Foreign workers

Foreign workers

Foreign workers

Information for citizens of other countries who want to work in the United States.

Based on your skills and the job that you plan to do, you may be able to get an employment visa to work in the United States as a temporary or permanent foreign worker. In some cases, foreign students or exchange visitors can also work in the United States.

Where to start

If you’re not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and you want to work in the United States, you almost always need a work visa.  And, almost always, an employer has to sponsor you for the visa, so the first step is to find a job posting or an employer that is willing to sponsor you for a work visa.

See the information below to find out which visas you might qualify for, and to learn how to locate a job posting or employer. This information includes the most common types of U.S. work visas (to see a complete list of visa types, visit the U.S. Department of State’s directory of visa types.)

H-2A program: Temporary agricultural workers

This visa program is for seasonal farm workers and is only available to citizens of certain countries. Some of the top seasonal agricultural hiring is for general farm labor. Visit H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers to learn more and see if your home country is included.

To find an employer to sponsor you for an H-2A visa:

  • Search for seasonal agricultural openings on the Seasonal Jobs Finder from the U.S. Department of Labor.

H-2B program: Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker

This visa program is for temporary jobs that are not related to agriculture. Some of the top non-agricultural jobs include landscape and groundskeeping, recreation or resort work, seafood processing, and construction labor. This visa is also only available to citizens of certain countries. Visit H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers to learn more and see if your home country is included.  To find an employer to sponsor you for an H-2B visa:

  • Search for seasonal construction, resort, seafood processing, landscaping, or other job openings on the Seasonal Jobs Finder.

H-1B program: Specialty Occupations

This nonimmigrant classification applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation. An employer needs to sponsor a worker for this visa also. More information on H-1B program visas.

Permanent workers

Individuals who have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, may be able to live permanently in the United States. Learn more about the five employment-based immigrant visa preferences for permanent workers.

Refugees

If you are a refugee who has been legally resettled in the United States, you can get help finding a job from a Refugee Social Services program. If you have a professional credential from your home country, you can get help earning a U.S. professional certification from Refugee Career Pathways.  Locate either of these programs using the Refugee Assistance Finder.

More resources:

Are you an employer looking to hire workers from other countries?