Can I work remotely for a US company from outside the United States?

Can I work remotely for a US company from outside the United States?

how to work for a remote US company

Question: I’m Italian but currently I live in Spain. I would like to know if is it possible for me to work for a US company by remote while still live here in Spain and if I need some authorization from US government or some special document. Also, I would like to understand what is exactly the Visa sponsorship and if I need it if I just want to work remotely from Spain. And when I will be hired by a US company to which state I’ll need to pay taxes? Spain or US? And the company will be able to make a standard contract or will hire me as Freelance?

Thanks for the question. There are two common ways to remotely work for US companies. But first, why would a US company consider hiring you over someone in New York, for example? There are several good reasons.

Perhaps the time zone you live in is advantageous – you can get a lot done before anyone gets online in the US Eastern time zone. Maybe you are willing to work for less money than a US employee with the same skills. Also, someone who speaks English, Italian and Spanish is a great asset to a US company with international customers.

So how do you get a job at a US company that isn’t specifically advertising for a trilingual, Europe-based awesome person like you? The first option is by applying just like anyone else. Look for and apply to both full-time and contract remote jobs and go out of your way to explain why hiring you to work from where you are located is a strategic advantage for them. Companies with experience hiring staff outside of the US will know the laws governing this situation and would pay you as a contractor, either in Dollars or Euros.

The second way is to find an agency that specializes in finding contract positions with US companies for someone with your skills. For example, if you are a software engineer, you can work remotely with a company like Rockstar Coders in Chicago (there are many others, I just happen to have experience with them but look around for others). They will connect you with a company that is looking for someone just like you. The company pays the agency and the agency pays you.

In both scenarios, you don’t need a visa or work permit because you are not performing the work in the US and you would pay taxes in the same way as if you were working as a contractor for a company down the street from you.

I also want to mention that a third, very uncommon way to work remotely for a US company is for them to hire you as an employee in the country you are living in. To do this the company would need to go through the legal process of becoming an official employer where you are – in this case Spain. In reality you would be hired by the Spanish division of the US company, so technically, you would be working in Spain for a Spanish company being paid in Euros. Unless a company is already doing this (Google, for example) it’s highly unlikely that they would do this in order to hire you.

Keep in mind that none of this is legal advice. I am not a lawyer so I can only tell you what my experience has been. 

Buona fortuna and buena suerte!

Always get the best advice first. 


Why is it so hard to find a work at home job? Everything is remote data entry. Help!

It’s true that  there are a number of remote job openings for lower-skilled, low paying positions such as data entry but for some people this is a good thing. Not everyone has additional professional qualifications or is looking for another primary job. For professional job seekers like yourself, there are plenty of high-paying skilled jobs openly advertised on job boards.

Just going to Glassdoor and doing an open search for “Remote (Work From Home), US” produced 4,624 jobs. A solid number of those require minimal professional qualifications and the better your qualifications, the more options you have.

Most of the remote job seekers I mentor are able to locate one new remote job a day to apply to using just a few remote/work from home job sites and land a 100% work at home job they are happy with within a few weeks.

The more dedicated job seekers go directly to the career pages of the remote companies they most want to work for and use alert services like Wachete – Monitor web changes to monitor the pages for new jobs.

To get help your search, here’s a Google Sheet of remote work job sites with reviews.

For additional advice on landing a professional remote position at a great company, start with these full-length articles:

Get a remote job

How to get an employer’s attention with little experience and an irrelevant degree


How to easily land a remote job: bite your tongue

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees/Get a Work From Home Job

Can I apply for remote jobs in another state?

Can I apply for remote jobs in another state?

how to apply to a remote job in another state

I usually distill longer questions from readers down to a single sentence and address the nuances and details from the original in my answer. However, with this one I am compelled to add the entire question because it floored me.

