How can a foreigner become a truck driver in USA?
How can a foreigner become a truck driver in USA?
The Trucking Industry
The trucking business is one of the most popular businesses in the USA. In fact, according to the American Trucking Associations, the industry would need to hire about 900,000 more drivers to meet the increasing demand of the country.
As trucking companies grow in number each year, there will be a serious shortage of truck drivers for the community. This year, truck drivers are considered to be the number one most in demand job in the USA. If you are looking for a job, this might be a good opportunity.
Truck drivers are paid per mile of work. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a truck driver earns an average of $45,570 a year. This average is expected to increase still as there is a shortage of manpower in many districts.
The amount earned by drivers depends on a lot of things such as location, experience, certifications or training, and most especially, the company. Walmart for one, boasts a salary of nearly $90,000 a year for new hires. Being part of the trucking industry is such a good opportunity you should not miss.
If you have the skills to be a truck driver, USA may be a great place to start a career. As long as you got the skills and passed the necessary work requirements, then you can definitely start working almost immediately.
Here are some tips and requirements in order to be a truck driver in the USA.
For foreigners, you need to get a working visa before you could legally start work in the US. The type of visa you get would depend on your country of origin, education, and work experience.
Most would recommend the H2B visa as the best and easiest type of visa for a truck driver to get. But you can also choose other types of visas such as H1B, E3, or TN1, depending on your convenience.
Note that all visas would require you to have a sponsorship. This sponsor can be the employer or an organization, so it is important to look for a trusted company and secure an eligible job offer.
Your employer should have the required paperwork on their end. For H2B workers, this may include a temporary labor certification and a submitted and approved Form I-129.
You can then apply for your visa or admission with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. There are sometimes changes in visa or US Citizen and Immigration Services requirements, so make sure that you do your research.
III. Commercial Driver’s License Requirements
To drive a truck, you will need to get a heavy vehicle driver’s license. Most companies would require you to have a Commercial Driver License (CDL).
You can obtain your CDL from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). But getting a CDL involves a lot of steps, so be prepared.
To start, it is important to be fully informed in your decisions. You should get yourself a copy of your chosen state’s CDL Manual as each state could have their own sets of requirements.
For example, you may be required to maintain a regular driver’s license for a year in the US before you could get a CDL. You can check or print a copy from their website.
You should also know which type of vehicle you would be driving for. Certain heavy trucks are classified under specific classes and can only be legally operated by certified drivers. For example, to drive a Class A truck, you would need to have a Class A CDL.
Each class of CDL will require you to pass certain skills tests. Make sure to pass all required exams to prevent restrictions on your license.
Finally, to get the CDL you first need to get a Commercial Learner’s Permit This permit will authorize you to practice on public roads while having a qualified CDL holder sit next to you as a guide.
Aside from the necessary knowledge and skills, you should also not forget the following requirements below.
To qualify for a CDL, you need to be physically fit. You will likely undergo a DOT physical exam conducted by your state’s Certified Medical Examiner. This is to ensure that you are reasonably healthy to operate large vehicles. This medical certificate will be valid for 2 years.
You should be 18 years old to be a truck driver in the USA. If you are required to cross state lines, then you need to be at least 21 years of age.
An ideal truck driver should have a clean driving record. Your driving record for the last 10 years in every state and the District of Columbia will be checked thoroughly. So make sure you drive responsibly.
Taking the Test
Remember that you are required to have the CPL in possession for 14 days before you could take the Practical Test for the CDL. Some states in the US will also require you to take CDL training before taking the skills test.
Before taking the test, make sure to study for the inspection test and maneuvers found in the CDL Manual. The three parts of the Test will be the Basic Controls Test, Vehicle Inspection Test and the Road Test. You need to pass all three parts of the Skills Test.
Once you have passed, you will then wait for the processing of your documents. Make sure that all your details are correct to prevent any hassle in the future. Some state will only take a day for processing while others take longer and will send your CDL via mail.
For a more definite list of requirements, you should check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). You should also check with your employer about this.
Some companies would offer a paid or free CDL training and help you with the process. This could be a more practical choice than paying for CPL and a driving school yourself.
Being a truck driver is an exciting and honorable job filled with many possibilities. But before taking the leap, you better research for companies, state policies, and driver’s requirements properly.
You should also weigh the pros and cons in getting certified and having a trucking lifestyle. It would be great to check with your connections and ask for tips from a truck driver currently working in the USA.
Still, the trucking business seem to be a stable opportunity granting that it fits your personality and lifestyle. And as there is a great demand for skilled workers, you would not worry for a job shortage any time soon.