Whether you have a company sending you to a branch overseas or simply want a different kind of career path, there is a multitude of options for US citizens working abroad. Though it’s certainly possible to apply for work visas in any of these countries with a passport valid for six months, travelers may consider renewing far in advance of their expiration date; passport numbers change when the document is renewed, which can complicate applications and residency requirements in the country.
With that in mind, how long does it take to get a work visa?
Work Visa to United Arab Emirates
Providing they already have an employer lined up and a passport valid for at least six months, US citizens can apply for a 60-day work visa to the UAE and start working immediately. However, once in the country they will have to apply for a two-year employment and residency visa. The employer is usually the one to file the application on the job seeker’s behalf. Once in the UAE, the process can take a few weeks. The initial 60-day visa can be obtained from an embassy or consulate in a matter of days.
Work Visa to Qatar
There are actually two types of work visas for those interested in living in Qatar. One is a permanent visa and the other is a temporary work visa. Like the UAE, visa applications are typically handled by one’s employer. Temporary work visas are valid for one year. Though the application process can be a bit of a hassle, many applicants receive their documents in 2-3 weeks. Permanent long term visas, on the other hand, will require 1-2 months.
Work Visa to Japan
Japanese work visas require that the applicant have their employer file for a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) with two passport sized photos, the work contract, an original university degree, and applicable fees. After a few to several weeks being processed at immigration, this CoE will be returned to applicants and they can apply for the work visa at a nearby Japanese embassy or consulate; this process only takes a few days, depending on the season. April is the most common time of year to start a new job in Japan.
Work Visa to Bahrain
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain issues work visas to US citizens based on the Non-Objection Certificate (N.O.C) issued by the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Altogether, these can be processed in 1-10 business days as long as all the appropriate documentation was included and the passport holder meets the requirements to work in Bahrain.
Work Visa to China
Anyone considering working in China needs to obtain a “Z” Visa and can only be employed by an organization or business accredited for foreign workers. Foreign men seeking a China work permit can be no older than 60 while women no older than 55. Having arranged a position in China and received the appropriate invitation letter, applicants can apply for the visa at any Chinese embassy or consulate with a passport photo and application form. The standard fee for any Chinese visa is $140 and requires four days’ processing time. However, for additional fees of $20 or $30, this can be reduced to 2-3 days or 1 day, respectively.
Work Visa to Kuwait
In addition to standard documents like a passport, photo, and application form, work visas to Kuwait required a handwritten letter outlining the purpose of your work and intended stay in Kuwait, a federal criminal background check, a health certificate identifying the applicant as negative for HIV, hepatitis B and C, malaria, filariasis, and syphilis, and a chest x-ray showing you are negative for tuberculosis. The criminal background check can take several weeks to process by the FBI, but once everything is assembled and sent out, Kuwait work visas are usually processed in approximately three weeks.
Work Visa to France
Several different types of work visas are available for US citizens interested in relocating to France, but all must apply outside the EU and wait for their employer to apply at the Ministry of Labor. Once this is completed, the appropriate information is passed along to the nearest French embassy or consulate and you may finish the application process and receive the visa. The timing for getting a work visa to France is a little delicate; though the Ministry of Labor could take weeks to approve the work visa, no one can apply for a work visa more than three months in advance.