Ideally I'd get sponsored, but I've just wanted to move to the US for so long that I'd be willing to cover costs myself, not to mention that after university I'd love to be a software developer, so what better place to further my career than the US?

I just know it's a long and complicated process for both me and the hiring company, so how can I make myself worth it for them to take me on with all of the hassle of moving abroad?

I've gathered that I'll need as much relevant experience as I can get, but I don't know how many years I'd be looking at, and aside from making myself as employable as possible (through side projects, good degree, excelling in my field, etc.) how can I make myself worth all of the trouble?

I'm from the UK.

  • Not sure about going to the U.S., but going from the U.S. to Australia took awhile. Approx. 8 months of 'processing' time after I lodged my application, not counting the time spent composing it, getting the required documents (some of which took months to come through), medical exams, etc.. Once approved I was given 9 months to either make my move or lose my visa. I went as a 'skilled independent', although the only effect of sponsorship would have been making it slightly easier to meet the visa requirements (points test). I imagine going to the U.S. is at least as much hassle.
    – aroth
    Apr 12, 2014 at 1:42
  • You should start getting really, really good at writing computer code. Apr 12, 2014 at 14:28

3 Answers 3


I assume you aim to get a US job via H1B visa, then become Permanent Resident (AKA Green Card). Did you read up about it? This is long and complicated process (Green card can take few years, unless you marry US citizen :-) ), but can be done (I did). It will not be easy to "undercut yourself" paywise because employer applying for your Green Card is expected to advertise your position AND to pay prevailing wage.

Good start is to be either hired by UK subsidiary and get transfer, or getting real important skills in something. Good option to showcase your skills is any relevant open-source project, because it is open way to show your skills and get peer-evaluated.

You cannot pay your employer to apply for Green card (would be not only expensive but also illegal). There are other investor type visas you may consider (if you can afford it).

Another option (no personal experience) would be to immigrate to Canada, which has saner and more predictable immigration process: you get points for skills, age, language, relatives in Canada etc, pay the fee. Points are known, you can count your chance yourself. As Canadian citizen, you can get TN visa to work in USA. Or travel world, with cheaper health insurance than in USA. :-) Also, IIUC you don't need a sponsor to immigrate to Canada: if you have enough points and your application is approved, you travel in and start looking for a job.


I would attempt to be hired on at the local branch of a global firm headquartered in the US. By proving your worth at the local office, and making connections to your US-based coworkers, you'll have a lot more success in landing a transfer to the US (or a promotion to the US). Your connections with them and their experiences working with you will put your application for transfer at the top of their list when considering new candidates.

It's much easier to get recognized and get into the US with a company when you already work for them.


You're already on the right path.

You want to make yourself the best possible candidate imaginable. If you're good enough they'll be willing to go the extra length to make it happen.

I'm sure it's probably the same on your side of the pond but in the US we have a phrase that when going for a job you need to "Sell yourself" essentially treat yourself as a product your potential employer will want to buy.

Things that help this:

  • Experience (Depending on your field on how much is needed to give you a competitive edge, more than most potential candidates)
  • Desirable traits (Demonstrate you go further than most, showing you're self motivating is a huge win here, as is loyalty. If they are going to help get you here, they want to know you'll stick around)
  • Supply/Demand (Some career paths are in higher demand here than in the UK, it might make sense to supplement your knowledge with what is needed where ever you'd like to go. The US is huge though, so what we need in Florida is not the same as California, you'll need to do research here)
  • APPLY (Simple fact you won't get a job if you don't put yourself out there. Worst that can happen is they say no)
  • Leg In (Many US companies have offices through out the world, if you can't get the direct route in, it's not a bad plan to take a job in a local company that is US based and as you gain seniority pursue a promotion or transfer into the US)
  • Undercut yourself (This is not ideal, but if you can't get them interested in your talent. Sell them a bargain, accept a lower wage in return for sponsorship. I discourage this method because you'll get taken advantage of and most likely wind up in a really shitty job, but it is technically an option)

All in all you want the potential employer feel that you're an investment that is going to be very profitable for them. After all... it's business you're either making money or losing it.

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