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I have received and will be accepting an offer for a position in Switzerland that requires me getting a work visa (the employer is helping with this). While there's never been a case of someone in my position being declined this visa, this process takes at least 3 months, and there's still a possibility that I would not be able to start this job if the visa declined.

At the same time, I have other offers from employers in the US where a visa would not be an issue. While I feel that I should let these other employers know I'm accepting another offer, I don't want to be in a situation where if my visa is declined, I have to start my job search from scratch. Additionally, I imagine it is poor form to come back to an employer you previously declined and say "just kidding that other thing didn't work out."

What are my options here? I want to be respectful of these other employers needing to fill their positions, while remaining flexible in the event that my visa doesn't go through.

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    Just a comment: I work in a Swiss company with plenty of non-nationals. We have never had a visa not come through. The Swiss know very well that they are dependent on foreign experts. Don't fret too much. – Stephan Kolassa Dec 5 '14 at 21:39
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When someone makes you an offer there will be a time limit. If you do not respond within that time limit, it will be considered a refusal. If you do not intend to accept an offer, refuse it politely. If your Swiss job falls through, you can always go back to them and say, "A visa problem prevented another opportunity from working out, so I am interested in applying again."

This will be considered a new application. There are two possibilities: they will say they filled the job already, or they will reconsider you, probably without having to go through the full interview process again.

Trying to keep an offer alive for months while you find out if a visa was approved is both dishonest and unlikely to work.

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