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How to Hire a Short-Term Foreign Worker in the U.S.

For companies that hire foreign workers, understanding and completing the hiring and visa process can become tricky. With various forms, approvals and documents needed, one might be confused as to where to start.  

To help diffuse some of the confusion, today we will be walking you through the steps and information you need to know in the hiring process of foreign workers. 

While this post will cover the process for short-term hiring, at the bottom of this post, we have also included a document that compares the differences between hiring for short-term and permanent work for those who may be hiring a long-term worker.  

Finding an Employee  


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash  

As in any situation of filling an open position, the first step requires finding the right person. The process of finding a foreign worker is like the normal hiring process. This includes:  

  • A job post  
  • Reading resumes  
  • Conducting interviews  

 Even though, you might not intend to hire a foreign worker at first, you might find that they are the best fit for the job.  

According to BetterTeam, some job boards for finding international workers, include USponsor Me, CoolWorks, Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter. After, you have found the right person for the job and before you begin filling out the required forms. Frist, determine if the individual will need either a:   

  • H-1B Visa

     An H-1B visa is for temporary foreign employees to work in the U.S. filling roles in specialty occupations, requiring either a bachelor’s degree or specialized training to perform the job.  

  • H-1B1 Visa  

    An H-1B1 is specifically for individuals from Singapore and Chile looking to receive work authorization in the U.S. for the same positions one would apply for in an H-1B visa. Under this program, a maximum of 1,400 visas are allowed to be administered to Chilean citizens and 5,400 visas to Singapore citizens.    

  • E-3 Visa  

    An E-3 visa is for Australian citizens wanting to work in the U.S, only 10,500 of E-3 visas are allowed to be authorized each year.  

(More information on H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visas can be found on this page from the Department of Labor. Additionally, to download the application forms use this link.) 

If they require any one of these visas, the employee must first submit a Labor Condition Application through the U.S. Department of Labor.  

Once this form has been completed, you can begin filling out the I-129 form, which is a petition to the U.S government for a nonimmigrant worker. This form is to show that there is a gap in skills among U.S applicants and that your company requires a foreign worker to complete this job. The form is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  

After the I-129 form has been approved, the foreign worker can begin the visa application process.  

Visa Application   

After the I-129 form has been approved, the document will be sent to the National Visa Center. Your employee should then receive a case number from the office, which they can use to begin applying for their visa.   

To apply for a visa to work in the U.S., this will have to be completed through the U.S. Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs Office. The link with information about applying for a temporary worker visa is here.   

While the process for a visa application varies across which embassy or consultant an individual is applying from, all applicants must complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, otherwise known as form DS-160. To access this form, please click here. 

Additionally, be advised, during the visa application process, if you are bringing over an individual currently working for another branch of the company, they will be listed as an application for an L Visa.  

Visa Interview

After submitting the online visa application form, individuals between the ages of 14 to 70 will need to schedule an interview at their nearest U.S. consulate.  

During the interview, the employee will need:   

  • A valid passport  
  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Application  
  • Confirmation page   
  • The application fee payment receipt  
  • The receipt number that appears on the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Form 1-129 or Notice of Action  
  • Form 1-797 from the USCIS.   

Individuals who fall under applying for an L Visa must also have a Form I-129S form.  

Furthermore, the individual might need to provide their biometric data, in addition to meeting with the U.S Embassy or Consultant.  

To help your future employee along the visa application process provide them with the U. S’s “Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet.”   

As the most crucial and longest part to bringing over a foreign worker, as an employer try to make yourself easily available, in case your future new employee may need help with the application. 

Social Security Number   


Photo Courtesy of Forbes.   

After making it through the lengthy visa process, individuals should start applying for a Social Security Number (SSN). All individuals employed in the U.S need to have an SSN authorized through the Social Security Administration for payment purposes.  

The application for a Social Security Number can be requested in the visa application process through either Form DS230 “Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration” or DS260 “Immigrant Visa for Electronic Application,” which is an online-only form.   

For individuals who apply for their SSN during the visa application process, they will receive their card and SSN after they have arrived in the U.S.   

Individuals who choose to apply for their SSN separately from the visa application should visit their nearest Social Security Office. When visiting the office, employees will have to bring their:  

  • Machine-Readable Immigrant Visa (MRIV)  
  • Brith Certificate 

After completing the application and providing all necessary information, the processing time between applying and receiving the card should take up to two weeks. An online form of the application can be found through this link from the Social Security Administration 

Frist Few Days on the Job  

After your employee has received visa approval, arrived in the U.S., and starts their first day of work, employers are required by the U.S. government to have their employee fill out government required forms to comply with the IRS and U.S. Labor laws. These forms should be completed within the first few days of employment.  

These forms include:  

  • I-9 Form   
  • W-4 Form   

I-9 Form  

When starting a new job, one of the essential forms one must complete is an I-9 Form. This form proves that an individual is eligible to work in the United States. When filling out the form, temporary U.S. workers qualify as an “Alien Authorized to Work,” under section one of the form.  

When selecting the option “Alien Authorized to Work” individuals will be required to provide either their: 

  • “Alien Registration Number/USCI Number”  
  • “Form I-94 Admission Number”  
  • “Foreign Passport Number and Country of Insurance”   

The Alien Registration Number, otherwise known as a USCI number, can be found on one’s visa card, which is their A number. Additionally, an individual must provide a document that proves their work authorization and identity. The list of accepted documents is available on the last page of the form.  

Screenshot of Acceptable documents for I-9 Forms 

W-4 Form   

Another vital government form one must complete when starting a new job is a W-4 form for tax purposes. This form requires one’s Social Security Number and to report any dependents, withholds, or deductions made on their taxes.   

In addition to other company-specific forms, the I-9 and W-4 forms are crucial for all employees starting a new position at any company. 


As a closing note this information is only for the working individual. Family members and spouses of foreign workers will have a slightly different process to immigrate to the U.S.  

Bringing a foreign worker to the U.S. can be a complex and lengthy process requiring extreme coordination and communication to make hiring an international employee as seamless as possible.  

Hopefully, this information has provided you and your team with some guidance as you go about bringing a foreign worker to the U.S.  

Information included in this blog post comes from the U.S Department of Labor, the U.S Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 

For more information, please use these attached documents below to read more about hiring foreign workers.


Further Reading 

Temp Vs. Permanet Workers