Considered by many to be the land of opportunity, it’s no surprise that many individuals opt to make the move to the United States.
The U.S. offers more employment prospects, with many believing they have the chance to find their dream job there. As well as more job opportunities, the U.S. provides a more vibrant social life, a better climate and less taxes compared to several other countries.
There’s also more people, meaning more potential friendships, relationships and customers!
So, if you’re prepared to leave the familiarity of your country behind and try your hand at the American dream, we’re here to help you on your journey. This blog will examine the US Employment Visas available to you, and how to apply for them.
NB: It is crucial to note that for any of the following US Employment Visas, you must first have a job from an employer who will sponsor you for. You cannot apply for any of these visas on your own or without a job offer.
What Is It?
This is a Non-Immigrant Work Visa which can be issued to those seeking temporary work in a “specialty occupation”. H-1B visas can be issued for either full-time or part-time employment, and are valid for 3 years, and can be extended for a further 3 years.
Specialty occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. This type of visa is common for professionals such as accountants, computer analysts, web programmers, web designers, engineers or financial analysts.
In some instances, this visa is available to people of “distinguished merit or ability”, such as fashion models who may be internationally recognised and have high achievements.
Every year, there is a quota of 65,000 H-1B visas available, with an additional 20,000 for people with advanced degrees – such as citizens with a medical or law degree.
How Do I Apply?
An H-1B petition can only be filed the employer. You cannot seek an H-1B visa without an employer willing to file a petition. Ensure the employer files the petition is filed by April 1st, as USCIS begins accepting H-1B petitions on April 1st of every fiscal year.
You should know that the earliest start date for an H-1B is October 1st of that fiscal year (six months from the start of the fiscal year). If you miss the H-1B lottery, or if you anticipate a delay in filing an H-1B, you should consider other visas to fill the gap, such as a TN visa or an L-1 visa.
The TN visa was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, U.S. and Mexico.
This visa is valid for three years, just like the H-1B visa. However, TN visas are easier to apply for and to have approved.
Under this visa, Canadian citizens may work in a professional occupation in the US if:
- They qualify for the “Professionals Under the North American Free Trade Agreement” list
- They Possess the specific criteria for that profession
- They are going to work for a U.S. employer
- The employment position in the U.S. requires someone in that professional capacity
What Occupations Are Eligible for TN Visas?
|Architect||Computer Analyst||Claims Adjuster||Economist|
|Engineer||Forester||Graphic Designer||Hotel Manager||Industrial Designer|
|Land Surveyor||Landscape Architect||Lawyer||Librarian||Management Consultant|
|Mathematician||Range Manager||Research Assistant||Scientific Technician||Social Worker|
|Sylviculturist||Tech. Pub. Writer||Urban Planner||
|Dietitian||Medical Technologist||Nutritionist||Occupational Therapist||Pharmacist|
|Physician||Physical Therapist||Psychologist||Recreational Therapist||Registered Nurse||
|Animal Breeder||Animal Scientist||Apiculturist||Astronomer||Biochemist|
|Physicist||Plant Breeder||Poultry Scientist||Soil Scientist||Zoologist|
How Do I Apply?
There are two ways to apply for a TN visa:
1) In person at a port of entry (POE) to the United States
2) By submitting an application to the USCIS while in the United States
Remember, you must first have a job offer from an employer. You cannot apply for TN status without a job offer!
Applying at a POE has several advantages. The application fee is considerably lower than applying through USCIS, and a decision to grant or to deny the visa is made immediately – applying for a TN visa through the USCIS may take a couple of months.
If you are denied a TN visa at the POE, you learn the reason for denial right away and you can attempt to correct it immediately.
The L-1 visa is a 3 year visa that allows a U.S. employer to transfer a manager or an executive from an affiliated Canadian office to one of its U.S. offices. The employer must be doing business in the U.S. and it must have an existing relationship with the Canadian company (such as being a parent company, subsidiary etc.).
As the employee, you must have been working for the affiliated employer in Canada for at least one continuous year – within the three years prior to being issued an L-1 visa. You also must be going to the U.S. to render services as a manager/executive.
Employees under an L-1 visa can bring their spouses and unmarried children (under 21) to the U.S. under an L-2 classification for the same period of stay. Spouses of L-1 visa holders are also allowed to work in the U.S.
The L-1 visa also allows a Canadian company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a manager/executive to the United States for the purpose of setting one up.
To do so, the Canadian employer must demonstrate that:
- Sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured
- The employee has been employed as a manager or executive for one of the three previous years
- the new U.S. offices will support an executive/managerial position within a year of the L-1 visa being issued
The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant, 3 year visa that is used by a small percentage of individuals who possess extraordinary abilities.
The O-1 is broken down into:
- O-1 A – individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education or athletics
- O-1 B – who has demonstrated a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
Examples of people eligible for an O-1 visa include: actors, singers, scientists, writers or professional athletes.
What Proof Do I Need?
For an O-1A visa, the individual must have received a major, internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least three of the following:
- Recipient of a nationally/internationally recognized prize/award for excellence in their field
- Membership in associations in their field which require outstanding achievements, determined by recognized national/international experts
- Publications in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the individual and their work in the field
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
- Written/authored scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field
- A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same field
- Employment in a critical capacity for organizations that have a distinguished reputation
O-1B visa applicants must have received, or was nominated for, significant national or international awards in their particular field, such as an Academy Award, or evidence of at least three of the following:
- They have/will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation
- They achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, etc.
- They have/will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
- They have a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field
- They have received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field
- They command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence
Once I Get My Visa, What’s The Best Way To Use My Funds In The United States?
When withdrawing money or using your card abroad, you pay high fees and unfair exchange rates to your local bank.
To avoid these fees and charges, you will have to open an American bank account once you move there. One issue people face when opening a bank account overseas is transferring their money over.
Transferring online with your bank or through bank wire transfers sacrifices huge portions of your money in wire transfer fees. These transfers can also take around 5 working days to arrive into your new account.
Some will opt to send their money using online transfer companies like Transferwise. However, to send the equivalent of CAD $5,000 to the U.S. with Transferwise, you pay around $40 in fees! (As per Transferwise website, 01/30/2019).
Thankfully, REMITR is here to save you both time and money. Our service eliminates high fees and guarantees savings, charging a flat fee as low as $5!
REMITR allows users to send and receive money 24/7 to 150 countries worldwide. We offer users the best live exchange rate, no matter what the currency.
If you need to send money, but also want to save money, get in touch with REMITR today.