How to Get a Work Visa?

Among the many reasons to relocate overseas, moving for work is always on that list. Whether you already have a job in your new home, or you’ll need to find a job once you’re there, you’ll likely need to get a work visa. Keep reading for tips and information on how to get a work visa.

Work visas authorize you to begin employment in another country. If you’re already moving for a job, your employer should be able to help you with the process of obtaining a work visa.

Research Regulations in your New Country – Before you can pack your bags, the best place to start is to visit the website or contact the consulate or embassy in the country you’re moving to.

The U.S. Department of State website has links to embassies in the United States that you can contact for visa and work permit information.

Websites like Project Visa provide information about visitor’s visas and work permits for most countries in the world. Expat Exchange is also a great place to learn more about the country you’re moving to. Resources are listed by country or subject so it’s easy to find the information you’ll need to transition into your new home smoothly.

Look up the requirements for the specific country you’re moving to and go from there. You may need to speak with the nation’s consulate office to get more information and clarification on the regulations, entry requirements and application process.


Some countries require that you already have a job offer in place before granting visas and permits. They can be hesitant to provide jobs to foreigners if they think their own residents can do the work. Additionally, some countries won’t allow both spouses to work. So if your spouse intends on working, be sure not to list them as a dependent on any documentation.

Depending on what occupation you’re hoping to pursue, methods for obtaining a visa can vary. Professionals like doctors, dentists and lawyers often can’t work in a foreign country as their licenses, certifications and credentials may not transfer readily.

The Process

  • Get a passport for your home country.
    • Keep in mind, the processing time for a United States passport is generally four to six weeks, so plan accordingly.
  • Prepare and submit your application. The applications may vary from country to country along with the requirements. Some requirements from popular countries are listed below.
  • Make sure that you or your employer pays the correct filing fee.
  • Most countries will perform a criminal background check.
  • A medical exam may be necessary to be sure that you’re not carrying certain diseases.

Applying for a Work Visa for the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man:

  • You can apply online at:
  • You’ll need to determine what type of visa you need:
    • a skilled worker visa,
    • a temporary worker visa (someone who works for a short time in sports, arts/entertainment, a volunteer, charity or a religious organization),
    • a high value worker (entrepreneurs, investors or a leader in arts or sciences)
  • You may need to get a Tuberculosis test depending on where you’re traveling from
  • You may need to schedule an appointment before you apply

Applying for a Work Visa (Z) for China:

  • Valid passport with at least six months left before expiration and at least one blank page left
  • Completed application form
  • One recent passport photo affixed to the application
  • Temporary foreign visitors with a valid US visa or foreign residents may apply for a Chinese visa at the Chinese Embassy.

You must apply in person at the embassy or you may entrust a person to drop off your application at the visa office of the Embassy or Consulate-General. No appointment is required to file your application. Mailed applications won’t be accepted. Processing time is four working days with express services available at an extra cost. To file your application as a US Citizen it will cost $130 and $30 for citizens of other countries.

Applying for a Work Visa for India:

  • A valid passport with at least six months before expiration and at least two blank visa pages–amendment pages are not acceptable for visa stamps
  • One signed visa application form plus one copy–only online application forms are accepted, once it is printed, no corrections can be made
  • One passport type photo – the photo SHOULD NOT be stapled to the application
  • Proof of residential address that matches the present address on the visa application exactly
  • Appointment letter provided by the employer certifying that the applicant has been offered a position with the company and outlining the nature and duration of the position and salary (the salary must be at least $25,000 USD per year for US citizens)
  • A copy of the complete employment contract including details of the salary agreement and signature of both parties
  • The current resume of the applicant
  • Proof that the organization is registered in India provided by the Indian employer
  • Tax Liability Letter from the company in India that certifies the Indian company should be liable for paying taxes on behalf of the applicant
  • One completed employment details form
  • Justification letter provided by the employer certifying that the applicant is a skilled professional, technical expert or senior executive and justify how these skills are not available in India

Guidelines for Obtaining a Visa

The Different Types of Visas