What Are the Requirements for Working in the US as a Foreigner?
If you’re a foreigner hoping to work in the US, rest assured there are lots of options for you to reach this goal. However, in all cases, you will need some kind of permit in order to be allowed to work. This can come in the form of a work visa (dependent on the type of work you’re seeking) or a green card.
Obtain a green card
With a green card, you will be a permanent resident of the US. This will give you the same rights to apply for work in America as any other American citizen — however, do you need to take the TOEFL if you have a Green Card? The answers depends, it might yes and no, depending on your situation. You can take a look at our article to find out the detailed answer.
For more information on green cards and how to apply for one, see this USAGov guide.
Obtain a work visa
If you aren’t able to get a green card, you’ll need a work visa in order to work in the USA. The Bureau of Consular Affairs outlines all the types of work visas that are available to foreigners, ranging from the H-1B “specialty occupation” visa to the Q-1 international exchange program visa.
Overall, these are the steps they outline for getting a temporary work visa:
1. Labor certification — certain employers may be required to get a labor certification on your behalf. This will be the responsibility of your employer to check.
2. I-129 petition — Before you can apply for your temporary worker visa, you’ll need your employer to file a I-129 form to USCIS on your behalf.
3. Apply for a visa. This step has several requirements, which may vary slightly based on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you’re applying. You should consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website for more details.
In all cases, the visa application process requires a valid passport, a DS-160 application, an application fee payment receipt, a photo, and an interview.
During the interview, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will determine if you’re qualified to get a work visa, and which visa category is appropriate for your purposes.
There are no particular requirements stated on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website regarding English certification, but be aware that your employer will often require proof of a high English level, and you’ll have to present this proof and demonstrate your English skills at the visa interview.
The TOEFL IBT Exam: An Essential Tool for Working Abroad
Granted, the TOEFL IBT measures academic English, but it isn’t only accepted by universities and schools! Other organisations also evaluate the TOEFL scores:
- The immigration services use it to grant stay visa and work visas;
- Medical agencies use it for the sake of professional certifications.
For instance, in Australia, TOEFL IBT scores can be used to certify the English level necessary to the granting of a student visa, a post-diploma one, or a qualified worker and business one.
If you want to know more about it, the ETS website, the organism running the TOEFL, quantified all the institutions which accept the TOEFL IBT scores.
What Jobs Can You Get With the TOEFL Exam in the US?
If you’re still wondering why should you make the decision to take the TOEFL, we’re going to give you even more reasons right away.
As English is naturally the main language of communication in America, many employers like to see proof of a high English level in the form of a TOEFL test score. This gives them the confidence that you will be able to fulfil all your job requirements.
Even if an employer doesn’t require the TOEFL exam, having a high score as concrete proof of your English skills will certainly give you an edge over the many other applicants competing for the same job, particularly if English is needed for the job.
Here are 10 examples of professions where having a good TOEFL score will be a great advantage in your application:
Scientists don’t just peer into microscopes and petri dishes — there’s a huge amount of reading involved. As most scientific research is being published in English, science is of the fields of work where a high level of English is essential.
Pharmaceutical sales rep
A lot can be at stake if you misunderstand a customer’s prescription or give them the wrong medicine because you misheard what they said. If you’re looking into working at a pharmacy, be prepared to have to prove your English level to be hired.
Universities are huge job providers, with thousands of employees in departments ranging from Admissions Office assistants to accountants. It will come as no surprise that working in a highly academic setting will require a high level of English.
Covid aside, tourism is one of the most popular businesses for foreigners to get into, as knowing a foreign language will be seen as a huge advantage… but only if you can also communicate with the local customers, which in America, will of course be in English!
Banks are another great work provider, for both people with a background in finance and those without. But regardless of which category you fall into, you’ll need to speak fluent English, whether it’s to talk with fellow colleagues or American customers.
Hotels are another great source of work for foreigners, and with a proven high level of English, you’ll have no trouble finding a good position as a hotel receptionist, server, reservation agent, or barkeeper.
Many offices make use of clerks to help them with answering the phone, filing records, and typing out documents. Clerks also need to communicate closely with the whole team at the office, so it’s very important that the communication goes smoothly.
Imagine going to a restaurant and discovering you can’t order, because your server can’t understand you! No restaurant owner wants their customers to have this experience. If you hope to work at a restaurant, a good TOEFL score will demonstrate to your employer that you are fully capable of working as part of their team.
Doctors have to not only speak clearly with patients, but also understand medical charts and communicate with other doctors and medical professionals. It’s hard to imagine doing this with a low level of English!
Summer camp leader
You might be interested in going to America for only a short stay — if that’s the case, a job as a summer camp leader might be perfect for you! But as you will be surrounded by energetic kids and teenagers, you’ll feel very thankful for having prepared well for the experience by working on your English level.
How Will the TOEFL IBT Be Able to Help You in Your Career?
Having the TOEFL will be a valuable asset for you.
A valuable guarantee of your English level
English language tests are essential nowadays. An official score in a renowned English test is much more telling for firms and universities, especially abroad: it makes it possible to judge candidates on a common, standardised reference.
Career-wise, is it more advantageous to pass the TOEIC or the TOEFL IBT?
Most firms expect their employees whose native tongue isn’t English to obtain the TOEIC to attest their grasp on professional English. That is the case in particular in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.
This does not, in any way, mean the TOEFL IBT is wasteful! Indeed, the two tests evaluate different, but complementary competencies. Obtaining an excellent score at the TOEFL IBT as well is proving a complete grasp on English, especially considering that the most used version of the TOEIC (Listening and Reading) doesn’t evaluate the candidates’ oral and written expression competencies.
The TOEFL IBT: An Advantage for Your CV and Job-Seeking
Let’s see why the TOEFL is going to help you land a job.
A valuable asset in many different fields
Mentioning a good score at the TOEFL can be advantageous when job-seeking or internship-hunting abroad. When faced with 2 equal CVs for a position with an international edge, or a position across borders, recruiters will prefer the candidate who has passed the TOEFL IBT and has obtained a satisfactory score. As such, the TOEFL IBT can act as a recruitment tool for the employer.
Some fields such as academia can be especially careful with scores obtained at the TOEFL IBT.
Which score should you obtain?
The level frequently expected by both firms and third level schools is at least 80 points out of 120, which matches a B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If this is a ‘reference’ level, you will need to adjust your expectations according to what you’re seeking and where you’re applying: firms, colleges… If you’re applying at firms with a very competitive hiring stage, only mention your TOEFL IBT score on your CV if you’ve obtained a score above 100 points.
Practice for the TOEFL IBT Online With GlobalExam
The TOEFL IBT uses specific themes, instructions and methodology which require a good deal of preparation upfront. Therefore, a good level of English might not be enough to obtain a good score! To succeed in passing the TOEFL, you must begin by improving your English level in strengthening your learning, but you must also work on competencies that are specific to the TOEFL IBT exam.
Global-Exam is offering you 2 preparation modes for the TOEFL IBT: a training mode with more than 100 hours of revisions available along with 2500 questions sorted by levels of difficulty; and an exam mode, with 3 mock exams in the real conditions of the exam.
What else can GlobalExam do for you?
Our teachers also give you study sheets to understand the structure of the TOEFL exercises, a personalised planning, corrected copies of your training as well as statistics on your progress.
Find out more about the GlobalExam strategies to prepare at best for the TOEFL IBT. You’ll also find a complete description of our content. Don’t hesitate to join our movement of Global Players!