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American Green Card Lottery: How To Get American Work Visa, Eligibility & Requirements

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How To Get American Work Visa, Eligibility & Requirements

Are you a foreign national interested in employment in the United States? If so, you would need a work visa to be legally employed in the United States. Green cards for foreign nationals who wish to work in the United States (for permanent residence), temporary work visas, and seasonal worker visas, including work visas and work visas there are various changes.

The type of visa you can get will depend on the type of work you do, whether you have a relationship with an employer, and, in some cases, your country of origin. The guidelines for obtaining a work permit in the United States vary depending on the type of visa and the eligibility requirements for that visa.

The Trump administration has extended restrictions limiting foreign worker visas until December 31, 2020, including H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas. There are some exemptions, and current employees in the United States are not affected by the suspension.1

Information about each type of USA work visa, including eligibility and requirements, as well as information about the visa application. It is important to note that these requirements can change at any time, so we have provided links to government sources that will be the most reliable source of up-to-date information on restrictions, quotas, and guidelines for Green card and visa applications.

U.S. Work Visas Requirements

What is a US work visa and why do you need it? A visa is a document that provides authorization for travel and admission to the United States. Before visiting, working, or immigrating to the United States, usually, a citizen of a foreign country must first obtain a U.S. visa.

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The visa allows entry to the United States and may allow for employment in the United States, depending on the type of visa received.

Having a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States, however, it does indicate that a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate has determined that you are eligible to seek entry for the specific purpose listed on the visa. Visas are obtained from the U.S. Embassy or consulate closest to your residence abroad.

It is possible to become a permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States by getting a job or employment. There is also a visa lottery program that provides a limited number of green cards to successful applicants.

However, some categories require a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor to show that there are not enough, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers in the geographic area where the immigrant will be employed, and that no American workers are displaced. by foreign workers.

U.S. immigration law provides foreign nationals with a variety of ways to obtain a Green Card through employment in the United States. 

These employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories include:

  • (EB-1) –  First preference for priority workers, including “foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; or certain multinational managers and executives.”
  • (EB2) – Second preference for “foreign nationals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers).”
  • (EB3) – Third preference for foreign nationals who are “skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.”
  • (EB4)– Fourth preference for special immigrants like religious workers, neglected/abused juveniles, and retired officers or employees of certain international organizations, or NATO, and certain family members.
  • (EB5) Fifth preference for immigrant investors, is “foreign nationals who have invested or are actively in the process of investing [sums of at least] $1 million (or $500,000 in targeted employment areas) in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has more information on how to apply for a Green Card.

Green Card Lottery Programs

The annual green card lottery program (Diversity Immigrant Visa Program) is an opportunity for potential immigrants to obtain the status as permanent legal residents of the U.S.
This program runs each year and provides green cards to applicants randomly selected in a lottery process—known as the Green Card Lottery. Applicants must apply far in advance of the actual date when they would like to enter the country. 7

Exchange Visitor Visas

U.S. Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visas are available to individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. These visas allow visitors to experience life in the U.S., before returning to their home countries with an appreciation for the American culture and lifestyle.
As per the State Department, eligible categories of visitors for this visa type include au pairs, camp counselors, college students, interns, physicians, professors, scholars, teachers, and trainees.8

Temporary Work Visas (Non-Agricultural)

U.S. Temporary Non-Agricultural (H-2B) visas are available to foreign workers in non-agricultural fields to work in the United States, provided there is an insufficient number of domestic laborers to fill the position. H-2B visas are generally used for jobs that are temporary, though not agricultural—for example, jobs at ski mountains, hotels, beach resorts, or amusement parks.9
Learn more about current requirements and restrictions at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Temporary Worker Visas (Skilled Workers)

U.S. H1-B non-immigrant visas are for skilled, educated individuals employed in specialized occupations. The H1-B visa enables foreign workers to work temporarily for a specific employer in the United States.10
To apply, you must have an employee-employer relationship, work in a specific in-demand specialty occupation, and be paid above the prevailing wage for that job.

Seasonal Agricultural Worker Visas

U.S. Seasonal Agricultural Worker (H2-A) visas are available to foreign agricultural workers to work in the United States on a seasonal or temporary basis, provided there is a shortage of domestic workers. Visas are limited to three years and immigrants must originate from a country on the selected countries list.11
To learn more about the program process and requirements, see the USCIS website.

Eligibility to Work in the United States

When you have secured the appropriate visa, you will need to get a permit to work, which is officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), in order to prove you are eligible to work in the United States. The document provides proof to employers that you are legally permitted to work in the U.S.

You can review information on Employment Authorization Documents and how to acquire, renew, or replace them.

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