Q: “I attended a webinar by [REDACTED  – but it was a popular job board that also lists remote work] that I can’t be hired for remote work outside of my state for tax reasons. Is this true?  I didn’t apply to several good jobs recently because they weren’t in my state.”

First, if you also attended one of these webinars please contact me. I am interested to know how far this damaging information has spread. When I received this question I was angry that it caused people to miss out on opportunities. So before we go further here is the definitive answer:

You can apply to remote jobs in any state no matter where you live in the United States.

Furthermore, if you have a US work visa or are a US citizen, you can apply to jobs inside the United States while living abroad (as digital nomads know very well). You can also apply to remote jobs based in other countries, depending on their labor laws.

All of this is fundamental to remote work. You are no longer limited to living in a town with a big employer nearby and companies no longer need to base themselves near large cities with a compatible workforce. But how could this person have come up with this idea? They didn’t just make it up, right?

I have not spoken with the individual who presented the webinar, but I suspect that they heard or read several different pieces of employment law analysis and came to an incorrect conclusion. They may have heard that hiring employees in multiple states increases the amount of paperwork that companies need to handle and there are some laws about vacation time and other benefits that can result in one employee being allowed to roll over their unused vacation time but others losing it at the end of the year. For most companies, the benefits of hiring a remote workforce vastly outweigh the additional paperwork. Besides, much of this is handled by outsourcing HR duties, so there is hardly an additional burden.

It’s also possible that they meant to say that SOME remote positions come with geographic limitations for a variety of reasons. They simply flubbed the explanation and left the impression that this was true for all remote jobs. Unless a company declares up front that they are only looking for candidates “near Chicago” or “in the Eastern time zone”, the position is theoretically open to all legal applicants no matter where they live.

If you heard the same incorrect information and also missed out on opportunities for remote work, I am sorry. If you have questions about remote work click the ASK button at the top of the page. If you are having trouble finding remote work and want some guidance, email me with details. I can help.

Always get the best advice first. 

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

How should I quit a job when working remotely?

How should I quit a job when working remotely?

How to quit a job when working remotely

In my many years of working remotely as a manager and executive I have seen plenty of people quit even the most sought after remote jobs for variety of personal and professional reasons. Not everyone is cut out for remote work and sometimes the realities of a specific position just aren’t right for an individual. The people who resign politely and professionally are they ones who can count on good references regardless of the reasons behind their departure.

When it becomes to much or you finally have confirmation of a new position, here’s how I suggest you go about formally quitting your current remote position.

Email your supervisor or manager first thing in the morning and request a meeting as soon as possible via phone or video/audio conference (Hangouts, Meet, Skype, etc), be sure to suggest a time that works for you and don’t just leave it open. Choose the communication method that is considered normal for voice communication at your company.

When you are on the call, be professional and don’t get caught up in a lot of small talk before breaking the news. Chances are they already suspect what is coming and immediately talking about unrelated topics makes it harder for you and more awkward for them. It’s amazing how experienced managers can tell that someone is giving notice just by the tone of the meeting request.

Never resign via email unless there is absolutely no other option. It is professional courtesy to quit personally and a phone call is the closest you can come when working from home. No matter how tempting it is to avoid a conversation about your decision, resigning via email can set the process off on the wrong foot.

That said, when you are done with the phone call, email your supervisor and put your resignation in writing, mentioning the phone call. There will likely be a formal process that he or she will need to you to follow, but the email is proof that you made the phone call and the email is proof of the date and time that you gave notice in case that is ever questioned.

Good luck with your new position and thank you for the question.


Always get the latest responses first. 

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees

How do I get an employer’s attention with little experience or an irrelevant degree?

How do I get an employer’s attention with little experience or an irrelevant degree?

The best resume

I went to university and earned a degree in one field only to be completely disenchanted with it soon after graduation. Fortunately, I knew what I’d rather be doing with most of my life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford more schooling to go the traditional route. Here’s what worked.

