Working in the United States
So, you want to come to the United States to work. Here is a summary of employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa classifications and other categories of immigrants who are eligible for employment authorization.
A common way to work temporarily in the United States as a nonimmigrant is for a prospective employer to file a petition with USCIS on your behalf. The following describes the main nonimmigrant temporary worker classifications.
1.In order for you to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily, your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf with USCIS1.
2.Federal U.S. Tax Information
Noncitizens employed in the United States may have a U.S. tax obligation.
3.Social Security Number Information
In general, only noncitizens who have permission from DHS to work can apply for a Social Security number.
If you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience, you may be able to live and work permanently in the United States by seeking an employment-based immigrant visa. The following describes the five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (also called categories).
Approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year for noncitizens (and their spouses and children) who seek to immigrate based on their job skills. If you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, you may be able to live permanently in the United States. The five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (categories) are listed below.
We are prioritizing efforts to ensure we use as many available employment-based visas (PDF, 1015.37 KB) as possible this fiscal year.
We urge anyone who may be eligible for an employment-based adjustment of status to file their adjustment of status application, accompanied by a valid Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, as soon as possible.
Some immigrant visa preferences require you to already have a job offer from a U.S. employer. This employer will be considered your sponsor. For some visa categories, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to USCIS, the employer must obtain an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL labor certification verifies the following:
There are insufficient available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to fill the position being offered at the prevailing wage
Hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers
US Federal Tax Information
Noncitizens employed in the U.S. may have a U.S. Tax obligation.
If you live outside the United States and want to work here, you generally must apply for a visa from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), unless a visa is not required for people from your country of nationality. You may visit DOS’ Travel Without a Visa page for more information.
In many cases, USCIS must approve your petition before you are eligible to apply to DOS for a visa or seek admission at a port of entry. Before entering the United States, you must present yourself to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and receive permission to enter the United States and engage in your proposed activity.
If you are in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status that does not provide employment authorization, you generally may apply for:
A change of status to a nonimmigrant classification that provides employment authorization; or
An adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident. This may be a concurrent filing with an immigrant visa petition or, depending on the circumstances, may require an applicant to obtain an approved immigrant visa before applying for an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.
Depending on the classification you seek, your change or adjustment of status application might require a U.S. employer or other qualified requestor to file an application or petition on your behalf to establish your eligibility before we approve your application. However, if you apply based on certain classifications (for example, an alien with extraordinary ability or as a nonimmigrant E-1 or E-2 principal treaty trader or investor), you may be eligible to self-petition, which means filing an application on your own behalf.
Additionally, if you are in the United States, including if you are an applicant for permanent residence or a certain family member of an alien who has lawful nonimmigrant status, you may file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You may also apply for an EAD that shows such authorization if your immigration status authorizes you to work in the United States without restrictions.
The conditions you must meet and how long you can work in the United States depend on the type of immigration status the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants. You must comply with all conditions of your employment authorization and the terms of your admission to this country. If you violate any of the conditions, you could be removed from or denied re-entry into the United States.