Can I Live in the US Without a Work Visa?

Can I Live in the US Without a Work Visa?

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Living permanently in the United States of America is a famous dream for many people. Sorting through the websites and blogs, there seems to be an endless supply of information on this topic, much contradictory and confusing.

Where should you go for answers? This is a serious question that deserves a serious and straightforward solution. This article will answer this question and provide more information about the topic.

Can I live in the US without a work visa?

Yes, you can live in the US without a work visa, but you will not be able to get a job. If you just want to live with your family for good in the US, then it’s perfectly acceptable since you won’t be working in the country.

However, if you plan to work in the US soon, that’s a different story. To work legally in the US, you need to have a work visa that allows you to work. There are several types of work visas:

The most common is the H1-B visa (for specialty occupations). These require at least a bachelor’s degree and sometimes an additional master’s degree or Ph.D. They last for three years and can be extended for another three years (if approved).

There are also other less common visas for highly skilled workers like L1 and E2 visas that allow people from outside the US who own businesses in the US to bring employees from other countries into the country for up to seven years.

How can I live in the US without a work visa?

There are a few ways that you can live in the US without a work visa.

Suppose you will be traveling to the United States but not staying for an extended period (i.e., less than three months). In that case, you do not need a visa. There are two nonimmigrant visas: nonimmigrant visas for temporary travel and nonimmigrant visas for those who want to immigrate permanently. The type of visa that you will need depends on how long you plan to stay in the United States and your plans while there.

Suppose you plan on staying in the US for less than 90 days at a time and do not want to immigrate permanently. In that case, you may apply for a B-2 visitor visa or visa waiver program (VWP). The VWP allows nationals from 38 countries (including Australia, Chile, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea) to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without applying for any visa stamp.

To qualify for VWP status, an individual must:

  • Have a valid passport.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Have no more than $10,000 in cash.
  • Not be seeking employment while in the US.
  • Be able to pay all expenses while abroad, and have a return ticket out of the United States.

If you want to stay in the United States for more than 90 days or from a country not included in the VWP, you will need to apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. The B-1 visa is for business travelers, and the B-2 visa is for tourists.

To apply for a B-1/B-2 visa, you will need to:

  • Have a valid passport.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Have enough money to support yourself during your stay.
  • Have a return ticket out of the United States, and be able to explain the purpose of your trip.

For students, you are allowed to work on your F-1 visa for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacations. You are also entitled to work on your OPT (Optional Practical Training) for up to 12 months after graduation.

What happens if I work in the US without a work visa?

This could be a severe problem. You are not allowed to work in the United States without proper authorization. If caught working without a work visa, you could be deported and banned from returning to the United States for up to 10 years. You may also be fined or imprisoned.

Students are exempt from this as they are allowed to work on their F-1 visa for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacations. They are also entitled to work on their OPT (Optional Practical Training) for up to 12 months after graduation.

You must follow the rules in staying in the United States without a working visa. Lawyers for immigration are willing to help you in case you need assistance.

Conclusion

To answer the question earlier: yes, it is possible to live in the United States without a work visa, but there are conditions that you need to be aware of. If you overstay your welcome, you could get into serious legal trouble. It is always best to consult an immigration lawyer before making any decisions. Good luck!

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