)
  • P-1B Visa (Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group)
  • R-Visa (Person in a Religious Occupation)

Most of the temporary US work visas require the foreign worker to receive a qualifying offer of employment in the United States at the beginning of the application process (there may be some exceptions). 

In some cases, a temporary foreign worker with a valid US work visa (such as the H-1B Visa) may have the option to apply for a US Permanent Resident Green Card while legally living and working in the USA (i.e., to have their US immigration status adjusted from temporary resident to Permanent Resident of the United States).