I have a friend in Belgium that wants to move here to the US. She has a passport. She does work at the UN there, but is not in a professional field. And where she is moving to, there are no (UN) offices close to work at. So she will change fields. We are trying to figure out how do do this. And what is needed after she gets here so she can stay.

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    Is this a pure work-based immigration, or family-related? Commented May 23, 2016 at 0:47
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    Is she Belgian? You mention that she wants to move to a very specific location. Why there? This is a critical detail.
    – ouflak
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 6:47
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    You have tagged the question eu-spouses. Is your friend married, or planning to marry? If so, in addition to her nationality, her spouse's or prospective spouse's nationality could have a bearing on this question. (To respond to comments, it's best if you edit the question to include the requested information; this brings the question back to the top of the active questions list.)
    – phoog
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


The following are pretty much only the following ways your friend could move/immigrate to the US:

1) Marry an American citizen or green card holder (permanent resident). Requires affidavid of support from someone in the US.

2) Get a company to sponsor a work visa, e.g. an H-1B. There are a limited number of them, most being used by Microsoft, Google and other big companies to import foreign engineers/programmers. These visas are time limited. They can be converted into green card/permanent residency if the employer sponsors that as well. Unless she is a very skilled worker with unique skills, this is unlikely.

3) Get a transfer within the UN (G visa) or within another company where she has been working for at least one year (L visa).

4) Win the right to apply for a gren card in the diversity visa lottery (a.k.a. green card lottery). It should open again in October 2016.

There are of course a number of very specialized visas, you can find a good overview here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_United_States#Classes_of_nonimmigrant_visas About green card: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard

For most people the only ways to move to the US are the same: marriage, work transfer, sponsoring by a company or winning the green card lottery. There are also investment visas, but I have heard rumors that due to mis-use of them, they may go away soon. On top of that you have a number of much more specialized visa types, for artists, professors, au-pair, etc. But for most I woudl say that the ones listed above are the ones available.

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    UN employees use the G visa, not L. It is a very favorable way of living in the US, but not in case you want to live where the UN has no offices.
    – phoog
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 3:48
  • The marriage case should be a bit broader. For example, the spouse of an H-1B can apply for an H-4 visa. Commented May 25, 2016 at 7:35
  • @Patricia: But in this case it does not sound like the friend is married to a H-1B visa holder, or she would probably know that already. :-) Commented May 25, 2016 at 13:46
  • @phoog: Updated answer to reflect this. Thank you. Commented May 25, 2016 at 14:04
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    If the answer had started with something like "In your case..." maybe, but "For all purposes..." should be more complete to avoid misleading other readers later. Commented May 25, 2016 at 14:07

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