How to work in the USA as a foreigner

In this post, I want to share my experience in coming to the United States to work in Miami as an engineer. Perhaps my history can inspire you!

Just read through the article to find out how I could get my work visa for me and my family and later get our resident card (green card).

So, let's get to the history... just keep reading!

I came from Brazil

I am a Brazilian born in a small city close to São Paulo and just some years ago I used to travel about 2 hours a day to get to my job.


The city I used to live is called Itatiba, with no more than 100 thousand inhabitants, but the small cities usually don't have the better jobs, so I Had no choice other than work in a huge city and luckily I got a position as an engineer in the multinational company Samsung Techwin.

My dream to come to the USA

Besides the fact that I was working for a huge company (Samsung) as an engineer, I was not really happy to live in a small city and travel every single day to São Paulo. It was so stressing and I wanted to change that situation. 

For a long time, I had the dream to come to the USA to live here and improve myself as a professional, so I saw the opportunity as soon as I started working for Samsung.

My dream was to live in the USA

When I was hired, my new boss (an American living in Brazil) asked me the traditional question "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" and I promptly answered: "I see myself working in the United States".

He said this would not be possible because the company wanted me working in Brazil and some sometimes traveling to Latin American countries, so the United States was not in the plan.

I just said that was OK, but I promised myself that I would find a way to get to the USA and just 4 years guess what happened? I got to the USA with my family and that day was really awesome! You definitely need to have the same sensation because is breathtaking.

Preparing to come to the USA

After 4 years working for Samsung as an application engineer for Brazil and Southern Cone of Latin America, I started a process to transfer myself to the United States, of course, this demanded a serious commitment and I had to really get involved with everything related to researching the documents and procedures to legally come to the United States.

Starting my research on how to work in another country, in this particular case, the United States of America I found that a process is required to be accepted as a temporary worker and to get an appropriate visa.

So how did I start the process to get an American work visa? And the answer is simple, looking or professional help.

Seeking professional help

Knowing which visa is appropriate and how to get it, is a not an easy task.

There are different types of visas and a lot of documentation involved in order to obtain one of them. After conducting some research in Brazil and the United States (via the Internet) I discovered a team of lawyers that were specialists in immigration, so I was willing to pay them to guide me to the process of obtaining the appropriate visa.

The lawyer team I met is from a legal services office located in the Chicago area, they were very nice and schedule an interview via SKYPE, I suppose to speak English, but they had a Brazilian lawyer working there and she was assigned to my case.

I paid $ 100.00 for the interview and filled out a form with a lot of questions before going to the meeting, that idea was to optimize the process to make it work as fast as possible.

The meeting with the immigration lawyers

On the scheduled day of the meeting via SKYPE, the Brazilian lawyer and an extra immigration layer were waiting for me. 

They had previously read my form and were fully involved with my case, the meeting was quick and direct to the point, I was instructed to proceed with the case and received all the guidance on how to get started.

I talked to them to let them know that during my research I found out the solution was to get an H1-B visa. But the lawyer told me I was mistaken. 

According to the team, the best option for me would be the L1 VISA.

I remember the lawyer (the man) saying: "With your profile, you will be in Miami drinking a beer in the beach in about three months". 

So, that phrase got me excited and I started the process to get it right away. 

I really got my work visa in 3 months

So, by following the immigration lawyers instructions I got my work visa in just 3 months, I couldn't believe that was real, but it was and I was pretty happy to accomplish my goal.

Work VISA L1

The entire process was simple, I had to fill some papers and ask the company to collaborate with the lawyers by sending them the documents they needed, but at first things didn't work well with so many paperwork.

The company's RH department staff was not comfortable to give so many documents to the lawyers, so they decided to use the company's lawyer to help me with the process of getting my visa and that was even better news.

The summary

I could get an L1 work visa for myself and L2 visas for my wife and daughter.
The process took only three months and it was possible due to the fact that I was working for at least three years in a management position at a multinational company that had a branch in the USA.

Perhaps that is your case or you have a similar situation and can also get an L1 visa which also enables you to bring your family to the USA.

The lawyer also told me that the L1 visa is the easiest way to get a green card later, after some time living and work in the USA, and that's was really true because I got my green card 3 years after I arrived here.

I have another blog post that shows the details on how I got my L1 Visa, just click the link below to read it.

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Work VISA L1

How to get an L1 visa to work in the USA (step-by-step real example)