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I want to work in the states after completing my degree in Canada. I was born in Canada and have lived here my entire life (if that makes any difference to moving). What do I need to do before I start apply and move to the states as far as getting a visa, Green Card etc. and how do I go about getting these documents. Any tips and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Onkar

closed as off-topic by Jim G., scaaahu, gnat, CMW, Ricketyship Feb 18 '14 at 8:27

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a travel/migration question. – Jim G. Feb 18 '14 at 2:08
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    Hand in your hockey sticks and free health care – RyanS Feb 18 '14 at 20:32
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Green card would either be something you'd start after working there for a year or marry an American as I recall. Visas come in a few flavors where TN-1 would be a temporary worker that you would have to be careful since the time under it doesn't count toward permanent residency. H1-B can though these tend to get maxed out quite easily so unless you are in that top .0001% of a field, this could be hard to get after the fact. At the same time, you don't state if you have a ton in savings to get you through the time when you aren't working in the US along with where in the US are you applying and from where in Canada. If you live in Edmonton, Alberta, there aren't many US cities that are a simple drive to go and interview. On the other hand, if you live in Vancouver BC or Toronto ON then it is a bit easier to get into some US cities that may have opportunities.

Once you have a job, then the next step would be getting a social security number, US bank account and other little things so that you have some basics that would be wanted by those wanting to do a credit check within the US for you. Some of the rules may have changed as I have a few friends that do real estate investing in the US though I suspect this is likely through corporations they have. Good luck to you.


The visa comes after the job as the company is the sponsor that has to meet certain requirements since in theory one could perceive you as taking an American's job. My suggestion would be to consider large recruiting firms that may be able to help find a way for you to find those companies willing to go through the expense of sponsoring someone as there are likely legal fees and government fees that total into the thousands to bring someone in this way. In my case, I had the advantage of sharing the same hometown as the CEO of the dot-com that sponsored me into the US. There may be other ways to find positions in New York where the employer may sponsor someone as while you may be eligible, there may or may not be room to apply for another H1-B as I remember stories where the cap was hit quickly.

From Wikipedia:

For FY2012, USCIS announced on 2011 November 23, that enough petitions were received to reach the year quota on November 22, while 136,890 new applications were approved, 125,679 applications for renewal/extension were approved for a total of 262,569 approved, and 135,991 new/initial visas were issued through consular offices.

For FY2013, USCIS announced on 2012 June 12, that enough petitions were received to reach the year cap on June 11.

For FY2014, USCIS announced on 2013 April 5 that enough petitions were received to reach the year's quota by April 5, only a few days after starting for the year.

Thus, there may not always be visas available depending on what time of year you are applying.

  • Thanks you for the answer, it was very helpful. I live in Vancouver and I want to move to New York, I have money saved up and have several friends and family members to stay with until I find work. Also I am wondering if the visa only comes after finding a job or can I get it before applying for work? If it is only after find a job is there a way to prove to a potential employer that I eligible for a visa to work in the states. – user15964 Feb 17 '14 at 23:57

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