I'm a first-generation American, but my parents are from The Old Country and as such gave me a pretty traditional name for their culture.

The problem is: in my field of choice, it's common for those of my cultural background to require visa sponsorship in order to work in the U.S. However, I am an American through and through (raised in the heartland, tidy American accent, US passport, etc.) and don't need H1-B sponsorship at all.

A friend of mine, in reviewing my resume, pointed out that even though I'm a US citizen, my name might lead others to believe I do need that sponsorship. How (and where) on my resume should I indicate my American citizenship? Is this, as my friend pointed out, necessary or am I overthinking this?

I'm curious what professional recruiters and hiring managers would think upon seeing a resume with a name like Hwang Lo or Lakshmi Chandiramani at the top without citizenship indicators on it -- would those candidates be screened out, especially at a smaller company? I'm worried that, despite the strength of my resume, I'm getting passed over because of what amounts to a miscommunication of my citizenship status.

  • 3
    just put place of birth on your cv
    – marabutt
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 21:43
  • @Kas - Just indicate that fact under your name. I would also argue its not required. If you place your address on the resume, and you are in the states, its sort of implied you have permission to be in the states.
    – Donald
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 10:58
  • It's a sad reality that there is name bias in the hiring process. Lots of research out there on this but I'm too lazy to find it all so here is a news article: nbcnews.com/id/34063244/ns/business-careers/t/… (I also have anecdotal evidence watching a boss operate.) How you want to use this information is up to you. Many go as far as to actually change their names, which I think is a shame... you shouldn't have to change your identity because employers are racists... but it works so, it's a popular route. Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 22:25

5 Answers 5


Over the years, I've done a lot of hiring of folks with similar names.

I never care about the name. I usually care about the ability or lack of ability to work without sponsorship. If I'm not able to offer a sponsorship for a particular position, I note that in the job description, and always ask about it during the phone screen.

What has been most useful to me has been to see somewhere on the resume that the candidate is a US citizen. I'm looking at a resume as I type this. The very last line simply says "US Citizen". That works fine for me.


Which field of choice would be yours ?

I'm getting passed over because of what amounts to a miscommunication of my citizenship status.

I think that is highly unlikely, at least in the software field. Where most recruiters will confirm with you, your work status.

Along with the summary section in the resume, most people mention this as : Work Authorization : US Citizen/(with Security clearance XX where ever applicable)

Most jobs will advertise 'Must be eligible to work for any employer in the US'. You should target those and your resume should be easily picked if you have the skills.

The ones which don't state the above, you can write a line in your cover letter saying how excited and interested you are in the opportunity as well as mention that you are a citizen and that you wont require sponsorship.

  • I'm on the non-technical side of software; in my experience, the technical side usually has other perks/considerations that the non-technical hires aren't eligible for. But you're right; most listing indicate "must be eligible to work in the U.S." Like i said, totally possible I'm overthinking it, but better overthinking than not thinking at all, I say. :)
    – user9596
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 15:25

I live in Germany, and I have seen several resumes where people wrote that they hold German citizenship (or are entitled to work in Germany). As you, they have foreign names.

People put this under personal data. See this example.

Although it may be a bit weird in US, I have also seen people putting place of birth.

  • 5
    Unfortunately, place of birth can be deceiving. For instance, I have colleagues who were born in the US but forced by their parents' country to pick one citizenship, and therefore gave up their US passport (even though they were born there). I would suggest putting "US Citizen" over birthplace.
    – jmac
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 23:08

Put US Citizen under your name in the header. If you do work for the US government you have to be a citizen to pass a background check. Also note, that some recruiters will try to offer you less money if they think you are on a visa. I have friends who have had this happen to them.

If you live in the DC area, its important that you do this, since most work is for the government and requires citizenship. If your wondering, I know plenty of naturalized citizens who have passed background checks.


Just write "US citizen" on your resume. Lots of people put some one-liners with basic information like that: "excellent health", "age 42", etc.

Government jobs often require you to be a citizen, and lots of companies would rather not go through the paperwork of hiring non-citizens, so there's nothing strange about bringing it up.

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    This answer does not add anything new to the already existing answers.
    – David K
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 12:32
  • 1
    @DavidK Hmm, this is my second post today on which someone has put a comment saying "doesn't add anything". Is this a new movement? So okay, maybe my posts added something and maybe they didn't. I don't suppose that this was the most brilliant and informative post ever. But a comment saying "doesn't add anything" clearly doesn't add anything. Why bother?
    – Jay
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 14:35
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    When I click on the button to answer this question, I get a pop-up which specifically states "Did you read through all existing answers first to make sure your answer will be contributing something new?". Posting answers which are redundant or superfluous add to the noise of posts on this site and take attention away from current unanswered questions.
    – David K
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 14:43

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