The United States has a flourishing hospitality industry, catering to both city-dwellers seeking a night out and adventurers seeking a mountain retreat. The industry has provided countless newcomers from different countries with employment and career growth opportunities.
As a foreigner and hospitality graduate, you have an opportunity to participate in a training or internship program in the US. However, it’s not a simple process to obtain a hospitality job and visa in the US as a foreigner. This is where we’re going to guide you and make it easier for you to understand the overall process.
Hospitality jobs in the US or Europe are diverse and encompass a range of roles in food and beverage service in fine-dining restaurants. The industry also encompasses positions in lodging and recreation. With such a broad array of opportunities available, you can dive straight into the section that interests you most. From getting certified as a professional chef to managing restaurant operations, there are plenty of options out there if you know where to look.
Let’s find out what you need to do to get the right hospitality training program in the US.
Understanding the US Hospitality Job Market
Before we explain the process of finding and obtaining a placement, let’s take a quick look at the US hospitality market and what you should expect.
The US hospitality and leisure job market is thriving, with the industry accounting for 15.1 million employees and more than 1.82 million jobs.
As someone looking to join this buzzing sector as a foreigner, you are in luck. With hundreds of training opportunities available across various states - from entry-level roles such as waiters or housekeepers to managerial positions - there’s something suitable out there no matter your experience level.
Landing Hospitality Jobs or Training programs in the US as a foreigner
If you go online and search for hospitality jobs in a particular region, you’ll probably come across numerous opportunities. However, it’s critical to find opportunities that are designed specifically for international graduates and students. Here is a quick overview of what you need to do to find and secure the right opportunity with ease:
Search J1 hospitality placements in the US
The first step is to do some research and find out what suitable jobs are currently available. While you can visit platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn to browse through opportunities, platforms like HRC International will help you find the perfect opportunities. All you need to do is to visit the website and search for a placement in the right category. For example, they categorize hospitality training for foreigners into 6 broad categories:
You can select your category and find out all the available opportunities and their requirements. Every placement is likely to have a different requirement. So, make sure to read the job description and requirements before you hit the “Apply Now” button.
Find a J1 Hospitality Visa Sponsor
You might be wondering what a J-1 Visa Sponsor is. A J-1 visa sponsor is an organization that has been approved by the US State Department to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.
Now why do you need a sponsor? You cannot schedule an interview with your embassy until you have received a certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor status from your J-1 visa sponsor. Your Embassy will be the one that ultimately issued your visa, and they will only do that after the interview.
The next question you might ask is how to find a J-1 Visa Sponsor. If you’re looking for hospitality or teaching jobs in the US as a foreigner, you can simply reach out to HRC International: they are one of the approved J1 hospitality and teacher visa sponsors.
HRC International provides a range of J1 visa placements that offer specialized internships and training programs in different cities throughout the US. This is an ideal option if you're looking for short-term positions with potential long-term benefits such as learning English while gaining experience in the hospitality sector.
Apply for the position you like
If you work with a designated J1 sponsor like HRC International, they will help you throughout the process from finding the right placement to comprehensive assistance throughout your stay in the US. The first step is obviously to apply for the position you see fit. All you need to do at this point is create your profile and submit your application and CV through HRC’s website.
Gather your documents
Obtaining a US training visa is a process that involves detailed documentation. As a foreigner, you need to provide certain documents to establish your case and get visa approval. Here are some important documents you need to apply for the J1 visa:
Proof of educational qualifications
Application fee payment proof
Your host employer, sponsor organization, and embassy can ask for more documents based on your unique situation. The prime objective here is to authenticate your identity, validate your intentions, and confirm your previous experience.
Throughout the visa application process, your sponsor will guide you and inform you of the necessary documents.
Prepare for interview
After you gather and submit all the documents, your sponsor will provide you with a Form DS-209. With this document, you can then apply for the visa. The next key part of your application process is the embassy interview. You can say it’s the last hurdle you need to overcome. So, make sure to spend some time preparing for the interview.
The consulate officer wants to confirm that you meet the program requirements, as well as ensure that you intend to return to your home country after the program.
You have to communicate that the placement offer is for training and cultural exchange, not immigration and that it will help you acquire specific skills that are not available in your home country. The interview may be brief, but you may have to wait a while before receiving your visa.