Work in USA For Foreigners: The land of “Unlimited Possibilities”

Work in USA For Foreigners: From dishwasher to millionaire – the idea of ​​the American dream has always shaped the country and continues to attract numerous foreigners to the USA. But before you can emigrate, you should deal with topics such as visas and job interviews. Absolventa will help you with this.

Work in USA For Foreigners

Basically, there are only advantages for you if you take longer stays abroad – both professionally and personally:

  • You get to know other cultures and ways of working and think outside the box.
  • You improve your language skills.
  • You show courage, openness, and flexibility – that looks good on a résumé.
  • You develop personally.
  • You make international contacts.

Why Work in The USA?

“Nothing is impossible” – what used to be the idea no longer applies to America today, but the shortage of skilled workers means you have a good chance of finding a job and making a career in the USA.

There is also the advantage that you usually speak English confidently and you don’t have to learn a new language to get by. Above all, having worked in one of the largest and most modern economies in the world means that you have already seen the big wide world.

Working in the USA

Another argument in favor of the USA is that many business models, but also tools and software, are developed in the USASo after working in the USA, you may be familiar with things that are completely new in the world.

Visa First Hurdle

Entering the USA is not difficult – as a tourist *However, if you plan to stay longer than three months or want to emigrate completely to the USA, you will need a work visa.

Which visa is the right one depends on how long you want to live and work in the US. There are various options for a limited period of time: The most common is the H-1B visa.

This is granted with a residence permit for a limited period of time to skilled workers with a university degree or special professional qualifications. There are also numerous other nonimmigrant visas that can be used in the United States, such as B. for artists and accompanying persons, farmworkers, etc.

We have summarized the three visa types that are likely to be most suitable for you:

Visa Types

H-1B – Skilled worker
– Completion of a specific higher education
– Certificate from the Ministry of Labor required
H-2B – Temporary work permit
– only valid for certain countries (Germany is one of them)
– Certificate from the Ministry of Labor required
Petition – is requested by the future employer

Working in the USA as a Foreigners

In principle, specialists are in demand in the USA – but especially in these fields:



IT & Development To the jobs
Environmental engineering To the jobs
mechanical engineering To the jobs
Education & Social To the jobs
medicine To the jobs
Banking To the jobs
accounting To the jobs
Controlling To the jobs
Accounting To the jobs
Taxation To the jobs
Insurance To the jobs
Auditing To the jobs

The easiest ways to work in the US as a foreigner are:

  • You apply and work directly for a company based in the USA.
  • You will be posted by an employer in Germany to a branch in the USA.

If you are posted, you will only spend a certain period of time in the USA – on average, so-called expats stay in America for three years. You should clarify in advance where you are liable for tax because theoretically there is a double taxation agreement between the USA and Germany.

For example, these companies are also represented in the USA:

EY z. B. Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, Seattle, New York, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis
Santander z. B. Dallas, Jacksonville, Mesa (Arizona), Englewood (Colorado)
Hewlett Packard Enterprise z. B. Wyoming, San Diego, Houston, Washington, Chicago
Fujitsu z. B. Washington, Sunnyvale (California), New York
Austin Fraser Austin, Dallas, Denver
UPS z. B. Atlanta, Seattle, Miami, Philadelphia, Louisville
alliance Chicago

Application in The USA.

Before you pack your suitcases to emigrate to the USA, a few formalities have to be completed: Unless you are sent as an expat, you have to start looking for work from Germany, because this is not allowed with a tourist visa.

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Your Application Documents.

Overly extensive applications are not as popular in the United States as they are here in Germany, but the cover letter, the letter of motivation, can attract attention with its color or marbling – a little “something for the eye”. 

In terms of content, your own qualifications and a coherent reason for your interest in working in the respective company must be included in the cover letter.

The curriculum vitae is arranged antichronologically, i.e. with the most recent event first, exactly as it is usually desired in this country. An application photo is usually not taken. That means they receive no information on name, age, gender, nationality, or denomination. 

This is because of anti-discrimination laws – and the fact that it is very easy to sue someone in the US. So you can assume that an application with an application photo will actually be returned to you unread.

However, the reference section is very important. When references are understood contact details of persons who know how to report the positive things about qualification and operation of the applicant.

The Interview.

