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Working in Columbus?

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Columbus at a Glance

Working in Columbus

Columbus has been one of the most important engines to fuel the economies of United States. The city is home to the headquarters of many major brands and corporations. There are many job opportunities in the industry and service sector. Find out more information about working in Columbus in our expat guide.

Local Economy

Columbus has one of the strongest and most diverse local economies in the United States, and has been voted the 4th most business friendly city (2007) and the 7th best place to run a business (2008) in the country.

The city's total GDP (PPP) of 94.7 billion USD (2011) is split across a number of different economic sectors, including industry (mainly steel, energy, and defense), services (banking, fashion, retail, and insurance), and technology. This diversification means that Columbus did not endure a period of recession in the mid-2000, unlike many other major US cities, and as a result its local economy has grown steadily since the 1990s.

Columbus is home to the offices and headquarters of many major brands and corporations, including Fortune 500 companies American Electric Power and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, as well fast food chains Wendy's and White Castle, and many other companies. Expatriates working in Columbus tend to be employed in the service sector, mainly in finance, banking and technology.

Work Permits for Columbus

In the US work permits are rolled into the application for residency, and as a result you will not need to apply for a work permit separately from your green card or residency visa. However, as part of your application for your green card, your prospective employer in Columbus must file an application petitioning the employment of an expatriate or foreigner, and, depending on your specific skill set and the job, the time this takes can vary. Therefore, expatriates are advised to find a job in the city before applying for a permit to live and work in Columbus.

There are also two other ways to apply for a work permit in Columbus; the L-1 visa and the H-1 visa. If your company wishes to open an office or branch in Columbus, then you can apply for an L-1 visa, which will enable you to do so and can lead to a Green Card or permanent residency. You could also apply for a non-immigration work visa, called a H-1 visa, which allows skilled foreigners to work in Columbus for a specified period of time without residency. Again, your prospective employer will need to sponsor this application.

Income Taxation in Columbus

Foreigners and expatriates living and working in Columbus will need to pay income tax on their earnings. The taxation system in the USA is notoriously complex, and this is especially true for expatriates. As an expatriate, the income on which you pay income tax at American rates is determined by your residency status. 'Resident aliens' pay income tax at American rates on their worldwide income, and you are classified as such if you have a green card, or if you pass the Substantial Presence Test, which means that you have lived and worked in Columbus for at least 31 days during the calendar year and 183 days for the current and two preceding years. If you are classed as a non-resident, then you will pay tax at American rates on your American income only; you may also be exempt from social security. You will be required to submit a tax return each year, as PAYE does not exist.

The income taxation rates for expatriates living and working in Columbus in 2015 are as follows:

InterNations Expat Magazine