Move forward with what you have

First, be positive about your situation! It is absolutely possible to get into many professions without following the typical degree path and sometimes even without any previous related experience.

Displaying honest enthusiasm for the work and company you are applying to is a good start, but employers rarely higher simply based on enthusiasm. Managers often need to justify hiring a candidate to their own boss and company bean counters so they must have something to justify bringing on your smiling face than just all those good feelings they have about you.

Establish a foundation

If you are seriously interested in your new career path, it’s likely that you have already begun exploring articles, videos and webinars on related topics. Afterall, how did you become so certain you wanted to pursue this new glorious career in the first place?

Before applying to all those amazing, life changing positions you need to establish a solid foundation. Let’s say, for example, that you want to break into social media marketing or eventually become an SEO expert. It doesn’t take long to come to grips with the basic art and science of these, and many, professions enough to apply to entry level job openings.

Watch everything you can find on YouTube, Skillshare and Vimeo. Look for a highly rated webinar and get on the mailing list specialist blogs then exhaust their past posts. You won’t need to be an expert, but with the internet at your fingertips it’s inexcusable not to wring out all the foundational knowledge that is freely or cheaply available.

Talk the talk

While you are accumulating this knowledge, create a list of all the specialist terminology as you come across it. Every job has a specialized vocabulary and “Talking the talk” in your cover letter and interviews will go a long way to placing you on the candidate shortlist not to mention serve you well when you do land that job.

Research responsibilities

To get that additional something and earn their confidence as well as their attention, research the details of the advertised position and similar jobs at other companies. Find out the details of every job responsibility listed in the job ad then use the new knowledge from those blogs and webinars to be able to talk in as much detail as possible about what goes into fulfilling the responsibilities.

Polish your resume

Spend one day polishing your resume by copying the best examples you can find on the internet. There are plenty of clear and concise ways to shine on paper and the most popular layouts vary by profession. Regardless of which layout you settle on recognize that, with a lack of solid experience, you will need to list your new skills and knowledge at the top. Next list any positions that included any remotely relative experience. It’s not a crime to order them by relevance instead of chronologically. Remember, the goal of the resume is to sell the version of you that is the best candidate for the job.

Now make your resume immaterial

What? I hear you exclaim as you spit your coffee across your laptop. I just spent a day making my resume amazing!

Your resume is still required and important once you get your future boss’ attention. Managers at least want something to remember you by but they have dozens or maybe hundreds of resumes to weed through and you are unlikely to stand out in that slush pile. A virtual piece of paper is not going to land that job.


Advice/Get a Work From Home Job

Do companies still provide a computer and phone for remote work?

Do companies still provide a computer and phone for remote work?

Do you have to supply your own computer to work from home?

I probably hear this question at least once a week on average coming from current remote workers who think they are receiving a bum deal, office-trapped professionals looking for a better life and my parent, who can’t remember what they ask me from week to week.

In the dozen years or so that I have been working remotely as a professional in the tech industry, I have seen a few trends build over time. One of these is how managers and CEOs of companies employing a partial or fully remote workforce view their valuable distant employees. There was a time when remote workers (work from home, telecommute, telework, nomad, etc) were thought of as satellite offices sprinkled around the country and the world. When hired you would find a pile of Fedex boxes on your doorstep containing every office contraption short of a watercooler. You were expected to recreate their office in your house.

My wife experienced this as a remote editor for a large publisher. Within a few days of her bondage in the virtual slave galley that is publishing (if you have never worked in publishing and want to know why this is an accurate analogy, go to your nearest dive bar, find the most permanent alcoholic denizen swaying on a barstool at the far end and ask them. If it is just beer they are drinking, they worked in magazines/periodicals. If they are downing a beer and a bump then they were an editor for a newspaper or an expensive daily B2B newsletter–but I digress), she received the following…


Advice/Get a Work From Home Job

Why is it Hard to Find a Job Online?

