The USA is the worlds foremost economic and military power, with global interests and an unmatched global reach.
America’s gross domestic product accounts for close to a quarter of the world total, and its military budget is reckoned to be almost as much as the rest of the worlds defense spending put together.
The country is also a major source of entertainment: American TV, Hollywood films, jazz, blues, rock and rap music are primary ingredients in global popular culture.
The United States originated in a revolution which separated it from the British Crown. The constitution, drafted in 1787, established a federal system with a division of powers which has remained unchanged in form since its inception.
Generally, settlers arrived in ships such as this replica of the Dutch vessel Half Moon. People fr all over the globe still try to make the US their home
The US contains a highly diverse population, the product of numerous and sustained waves of immigration. Ethnic and racial diversity – the “melting pot” – is celebrated as a core element of the American ideology.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed racial and other discrimination, but the race continues to be a live issue.
The election of Barack Obama as the country’s first African-American president in November 2008 marked a defining moment in the country’s chequered history of race relations.
At a glance
Politics: Democrat Barack Obama, America’s first black president, was re-elected in November 2012
Economy: The US is the worlds leading industrial power. Its recovery from the 2008 economic crisis has been sluggish
International: The US has a leading role on the world stage, militarily and diplomatically.
Decline of the natives
The original people of North America, who made up several distinct groups of native Americans, went into decline with the arrival of settlers and now constitute a minority of the population.
The early settlers came predominantly from the British Isles. Large numbers of black Africans were taken as slaves to work the plantations of the Americas, while millions of Europeans in search of political freedom and economic opportunity constituted a third stage of immigration.
US flexes its military muscle throughout the world; unconventional forces are probably its most challenging adversaries
Today, Asians from the Pacific rim and Hispanics from the southern Americas are among those seeking what their predecessors wanted – the promise of prosperity and freedom which remains one of the defining hallmarks of “the American dream”.
Despite relative prosperity in recent years, the gap between rich and poor remains a major challenge. More than 30 million Americans live below the official poverty line, with a disproportionate percentage of these being African-Americans and Hispanics.
Furthermore, the global financial crisis of 2008 has left the US facing its most challenging set of economic circumstances since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, had a momentous impact as the country continued to re-define its role as the worlds only superpower.
Millions of Americans live in poverty
In October 2001 the US led a military campaign in Afghanistan that unseated the Taliban regime. However, the man who ordered the 9/11 attacks, Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, survived until 2011, when killed in a US special forces operation in Pakistan.
In March 2003 Washington initiated military action in Iraq which led to the toppling of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
US foreign policy has often mixed the idealism of its “mission” to spread democracy with the pursuit of national self-interest.
Given Americas leading role on the international stage, its foreign policy aims and actions are likely to remain the subject of heated debate and criticism, as well as praise.
New Yorks Manhattan is a global commercial and cultural center
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Temporary worker visas are for persons who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time, and are not considered permanent or indefinite. Each of these visas requires the prospective employer to first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition is required to apply for a work visa.
Temporary worker visa categories
H-1B: Visa Person in Specialty Occupation
To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Includes fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and government-to-government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense.
H-1B1: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional – Chile,Singapore
To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a post-secondary degree involving at least four years of study in the field of specialization. (Note: This is not a petition-based visa. For application procedures, please refer to the website for the U.S. Embassy in Chile or the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.)
H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Worker
For temporary or seasonal agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States interest.
H-2B: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker
For temporary or seasonal non- agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States interest.
H-3: Trainee or Special Education visitor
To receive training, other than graduate medical or academic, that is not available in the trainee’s home country or practical training programs in the education of children with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.
To work at a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the current employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. Individual must have been employed by the same employer abroad continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years.
O: Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
For persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
P-1: Individual or Team Athlete, or Member of an Entertainment Group
To perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete or as a member of an entertainment group. Requires an internationally recognized level of sustained performance. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
P-2: Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group)
For performance under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the United States and an organization in another country. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
P-3: Artist or Entertainer (Individual or Group)
To perform, teach or coach under a program that is culturally unique or a traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
Q-1: Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program
For practical training and employment and for sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of your home country through participation in an international cultural exchange program.