Are you an immigrant looking for a truck driving job in the USA? If yes, then America is your best choice. The post-pandemic situation has led to truck drivers being highly in demand in the USA. To become a commercial truck driver in the USA, you must be over the age of 18 for in-state trips and over 21 for trips out of state.
Furthermore, you’ll need to attend a truck driving school and pass a test to earn a Commercial Driver’s License. Qualifications for obtaining a CDL may differ by state but generally, you need to pass a knowledge and driving test. Once this is done, you should begin your search and apply for truck driving jobs and gain experience.
However, before you can join a truck driving school, you must pass a drug and alcohol test. You need to also have a driving record clean of any safety infractions as lots of employers prefer applicants without any previous driving problems. Also, you should apply for job offers from employers who have the mandatory paperwork, including a temporary labor certification for H-2B workers and approval of Form I-129.
If you are interested in securing a truck driving job in the USA, the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program is likely the best pathway. This article will further guide you through, so dive in.
H-2B Visa Requirements
To qualify for the H-2B nonimmigrant classification, your employer needs to:
- Prove that there are no adequate US citizens who qualify to fill the job position.
- Prove that employing H-2B workers will not in any way affect the salaries and the working environments of similarly employed US workers.
- Prove that the employer’s job offer is temporary for the prospective worker regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.
- Submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the US Department of Labor along with the H-2B petition. However, the employer’s demand is termed temporary if it’s a one-time occurrence, a seasonal need, in times of excessive workload, or an intermittent need.
Before requesting H-2B classification from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the petitioner must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification application to the DOL. After receiving a temporary labor certification from the DOL, the petitioner will therefore file Form I-129. Also, apply for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS on the prospective employee’s behalf.
H-2B Visa for Truck Drivers
Eligibility for the H-2B visa for a truck driving job in the USA demands that you must be at least 18 years old. Meanwhile, commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) issued in Mexico and Canada are valid in the US. Other drivers will need to pass a test and obtain their US CDL before they start their job.
It’s the responsibility of your employer to ensure that you are well-trained and licensed. H-2B visas are only available to citizens of about 80 countries as approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Requirements to Become a Truck Driver
Before you begin your first trip on the road, you will need to meet the following criteria.
1. You Must At least Be 21 Years of Age
Although, there are some exceptions where 18 years of age can drive the current law states that you must be 21 years old. Currently, being 18 years old, you can drive in most states so long as you don’t cross the state borders. However, the minimum employment age for most trucking companies is 21 or older.
2. A 10-year Driving History
For every state you have lived in, you will need to provide a 10-year driving record. This will include any tickets or traffic accidents that may have happened at the time. However, to check your driving record, you can request a report from your local DMV office before applying.
3. Obtain a Valid CDL or Be Able to Pass The CDL Exam
If you don’t have your CDL yet, you’ll need to take the exam and pass it to get started on the road. Your CDL exam is divided into three categories, a road test, a vehicle inspection, and a backing test. You should therefore enroll in any truck driving training program, they’ll teach you all the necessary procedures to pass your test.
4. Meet Medical Qualifications
To become a qualified truck driver in the USA, there are some medical conditions you should be free of. These medical conditions can make it impossible for you to safely handle truck driving. Crosscheck with a medical professional certified by the Department of Transportation to ascertain that your health condition would not be a concern for someone driving long distances. However, lying about a disqualifying condition is considered a deliberate error or falsification and this can disqualify you, and also make your CDL invalid.
Truck Driver Salary and Other Benefits
Truck drivers in the USA earn an average salary of $62,550 per year or $30 per hour. However, entry-level positions start at $48,733 per year while most experienced workers can make up to $90,000 annually. Truck drivers are one of the solid workforce of the US transportation industry and boost the economy by delivering valuable goods to warehouses and retailers.
There are many benefits to choosing a career as a truck driver. Read on as we discuss some of these benefits.
1. Travel Across The Country
Truck drivers can drive from California to Maine, and from Washington to Texas, enjoying scenic landscapes while transporting a loaded trailer. They can be on the road for days to weeks at a time and in their leisure time, they may decide to visit landmarks and other attractions. Truck drivers are mostly story-tellers, they always have many stories to share with friends and family of their adventures on the road over time.
2. Stable Job Security
One of the highly in-demand jobs in the USA is truck driving. A lot of companies offer signing bonuses and other perks to new hires. Whether you’re working for a local transportation company or a national chain, expect a friendly job landscape in which drivers can choose a position and company that meets their expectations.
3. Steady Salary and Benefits
As of the last quarter of last year, truck drivers earned an average salary of $77,950. While more experienced drivers can earn nearly $90,000 in a year. Truckers can be paid per mile or hour. However, drivers that go across the country typically earn more than regional or local drivers. In addition, truckers may receive benefits, such as a 401k, health insurance, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement. As well as life insurance, and paid training, though this is dependent on the company.
Truck driving is one of a few professions that doesn’t have a supervisor or manager watching the employee’s every move. Truckers typically drive alone and are responsible for following regulations for safety, logging hours, and taking breaks. As long as they make deliveries on time, truckers may choose their route, the type of truck they drive, and how many loads they take per trip.
5. Flexible Schedule
Truckers typically create their schedule and can choose to only work on weekdays so they can spend weekends with friends and family. Drivers can also work outside of the typical nine-to-five workday, so long as they can get the job done.
6. Low Education Cost
Compared to college, truck driving school is significantly more affordable. Most drivers start working within a few weeks of earning their CDL and begin to pay off education expenses without worrying about debt. Truck driving school is around eight weeks and includes important behind-the-wheel training designed to help drivers pass their exam.
7. Choose From a Variety of Truck Driving Jobs
Truckers can drive different types of trucks that come with unique requirements. A few trucking options are dry van, tanker, auto/car hauling, reifer, flatbed, LTL, oilfield, local, and OTR (Over The Road).
A truck driving job in the USA is highly in demand, pays well, and with numerous benefits. Network with area trucking companies and other businesses that move and deliver large loads of goods regularly for job openings. Many companies also provide on-the-job training for aspiring truck drivers with little or no experience.