How to Obtain a Work Visa

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How to Obtain a Work Visa

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Relocating for work is one of the most common reasons for moving. Sometimes that relocation may take you out of the country. You will likely need a work visa when moving internationally for work. How do you get one of those?

Trying to explain what you need to to obtain a visa is difficult because the requirements vary so much from country to country. That being said, there are still some general guidelines that you can follow.

What is a work visa?

A work visa, or work permit is the legal allowance a country's government gives a non-citizen to enter their country and work there. This also implies temporary residency. Like all visas, you will need a passport in order to apply for one. The application is usually done through the destination country's consulate or embassy.

How to obtain a work visa

  • Visit any websites the destination country may have. You need to find documentation that details the specific requirements for obtaining a work visa in that country.
  • Have a passport, preferably one you've had for more than six months, but won't expire in six months.
  • Talk to your employer. If you are working for an international company that has moved you to another country, chances are the company can help you get your work visa, or may even get if for you. Some visa applications (like Canada's) will ask if you have an existing offer for a job in their country.
  • Contact the destination country's embassy and see which work visa application plan applies to you.
  • Submit the necessary information and wait for your visa.

Typical requirements for work visa applications

Keep in mind that the specific requirements for specific countries vary considerably. These are some general requirements that most countries list in their application process. Particularly friendly countries like the US and Canada may have much less stringent work visa requirements for their respective citizens while a more isolationist country like China may have very strict restrictions for all outsiders.
  • Prove that you are a highly skilled worker. This can be done through your company or through your own documented experience.
  • Graduate from secondary level schooling or higher. This is normally required in more developed countries.
  • Demonstrate some level of economic advantage to the destination country. Unless you are famous, a country is not going to want to host you if all of your profit goes to yourself and not the local economy.
  • Provide the consulate with a photo of yourself. The exact specifications for this photo may vary but in some cases you can simply upload a photo through their website.
  • Many countries will ask you to provide some evidence of proficiency in their official language(s) which may be in the form of a test.
  • You will have to fill out forms that show/prove that you are a citizen in good standing in your current country.
  • Fingerprints, or other biometric identification may be required. There are several locations that now take fingerprints digitally. Search for one near your area to get it done and have it sent to the country's consulate.
  • Income and net worth questions will likely be asked as the country judges the probability that you will contribute as a worker in their society.
  • If you have any family members in the destination country, the visa application will likely have a place for you to relay that information.
  • You may be asked your age
  • Specify for how long you expect to be in the country.
This is far from an exhaustive list of things you may have to answer on a typical work visa application, but it also could be longer than some countries' entire applications. Chances are if you are moving because your current employer is transferring you, then you should be able to get a work permit rather easily. If you are moving to a new country without a proper job set up ahead of time, you may want to review the exact parameters for that country's visa application more closely. Obtaining a work visa is not going to work if you try to do it on a whim. With a little foresight, however, you will be ready to move and work in a new country before you know it.

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on July 17, 2014 - Moving Expert
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