CDL Driver Application Non USA Citizen

Topic 13213 | Page 1

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Doug L.'s Comment
member avatar

Let me introduce myself, Doug Lees-Smith, a white South African male age 51. I have EC or code 14 driver license which is the South Africa equivalent for the Class A CDL allowing a SA driver to drive all tractor trail combinations. My intention is to work in the USA as an OTR driver, due to the lack of employment opportunities in SA. This will require me to do the USA commercial drivers coarse to be certified to drive tractor trailer combinations in the USA. However before I can do that I need to obtain a H2B working Visa for the USA. Before I can make the application I need to have a company in the USA who will sponsor me and apply to the USCIS to approve the Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker (Form I-129). Only then may I apply for a visa to enter and work in the USA. In short I must get the Job without the qualification to get the visa to get the qualification so I can work in the USA, in a job I am qualified to do. That said and accepted I am happy to work with in the rules. I have approach 100's of trucking companies and none are prepared to walk this road with me. Now this makes no sense at all, there is a shortage of drives, notably OTR drivers, so what am I missing or do not understand. Can someone steer me in the right direction or offer some advice. Regards Doug

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

C. S.'s Comment
member avatar

Many U.S. States require you to hold a regular driver's license for at least one year before applying for a CDL. Additionally, in South Africa (if I'm not mistaken), you drive on the left side of the road. This difference can be hard to adjust to, as you'll be doing the exact opposite of what you're accustomed to. I would personally recommend getting acclimated to right side driving in a regular car before attempting it in a truck.

If you've talked to hundreds of companies already without luck, the best advice I can give is to try to obtain a green card (instead of a work visa), and then get your CDL here. I don't know if that coincides with your long term goals, though.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Doug L.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes , I fully agree there must be a period of adjustment re driving on the wrong side of the road etc. There are many ways to overcome this for eg. driving a courier van for a period - even if it is a year. But until a communication channel is open you can not find a solution to a this problem. But really as a pro driver we are behind a wheel for 8 hr a day it can not be that hard. Re the green card, thank you - however the process is the same. i.e. you must get the visa first before you can make the green card application.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Doug, in the U.S. they don't issue work visas for truck driving. Here in the states truck driving is classified by the federal government as "unskilled labor." There is a political reason behind that seemingly demeaning categorization of our profession, but that is what you are missing - the visa you are pursuing does not exist, and that's why no one is willing to sponsor you.

There are other ways to get it done, but it will require your own financial ability and commitment to come here and get yourself established first. You will need a standard driver's license for a minimum of one year and Federal regulations require a three year verifiable work history for a new CDL holder when applying for jobs.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Doug L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Old School. I read your post re: flatbeds, Man I though here in the Western Cape the wind and rain was bad but you pic paints a 1000 more words.

Thank you for your input - not want I wanted to hear but ok I see and understand now the missing link. In fact it makes perfect sense one you think about it from a political view.

Your alternative suggestion I have looked into, and would suit us. However my age in relation to the three years and the amount of money one needs to invest in the States is huge. In truth if I had that kind of money I would not be looking work in the USA.

This leaves only the green card lottery as a avenue, one I have not explored fully.

Thank you for your input and happy trucking.

Doug

Josh M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi just signed up was doing a google search regarding H2b visas and came across this website and just wanted to just add some info. About 12 years ago i actually obtained a H2b visa and was able to work for a US based transport company. They sponsored workers from Australia, England, New Zealand & South Africa basically any English speaking country, the Transport company had to prove they could not hire enough locals to fill the driving positions the Dept of Labour then Petitioned the USCIS for the work visa's seeing how Truck Driving is technically classified as non skilled the H2b was the only visa we could get which is considered to be a temporary unskilled labour however some drivers had been able to remain in the USA for up to 3 years with extensions the only catch is you can't leave the country. To obtain my CDL in the State of Texas i did not have to have a car licence for 12 months i just went in did the computer test got my car licence then went in the next day and sat for my CDL test once i passed that i booked the driving test passed that first go and presto i had my CDL. As far as driving on the other side of the road i had no problem adjusting to driving on the right side of the road. Getting a H2b visa can take quite abit of time plus all the fees involved in the applications, thats why alot of companies despite the driver shortage don't go through with it. Getting a green card can also be time consuming it can take up to 8 years in some cases and cost around $3000 with all the fees.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Terry 's Comment
member avatar

Hello Doug.... you may want to look into the custom harvesters.... they hire seasonal drivers... they will sponsor your work visa.... even help you obtain the CDL... it is long hours .. they pay room and board..... not the best of conditions sometimes... just look up custom harvesters.... good luck....

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Nacho B.'s Comment
member avatar

I know it's not the US, but I THINK Canada may offer visas for long haul trucking.

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