In this article we will go through the most important frequently asked questions when looking for information about working in the U.S for Colombians.
As an extraordinary measure to raise money, many foreigners, including Colombians, decide to go to the United States for a season in which they can accumulate enough capital to meet their expenses while abroad and obtain a remaining balance with which to meet obligations in their home country.
To address this need, which the U.S. State Department determines as “essential to the economy and food security,” in 2020 the H-2 visa was created. With this program, thousands of foreigners can be hired in the country for a certain period of time.
This is so that foreigners can fill the job offers that people in the United States cannot fill due to lack of personnel. In June it was reported that for 10 million job openings, there were only 6 million people willing to fill them.
The visa is divided into two types: H-2A and H-2B. The former refers to agricultural jobs and the latter to non-agricultural jobs. Neither document requires that the person be a professional or have an academic degree.
However, those interested in working in the U.S must first find an employer who can demonstrate that the work needed in their company or business cannot be filled because there is not enough local labor.
The employer must also complete a Form I-129 petition for a nonimmigrant worker “to enter the United States temporarily to perform services or labor.”
Not all countries are eligible for the H-2 visa, as the list is updated every year. For 2022, in Latin America, there are nations such as Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, among others.
In Europe, countries such as Spain and Portugal also apply.
It should also be noted that this visa may be granted only once a year, but it may be renewed at least twice. In this case, the foreigner must submit the new application before the expiration of the current visa.
At the end of the third year the person must leave the United States for at least three months before reapplying for the H-2 program.
According to the USCIS page many people wish to come to the United States to work. This page provides a summary of employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications and other categories of aliens who are eligible for employment authorization. Each classification provides a link to more detailed information about its requirements.
A common way to work temporarily in the United States as a nonimmigrant is for a prospective employer to file an application on your behalf with USCIS. The Temporary Workers (Nonimmigrant) web page describes the main classifications of temporary nonimmigrant workers.
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 if you seek an employment-based immigrant visa. The Permanent Workers website describes the five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (also called categories).
If you live outside the United States and want to work here, you generally must apply for a U.S. Department of State (DOS) visa, unless a visa is not required for persons from your country of nationality. You can visit the Visa-Free Travel page for more information.
In many cases, USCIS must approve your petition before you are eligible to apply for a DOS visa or apply for admission at a port of entry. Before entering the United States, you must appear before a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and receive permission to enter the United States and engage in your proposed activity.
One of the most requested for Colombians is the H-2 work visa, which can be either H-2A or H-2B classification, which apply for temporary jobs in the United States and have a duration of one year, although they can be extended to three years.
Depending on the type of H-2 visa, it is possible to work in the industrial and restaurant sector, in fishing, or in gardening. In general, these are jobs in which academic training is not so necessary, although experience in the area is usually prioritized. Agricultural work is excluded, since there is a special permit for day laborers.
Within the H-2 visas there are also permits to work in specialized sectors, such as engineering, which offers the largest number of job vacancies for foreigners. In these cases, academic training and experience are required.
In order to process these types of visas and for you to enter the United States legally as a nonimmigrant (foreign nationals who do not intend to stay permanently) to work temporarily, your potential employer usually has to file a petition on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In other words, it is best to have an offer of employment from a company in that country before applying for a visa. In addition, you must have a valid passport and, in most cases – some jobs do not require it – a minimum command of English.
It is also recommended to verify the authenticity of the company for which you plan to work in the United States and to remember that no recruiter or agent may request payment in exchange for a job. The only expense, legally, is the work visa through the consulate or embassy, with no alleged extra or anticipated services.
In many cases, USCIS must approve your petition before you are eligible to apply for a visa or apply for admission at a port of entry. Before entering the United States, you must appear before a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer and receive a permit to enter the United States and engage in your proposed activity.
For updated information on the operational status due to COVID-19, you can visit this link for nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.
A work visa is an official document that gives a foreign national legal permission to work in the United States for a certain period of time. Work visas are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and are available to those who qualify under the H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, and P-1 categories.
To apply for a work visa, you must first find an employer willing to sponsor your application. The employer must file an application with the USCIS and pay all associated fees. If the USCIS approves the application, a work visa (Form I-797) will be issued. The foreign national can then file the work visa along with an application for entry with the Border Control Service (CBP) at the air, sea, or land line on which he or she intends to enter the United States.
The first step to get a work visa in the United States for Colombians is to find an employer. The main difference between the USA and other countries is that you cannot go there to look for a job and regularize your papers as soon as you find one. You have to find a job in your country before applying for a visa.
To do this, you can use websites such as Craigslist or Hispanic Jobs. Then, your employer will have to file an application with the USCIS authorizing them to hire a foreign national. Once approved, you will be able to apply for your visa.
This procedure is done online, on the official website of the U.S. Department of State. As soon as you complete the form, you will be able to download the DS-160 confirmation form.
The next step is to make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. You must enter the confirmation number specified on your DS-160 and pay the corresponding fee, if you did not do so at the time of filling out the application. Finally, you will have to attend an interview on the date indicated.
Valid passport of the applicant, children, and accompanying spouse; receipt of payment of the application fee; the approved petition receipt number; and a printout of the form to be completed online. You may also be asked to provide a document evidencing your intention to leave the U.S. after the H2-B status expires (this could be a deed, lease, or letter of employment).
Is there a requirement to provide social media profiles when applying for a U.S. visa?
On May 31, 2019, the Department of State updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request additional information, including social media profiles for most U.S. visa applicants worldwide. For more information, please see the Department of State’s answers in the Frequently Asked Questions option.
To apply for a work visa, you must first find an employer willing to sponsor your application. The employer must file an application with the USCIS and pay all associated fees. If the USCIS approves the application, a work visa (Form I-797) will be issued. The foreign national can then file the work visa along with an application for entry with the Border Control Service (CBP) at the air, sea, or land line on which he/she intends to enter the United States.
When you present yourself at the Embassy for the interview, you must bring with you:
The duration of a work visa depends on the visa category in which you qualify. H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and O-1 visas are valid for an initial period of three years, while H-1A and H-3 visas are valid for an initial period of one year. However, all work visas may be renewed for additional periods of time.
Within the framework of the economic reactivation after the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the U.S. Embassy in Colombia announced the opening of a new call for jobs for those Colombian technicians and professionals who want to immigrate to Colombia.
Through its website, the Embassy informed that until August 21, Colombians may apply for the vacancies requested, which offer salaries from 17 million pesos per year to more than 200 million pesos, depending on the position and the experience of the person to be hired.
Those interested in applying for the job vacancies of the U.S. Embassy in Colombia will have to enter ERA, the official job platform of the U.S. Consulate.
Once you enter the website, you must select the job opportunity that most interests you. It is important to keep in mind that some of the vacancies will be in English, so it will be necessary that you have knowledge of the language.
When you access the vacancy, you will find the job description and how to apply.
In case you require more information about the job portal of the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, you can access the following link: https://co.usembassy.gov/es/jobs-es/
When it comes to obtaining a work visa for the United States, it is important to ensure that you meet all the requirements and have all the necessary information. Visa Franchise can advise you on the process and increase your chances of success. Whether you are seeking a work visa or franchise visa, our team will help you submit your best possible application. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!