In the USA it is possible for the interview to be conducted on a first-name basis because you are linguistically dependent anyway. The whole thing seems looser from the start than a conversation in this country. But be careful: You shouldn’t get into a coffee-chat mood, but give factual answers to the questions of the HR manager.

Everyday Work When Working Abroad.

In the USA, too, there is often a relaxed and familiar atmosphere in everyday working life, which makes being together pleasant. Several times a day someone will ask how you are.

The first time with the very common greeting “Hi, how are you?”. A detailed report is then not expected from the person concerned. A simple “Good, how are you?” Is sufficient.


In most American companies, employees always address each other by their first name. Hierarchies still have to be adhered to. The differentiation of the position can be found e.g. B. in the greeting again: For example, the manager is not greeted with “Hi”, but with the less familiar “Hello”.

Clothes At Work

When it comes to clothing, great importance is often attached to etiquette in working life. The motto is: the main thing is tidy. The office outfit is often quite conventional: men come in suits, women in suits. Of course, that also varies depending on the industry. 

Be sure to find out about this beforehand, because Americans are very careful with the right outfit and it is very easy to commit a faux pas – for example, with the dress code “business casual”, not tucking a shirt into your pants or wearing sneakers.

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Work Mentality

Even if it doesn’t seem like it at all, American culture differs significantly from German in day-to-day work. The Americans’ “think positive” mentality manifests itself primarily in the fact that you never get a direct “no” for an answer and that nobody is concerned with details.

If you are asked for your opinion in Germany, a clear “No, I don’t see it that way” is completely normal and you express your strong opinion on the respective problem. In America, this direct way is seen as very impolite and more positive criticisms are recommended, such as: “The thought is understandable, but we should consider whether.

Ideas and projects are also handled differently in America. Usually, the goal is formulated in the form of a vision and while in Germany one would now consider exact strategies and think through the individual steps, in America one usually starts straight away and see what happens.

Discrimination and Racism in Working Life.

We have to be realistic: in America, the possibilities are not really unlimited. Even before the Black Lives Matter movement, it was known that America had a problem with racism – in everyday life as well as at work.

The figures confirm this: the unemployment rate of African-Americans or Americans with Hispanic roots is around five percent higher than that of whites (source: FRED, 2020). 

This is particularly dramatic because in the USA you don’t have health insurance if you don’t have a job. For example, applicants with black-sounding names with the same qualifications have significantly poorer chances of finding a job (source: IZA, 2020).

In addition, blacks only get three-quarters of the salary that whites get for comparable work (source: EPI, 2020). African Americans are underrepresented in management positions: Among the approximately 130 Fortune 500 companies, for example, there are only four black CEOs. 

And it was only since June 2020 that dismissals based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender have been prohibited – ergo: until then, that was allowed. You should also be aware of this if you want to work and live in the USA.

Legal and Formalities in The USA

When it comes to salaries, taxes, insurance protection, and employee rights such as protection against dismissal, vacation days, etc., a lot is different in the USA than in Germany. So before you take a job in the USA, you should inform yourself about the formalities.


Unlike in Germany, in the USA you are usually not paid monthly, but every two weeks by Paycheck (check) or deposit (transfer). The average annual salary in the USA is the equivalent of around € 42,500 (as of 2019) – a little less than in Germany.

Taxes and Insurance

In the USA, too, as in Germany, contributions for social security, taxes, and pensions are deducted directly. In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “PPACA” (“Obama Care”) was passed. This means that the USA now also has compulsory health insurance.

If you are liable to pay taxes in the US, you are also required to join Obama Care. Medical care in the US is good but more expensive. It is, therefore, better to also take out good private insurance.

Protection Against Dismissal.

Just as the USA is the land of unlimited possibilities, it is also possible to lose your job overnight: “Hire and Fire” is the name of the principle – and it means: No statutory notice periods. Accordingly, Americans change jobs significantly more often than Germans. This is then called the “flexible labor market”.


When it comes to vacation days, there is a world of difference between Germany and the USA, which requires some getting used to from emigrants. While we Germans are spoiled with an average of 28 paid vacation days, in the USA there is not even a minimum number of vacation days stipulated by law. 

Some companies take advantage of this rule and only offer five days of paid vacation in the first year; only if you have been with the company for many years can you expect two weeks of vacation.

In addition to the visa madness, there are other regulations in the USA that you might not expect.

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