Why is it Hard to Find a Job Online?

why is it hard to find a job

I have heard a variation on this question twice in the last few days and I wanted to scream from the highest hilltop that it’s not hard. It’s the way most people apply to jobs online that makes it hard.

Most people see job ads on a giant job posting website and apply by diligently copying and pasting in their resume and sometimes a cover letter into the online form then waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

They repeat this over and over again to make themselves feel productive until the disappointment from not hearing back slowly creeps over them. One day, months later they desperately take the first job offer regardless of whether it’s really right for them.

With a little bit of effort, nearly every job application will produce a positive result. All it takes is digging a little deeper.

Find out who the manager is over the position. Who is the decision maker? If this sounds hard, it’s not. The information is out on the Internet and sometimes listed right on the company’s own website. Do a Google search for the position and likely titles for the immediate manager. LinkedIn results often come up along with Twitter accounts and blog posts. Get the email addresses and phone numbers of the most likely individuals.

If you do have more than one possibility, pick the most likely person and email them your cover letter and resume. In the email explain how you applied through the job posting as instructed but you wanted to talk to someone about the job. Don’t be pushy but be direct and polite. Thank them for taking the time to respond.

Give them a full business day to respond. If you don’t hear anything, call their business phone and leave a message if there is no answer. Use what you said in the email as a starting point. Be brief and polite and you will either get a call back or a response to your original email.

If they weren’t the right person, chances are they will forward your email and/or voicemail to the person who is. If you still don’t hear anything back and you have other contacts that may be the manager, repeat the process. If it was the only contact you have give them a couple of days and follow up politely via email and phone again.

Be sure to make every action count by including something positive about yourself in the emails or voicemails that is applicable to the job you are applying for.

Assuming you were a decent candidate to start with, most managers will see your reaching out as a positive sign and add you to the short list. Every once in awhile you will come across a manager who is offended that you aren’t sticking to the rules in the job posting. Seriously consider if you’d want to work for such a person. They may even feel threatened by your actions.

Wouldn’t you rather work for someone who appreciates your initiative and drive?

Don’t miss the new webinar on landing the best work from home jobs without any previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.

Advice/Advice for Work From Home Warriors & Wannabees/Get a Work From Home Job

Are there entry-level work from home jobs?

Are there entry-level work from home jobs?

get an entry-level work from home job

Almost any job that can be performed in an office, can be done from home as long as you have the right mindset and drive to work independently and without a supervisor hovering over your desk.

It sounds strange but a lot of people can’t focus without their boss nearby or their co-workers offering constant support. For those who can successfully break free of the office, working from home is amazing, but that’s not the topic of your question. You want to know how you can make a good income working from home.

How are your skills?

Are you organized? Are you comfortable on a computer using Excel, Word, Google Docs, etc? Do you know something about social media? Can you research topics online? If so there are plenty of jobs where these core skills will get you in the door. Some require experience or training in additional areas but the internet is full of training options as well. Here are a few that often have entry level and higher positions available to work from home.

  • Customer Service Representative
  • Project Manager
  • Sale Representative
  • SEO/Marketing Assistant
  • Social Media Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Account Manager
  • Medical Coder/Remote Coder

Recently, Forbes published a list recently of the 20 most common work from home jobs (The 20 Most Common Work-From-Home Job Opportunities) and some of those appeared on the list so they are definitely out there waiting for the right candidate.

Of course, competition for these jobs is intense. Many applicants already have work from home experience. But even if you have little work at home experience or none at all, don’t worry. You can still land the job you want by gaining a little knowledge before applying.

With a couple of days’ research over coffee you can prepare yourself to sound more experienced at working from home than you currently are. Take a look at my related article with more information.

Of course, for a work from home job, this is only half the battle. Want to learn how to convince an employer that you can do the work from home? Then get an alert for my new webinar starting this summer on landing the best work from home jobs without any previous experience. Add your email below to receive an alert message before the next webinar fills up.