When I came to America more than 10 years ago, I heard a lot of sayings that people used to describe its history. And you’ve probably heard the same too.
“The Land of Opportunity.”
“The American Dream.”
“A Land of Immigrants.”
I could go on. And a lot of these sayings about America are still true, even today.
But it’s the last saying that’s a big hurdle for most people, isn’t it?
If you’re not already living and working in America, you’ve probably wondered How can I work in America?
And if you’ve already been living and working in America for a few years, you’ve probably wondered How can I stay?
One visa has been the most popular. For years, it has been the holy grail of foreign nationals who want to work in America legally.
It’s the H-1B visa.
Applicants in India even have a place where they pray for a successful application called The Visa Temple.
What’s the big deal with the H-1B visa?
Each year, more than 250,000 foreign nationals in the US and around the world apply for an H-1B visa. Only 65,000 are approved for foreign nationals who finish college or university, and 20,000 are approved for applicants who have advanced degrees. And there’s a deadline to apply too. The agency responsible for the visa process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services even stops accepting applications for the 85,000 visas.
The process is a mystery. H-1B visa applications are approved based on a lottery.
I’m not lucky.
I don’t like those odds.
Are there other options?
Yes. In the US, there are about 185 different types of visas. It’s a lot to choose from. Most fall into two categories: visas for immigrants and non-immigrants. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It means that the person who has an H-1B visa can only stay in the US for a set number of years. If a foreign worker holding an H-1B visa quits or gets fired and does not change to another non-immigrant visa status, then s/he has to leave the country.
Pack your bags. Bye bye, Uncle Sam.
It’s even more risky as the US government plans to change how H-1B visas are used by American companies.
Fortunately, with all of these different visas, there are tons of other options for foreign nationals who still want to work, study, or live here in America – legally. And depending on how long you want to stay in America, some visas are even easier to get.
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credits: (1) Janaka Dharmasena; and (2) Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net