Chicago at a Glance
Chicago: Finding a Job and Social Security123RF
Chicago prides itself on being one of the greenest cities in the US.
Once you have settled on a job industry you would like to work in or have skills in, you must go about finding a vacancy. The best way to find a job in Chicago is to look in the classifieds sections in the city’s major newspapers: The Chicago Tribune (the Trib in vernacular), the Sun Times and the Daily Herald come highly recommended.
Additionally, websites such as Chicago Jobs or monster.com will provide you with opportunities to search for jobs. It is not uncommon in the United States to send an unsolicited job application with a cover letter indicating what you can offer the company of your choice.
The “City in a Garden”
Chicago’s former mayor has underscored his commitment to making Chicago the greenest city in the United States. Over the past couple of years, the city has become the leader in initiating environmentally-friendly practices, such as the green roof development – along with several “city farms”, the Chicago Brownfields Initiative, the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and the Green Permits Program.
In addition to these initiatives, which attempt to slow down the deterioration of the environment and which have proven successful thus far, Chicago also invests heavily in green business. It has become a leader in green industries in areas such as wind energy, biomass, construction, water, and transport, to name a few. For example, currently, there are 18 wind energy companies and more than 250 R&D facilities situated in Chicago’s metropolitan area.
Getting Your Work Permit
If all the information on Chicago thus far has piqued your interest, you should first and foremost begin your relocation by obtaining a work permit. The United States has very strict policies concerning visas, and the application process may take some time.
If you are planning on applying for a Permanent Worker Visa, meaning you will be staying in the Chicago area (and possibly moving on to other U.S. cities) indefinitely, there are several categories for which you can apply:
- EB 1: First preference visa for people with special skills in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics, as well as professors, researchers and executives of multinational companies.
- EB 2: Second preference visa for persons who hold advanced degrees or have an exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Please note that for this category, a labor certificate is required.
- EB 3: Third preference visa reserved for professionals and skilled workers with a minimum of two years training in their field.
- EB 4: Fourth preference visa reserved for so-called special immigrants, e.g. religious workers, international organization employees, physicians et cetera.
- EB 5: Immigrant Investor Visa meant for foreign entrepreneurs who invest anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million US$ in a U.S. company or create/preserve at least ten U.S. full-time jobs within two years.
For more on general visa information and other categories, especially Temporary Worker Visas, please consult either the U.S. Department of State website or the InterNations guide on moving to the USA.
Social Security and Taxes
Everyone in the entire United States – regardless of residence status – is required to have a social security card with an 8-digit number that is needed for such things as opening a bank account, renting a home, applying for a job, and, of course, for social security purposes. To find out how you can apply for a social security card, consult the Social Security Administration’s electronic factsheet.
Taxes and social security are controlled by the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Most foreign nationals, regardless of their residence status, will be taxed just as US Americans. Visit the Internal Revenue Service for more detailed information on when and how to file a tax return as a foreigner in the US. There are also numerous tax attorneys and accountants, which can help you out with any questions you may have. It is best to consult the Chicago branch of the Yellow Pages or ask your employer for help.