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"Must Be Eligible to Work in the U.S."- Should I Give Up?

You're browsing through fresh remote writing job ads and come across your dream job: a great salary and basic requirements are met. Excitement and hope floods your heart...

...until you see that last requirement.

"Must be eligible to work in the U.S."

For the average U.S. citizen, such as myself, there's zero impact felt when we read that requirement.

For the average international remote writer, it seems like all hope is lost for that job ad. And you may even feel like they should've made that a clear requirement at the beginning of the darn job post. Right?

It's frustrating—to say the least.


Before my international remote writer friends

give up on every single "U.S." job post, I always tell them, "Let's step back, take an eagle-eye look at the job ad, and ask yourself a few questions."

Those personal questions look like this:

1) Are you looking to become an employee or simply freelance full-time for a U.S.-based company?

2) Are you trying to move to the U.S. to work as a remote writer for a company, or stay in your home country and work remotely?

Most of the time, remote writers do not know the difference between an employee and contractor/freelancer—and neither do these companies.

So, let's begin by briefly describing their meanings.


Employee vs. Independent Contractor

An employee is an actual hired worker of a company, in which the company withholds US taxes from the wages and often offer benefits (medical, dental, etc.)

An independent contractor does NOT have US taxes withheld by the company and there are no benefits offered. They withhold their own taxes and provide their own benefits.


"I want to be an employee—not a freelancer."

"I want to move to the U.S. and still work remotely from there."

In your case, the only way to become an 'employee' for a remote job based in the U.S. would include:

  • WORK VISA: the company agrees to offer you a work visa opportunity;

  • SPONSORSHIP: The company agrees to sponsor you (helping you get the work visa).

If the job ad does not deny their ability to grant sponsorship or work visa help, then YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE! APPLY FOR IT!

If the company says that you must be eligible to work in the US (as a remote writer), this means that they are looking for US Citizens or Permanent Residents with AUTHORIZATION to work. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME APPLYING.

"Eligible" = "Legal Authorization"

Example 1: Sometimes, US citizens live in Canada, but they are still authorized because of their social security number and citizenship. They would be great candidates to apply for such remote jobs.

Example 2: You are a UK citizen living in London with an ITIN for U.S. tax purpose. However, an ITIN does not authorize you to work in the U.S.

Example 3: You're a citizen of Kenya, but you live in the U.S. on a school visa. You may currently reside in the U.S., but does the job ad offer sponsorship? You'd need to ask beforehand and check with the government—as certain visas will not allow you to obtain a work visa.

In any case, it's best to ask the company if they are willing/able to sponsor you for a work visa (if you have direct contact with them). Always check the government laws at time of the application, too!


"I have no problem being a freelancer."

In most cases, it's so much easier to just remain a Freelancer/ Independent Contractor for a U.S. remote writing job—from where you currently reside.

Consider these factors:

1) Cost-of-living expenses may not be covered if you relocate. Not always worth it—just to work remotely? So, count your total costs.

2) Compensation and taxes as a foreign employee working abroad: as an "employee", make sure you are receiving benefits and tax help. Most companies do not offer employee benefits to remote workers that they hire as employees. (Which is one of the reasons why knowledgable project managers seek out freelancers or contractors instead).


Unfortunately, you're still finding freelance writing jobs that say, "must be eligible to work in the U.S."

Why? It's just a FREELANCE/CONTRACTOR JOB! Now, that's confusing.

Here's some tips to decode those U.S. job ads—and what they're REALLY looking for...and whether you should apply anyhow.




Companies that say you must be 'eligible' to work in the U.S. might actually mean they are not "willing" to hire outside of the U.S.

Short answer: they must adhere to certain their local/state laws when hiring freelancers...or, they simply don't trust non-U.S. freelancers and lack knowledge.



From my experience as both a business owner and remote writer, companies are either:

  • Concerned their offshore remote writer may not have excellent U.S. grammar skills

  • Lack knowledge about the benefits of hiring freelancers vs. employees.

And part of being a remote writer is learning how to boost your confidence and stand in the spotlight. Focus on how YOU can help solve those two points (above) for that job ad poster.


Oftentimes, they are seeking a remote employee, but have little knowledge about the cost-effective advantages a freelancer/contractor can bring. So, they may say "must be eligible to work in the US"—not understanding the benefits of international remote writers.

You can help mitigate their fear of risk—into a wonderful work relationship.

If you have great experience, a good command on the English language, and a portfolio to prove your work, you may turn out to be their top choice. And your willingness to sign a contract can land you many other long-term projects. This may change their strategy in leveraging the most qualified writer—especially if you can show them the benefits of gaining a freelancer instead of an employee.

Otherwise, skip that ad and keep your head up! What's meant for you is for you—and it's out there being prepared with YOU in mind.



How can you get around these challenges or determine what's best for you?

1) Avoid the U.S.-based job ads that are looking for remote "employees" or state "no sponsorship".

2) Look for keywords, such as "freelancer", "contractor", "independent", "sponsorship", and "timezone".

2) Start a sole proprietorship/ small business in your country and offer your remote writing services to multiple U.S.-based companies from abroad. Showcase your portfolio and build their trust in gaining freelancers abroad (or even sponsoring you as an employee).

There are numerous forums online where freelancers have shared their positive experiences and tips. Check out Nomad List for an example to get you started.


Would you like to continue this conversation? Do you have any experiences to share as an offshore remote writer? Connect with us on social media or request approval for a free

We're always interested in hearing from our ever-expanding international remote writer family.



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