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The most common method of gaining entry to the US involves getting a job offer, where your employer will file a petition for your temporary residency, and both you and they will need to adhere to its conditions. However, immigrating without a job offer is possible via employment-based visa categories that do not require a specific job offer, such as EB-1, EB-2, and EB-5. In this blog, I will explain the differences between immigrant and non-immigrant visas and explain the route of the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program which does not require a job offer to immigrate to the United States.

How to Immigrate to USA without Job Offer

There are two types of conditional visas when coming into the US for anything more than a holiday. An immigrant visa is for those wishing to obtain residential status in the country, and a non-immigrant visa is for temporary status.

There are some US Work Visas that do not require a job offer from a sponsoring employer in the United States. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a US work visa without a job offer.

US Non-Immigrant Visas

A non-immigrant visa is a type of visa issued by the United States to individuals who wish to temporarily be available for visits, work reasons, studies, or engage in other specific activities in the country and return to their home country afterward. Non-immigrant visas are typically issued for a specific purpose and duration, and they do not provide permanent residency or a path to citizenship in the United States.

There are numerous categories of non-immigrant visas available, each designed for specific purposes.

Non-Immigrant Visa Categories:

  • B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa: This is a tourist/business visa that allows individuals to visit the United States for tourism, medical treatment, business meetings, conferences, or other temporary purposes.
  • F-1 Student Visa: The F-1 Student Visa is for individuals who wish to pursue academic studies at a U.S. educational institution, such as a university or college.
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa: This visa is for foreign workers with specialized knowledge or advanced degrees who have been offered a job by a U.S. employer.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: This visa is for individuals participating in approved exchange programs, such as research scholars, professors, au pairs, or summer work travel programs.
  • L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa: This visa is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the same company in the United States.
  • O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, who have been recognized nationally or internationally for their achievements.
  • TN NAFTA Professional Visa: This visa is for citizens of Canada and Mexico who are engaged in professional activities covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are several other non-immigrant visa categories available depending on the specific purpose of the visit. Each visa category has its own eligibility requirements and application process.

Common Work Visas: H-1B Visa for Skilled Workers

To obtain an H-1B visa, you will need a job offer before being permitted entry into the United States; a petition will be filed by the employer requesting your visa. Once accepted and drawn by the lottery you can enter the US, and whilst abiding by the rules of the visa, continue to work. This works through ‘sponsorship’ by the employer. Whilst you remain in the country, you will need to remain employed by the company. If you wish to change jobs, you must extend or re-apply for your visa (depending on the job change) and your new employer must be able to sponsor your stay in the country. To become your sponsor, the employer must also meet certain stipulations of the application, including submitting evidence that they have already offered the job to US citizens and LPRs (legal permanent residents). They must also commit to hiring you for the position stated in the paperwork and guarantee that your salary will meet that of a US citizen or LPR. Read this to learn more about the differences between a green card and H1B visa.

US Immigrant Visas

An immigrant visa is a type of visa issued by the United States to individuals who intend to live permanently in the country. Unlike non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas provide a pathway to obtaining permanent residency (green card) and eventually citizenship in the United States. Immigrant visas are typically obtained through family-based sponsorship, employment-based sponsorship, or certain special categories.

Here are some of the main immigrant visa categories:

  • Family-Based Immigration: U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can sponsor certain family members for immigrant visas, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
  • Employment-Based Immigration: This employment-based green cards category includes various preference categories for individuals who have a job offer or possess extraordinary ability, advanced degrees, or specialized skills that are in demand in the United States.
  • Diversity Visa Lottery: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Lottery) is an annual lottery program that provides immigrant visas to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
  • Investment-Based Immigration: The United States offers an investment-based immigrant visa program known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to obtain lawful permanent residency (green card) by making a significant investment in a qualifying U.S. business that creates or preserves jobs for U.S. workers.
  • Refugee and Asylee Immigration: Individuals who have been granted refugee status or have been granted asylum in the United States can apply for an immigrant visa to become lawful permanent residents.
  • Special Immigrant Visas: There are specific visa categories for certain special immigrant groups, such as religious workers, certain language translators, employees of international organizations, and more.

In the immigrant visa categories listed above, not all visas require you to have a job. However, these conditional visas are much stricter in their acceptance rates, as in most cases, they lead to a green card and permanent residency status.

EB-1A Visa

This route into the US is for immigrants who excel in their field. That could be in science, athletics, art, business, or multinational managers. For those who can show they have extraordinary ability at what they do and provide evidence of their claims, there will be no requirement for a job offer. These visas are notoriously difficult to obtain and we highly recommend that you seek the advice of a professional before applying. 

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

The EB-5 range of visas is classed as ‘immigration by investment’ visas. The applicant must commit financially to projects in the US, and upon the success of the projects and having them meet the requirements, they are free to apply for the coveted green cardThere are two types of EB-5 visas: the ‘direct investment’ and the ‘Regional Center’ program. With the direct investment option, you play a key role in developing the project in which you are investing, whereas through a Regional Center, your investment will be made into an existing project. To read more around the difference between the two EB-5 programs, you can click here to read our blog Direct Program vs Regional Center program.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that the process and requirements for non-immigrant and immigrant visas can be complex and may vary depending on the specific category. We always recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer and attorney or visit the official website of the U.S. Department of State for detailed and up-to-date information regarding immigrant visas and the application process.

Immigration Consultancy in Dubai

Immigration Consultancy in Dubai

We are an immigration advisory firm in Dubai specialized in citizenship and residency by investment programs. We have qualified and globally experienced immigration lawyers who can assist you with your application for the Portugal Golden Visa, US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, Canada Start-Up Visa, and Portugal Golden Visa.

If you would like to get in touch with us to discuss anything in this blog further, or for a more general chat about immigration opportunities, please reach out to me at deepanshu@stepglobalgroup.com 

FAQs

There are several visa options for immigrating to the United States without a job offer. These options include family-sponsored visas for close relatives, the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery for nationals from low-immigration countries, investor visas like the EB-5 visa program and E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, student visas for those accepted into U.S. educational institutions, and country-specific visa lotteries based on agreements with the U.S. Each option has specific requirements and eligibility criteria.

Yes, it is possible to apply for a green card in the United States without a job offer. Some of the options through which you can qualify for the Green Card are outlined above. It is important to seek counsel from a qualified immigration lawyer or advisor before any permanent residence application is submitted.

Securing a student visa in the USA doesn’t necessitate a job offer but does require acceptance into a SEVIS-approved school and a commitment to returning home after studies. To obtain a student visa without a job offer, follow these general steps: First, apply to a SEVIS-certified U.S. school, which will provide you with Form I-20 (F-1 visas) or Form I-20M-N (M-1 visas). Complete the DS-160 form, schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, and prepare the necessary documents. Attend the interview, and after approval, you’ll receive your passport with the visa. Keep in mind that procedures and requirements may vary by location, so consult your local embassy or consulate’s website. Apply well in advance to accommodate potential processing delays.

To immigrate to the USA through family sponsorship, follow these steps:

  1. File Form I-130 to establish the qualifying relationship with your U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative (sponsor).
  2. Once the I-130 is approved by USCIS, it goes to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  3. The NVC requests documents from both sponsors and intended immigrants.
  4. The sponsor submits an affidavit of support (Form I-864) to prove financial support.
  5. The intending immigrant completes Form DS-260 and pays fees.
  6. Attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
  7. Undergo a medical exam and security checks.
  8. If approved, enter the USA as a permanent resident and receive a green card.

The exact process may vary based on the relationship and the sponsor’s status (citizen or permanent resident).