The United States is a desirable destination to visit, study or work. The US offers a magnitude of opportunities for high, semi and low-skilled workers in Canada who want to move south.
To work in the US, you must have a valid US visa and obtain proper authorization based on the program requirements from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The US offers a variety of temporary and permanent work visas that you can choose from. The terminology is slightly different from the Canadian equivalent:
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The following US visa programs authorize you to work temporarily in the US:
TN Visa: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The TN Visa permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level.
You can apply if you have an offer for employment for temporary work in the US.
L-1 Work Visa: The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Work Visa is for Canadian companies who have locations in the US or would like to establish their business in the US.
If you are in an executive-level or management role in the company, you can be transferred to the US location.
H-1B Work Visa for Specialty Occupations: If you are a prominent fashion model, is employed in the US Department of Defense (DOD) or have a complex specialty occupation- usually a person with a degree, you can apply for the H-1B Visa for temporary work in the US.
H-2B - Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker Visa: The H-2B Visa is for foreign workers, family members, business owners and businesses who wish to work temporarily in a non-agriculture related occupation.
R-1 Religious Worker Visa: If you want to pursue religious work in the US, then you can qualify for the R-1 Visa that allows temporary work for foreign nationals who want to spread religious knowledge or preach in the US.
The O Visa Category is a classification of nonimmigrant temporary worker visas for individuals who possess an extraordinary ability and here are the different types:
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visa: If you are particularly talented in the field of arts, sport, business, education, or the sciences, you can qualify for this visa program.
O-1B Extraordinary Ability Worker Visa for Science, Education, Business, Athletics: This visa is for foreign nationals talented in the mentioned fields. This visa is also for family members and business owners.
O-2 - Personnel Accompanying O-1B Worker Visa Holders: This visa is for foreign nationals accompanying the O1-B visa holders as part of a sports team or staff in an entertainment group.
The P Visa Category is a classification of nonimmigrant temporary worker visas for athletes, entertainment groups and artists- here are the different types:
P-1 Worker Visa Category: This visa is for athletes who are part of a sports team or members of a group in an entertainment company who wish to come to the US for temporary employment.
P-1A - Work Visa for Globally Recognized Athlete or Sports Teams: As an internationally recognized athlete or member of a sports team coming to the US to participate in a competition or an event, this visa authorizes you for a temporary stay in the country.
P-2 - Work Visa for Performers or Groups Performing Under Reciprocal Exchange: The US has several reciprocal exchange programs. If you are a performer visiting the US as a part of this program, then you qualify for this visa.
The following visa programs authorize you for permanent work in the US:
EB-1 - Work Visa for Immigrants with Extraordinary Ability: The EB-1 Visa is for foreign nationals who are working as a professor or researcher with specialized expertise in their field or foreign nationals working in an executive or managerial position.
This visa program does not require you to have an offer of employment, however, you must have the relevant work experience.
EB-2 - Work Visa for Individuals with an Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability: The EB-2 Visa is for skilled foreign workers, business owners with a valid job offer from an American employer.
EB-3 - Skilled, Professional, and Unskilled Worker Green Card: The EB-3 Visa is valid for foreign skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers who wish to immigrate to the US.
EB-4 - Green Card for Special Immigrants: If the USCIS determines that you are a ‘Special Immigrant’, then you can apply for the EB-4 Visa that allows you to live and work permanently in the US.
Family-Based Immigration or Sponsorship: there are 5 visa programs under the Immediate Relative (IR) category that allow US citizens to sponsor their immediate family members for permanent residence in the US:
IR-1 Family Visa - Spousal Visa: As a foreign national legally married to a US citizen, you can qualify for this spousal visa program.
IR-2 - Family Visa for Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a US Citizen: US citizens can sponsor their dependent children for residency in the US. The children must be under the age of 21 and unmarried.
IR-3 - Family Visa for Orphans Adopted Abroad by a US Citizen: As a US citizen, if you are adopting a child from a foreign country, then you can apply for this visa to bring your adopted child to the US.
IR-4 - Family Visa for Orphans to be adopted in the US by a US citizen: This visa allows US citizens to bring an orphaned child from a foreign country to the US provided they begin the adoption process in the child’s country of residence.
IR-5 - Family Visa for Parents of a US Citizen Who is at Least 21 Years Old: As a US citizen of 21 years of age, if you want to bring your parents to the US, then you can apply for this visa program. The parent will be authorized to live and work permanently in the US.
As a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), you can also apply for visa programs under the Family Preference Sponsor Visa. There are 4 visas under this category:
F-1 - Family First Preference: If you want to bring your child who is under the age of 21 and unmarried to the US, then this visa program works for you.
F-2 - Family Second Preference: This visa program is for the spouse, minor children and unmarried children under the age of 21 of US citizens who wish to immigrate to the US.
F-3 - Family Third Preference: As a married child of a US citizen, your parents will be able to sponsor your spouse and minor children through this visa program.
F-4 - Family Fourth Preference: This visa program allows the immigration of the siblings of US citizens, their spouse and minor children. The US citizen must be at least 21 years old to qualify.
There is another way to immigrate to the US, through the Diversity Visa Lottery. The State Department holds a lottery draw every year to choose 50,000 qualifying foreign nationals randomly for permanent residency in the US.
The State Department states the eligible countries for this lottery every year. If you are selected, then you can bring your spouse and dependent unmarried children under the age of 21 to settle in the US.
To qualify for this lottery, you must have:
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