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Greenhandshake is a trusted community marketplace for new US arrivals to connect, find local help of the same ethnic group, offering us to live smarter.

Obtaining a Driver License in the US

skip-long-dmv-line-renew-your-drivers-license-aaa-office-instead-no-membership-required.w654You can drive a motor vehicle in the United States provided you carry a driver’s license from your home country and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).

It is necessary to secure an IDP in your home country before going to the US since the US Government does not issue this license to non-residents.

Definition of International Driver’s Permit

The IDP is proof that you have a valid driver’s license in your own country. It is translated into 12 languages so police and other law-enforcement authorities from other countries can understand the license’s contents. The IDP is a special license with provisions on road safety authorized by the United Nations conventions and signed by 180 countries.

How to Obtain an IDP?

The process varies and depends on the government that issues the license. Contact the Department of Transportation or Department of State for inquiries. See to it that any agency that you have approached for assistance is legitimate. Verify this with any government agency.

You will be required to fill out an official form and submit two passport-size photos. Applicants must be 18 years of age and possess a valid local driver’s license. There is a minimal fee but driving tests are not necessary.

The IDP cannot be post-dated, extended, or renewed. It may be valid only for one year from the date of issuance. Your driver’s license must not expire during that period. The unexpired IDP and driver’s license are requirements for driving in the US.

Never procure IDPs online.

Online services are not legitimate and unacceptable in the US. Check with the local license provider for guidelines.


US Driver’s License

It is imperative to secure a US driver’s license if you do not have a local driver’s license or have been staying in the US for more than one year.

Driving Schools

In some states, driving schools can assist students in getting the driver license. However, they must complete the written test for learner’s permit and practice in driving skills.  Students do not need to take the driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if they undergo this process.

Learner’s Permit

The initial step in securing a US driver’s license is to apply for a learner’s permit. This will allow you to practice driving under the supervision of a licensed driver. The objective here is to learn road rules sufficiently and pass tests for approval of your driver’s license. The DMV provides information about obtaining and using a learner’s permit. It has an expiration date. You need to secure a permanent license before this temporary permit expires. You are compelled to go through the steps from the beginning if the permit expires.

Permanent Driver’s License

Applying for a permanent driver’s license requires applicants to a driving test, written knowledge examination and vision test. Make sure to submit all required documents. Bring your own car with valid registration and insurance during the driving test. The DMV website explains the appointment process and needed set of papers.

Sue J Liu – Chief of Marketing

Learn more about Greenhandshake

Nhip Cau Dau Tu – Vietnamese Business Magazine emphasizes the high potential tech start-up of Greenhandshake to immigrant communities in US

Greenhandshake connects immigrant communities in the US

“Each year more than 1 million immigrants come to America. But now, Greenhandshake is the first place that listens and connects the immigrants to the people they need”, Son Nguyen said.

Bloomberg News is introducing a new utility for immigrants. is the technology start-up model that helps to connect immigrant communities who are living in the US with immigrants from other countries all over the world. Through Greenhandshake, newcomers can ask fellow countrymen to support first difficulties such as visa procedures, consulting for choosing schools for children or even airport transportation. Based on a sharing economic model, Greenhandshake will charge a fee for each service. However, the Greenhandshake’s fee is lower than other consulting companies because it is done via auction.

Operating in December 2014, Greenhandshake has already gathered more than 1,000 Vietnamese national residents from 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Although Greenhandshake has never been broadcast outside of the US, this model always receives over 10 requests from new immigrants and students every month. According to Son Hoang Nguyen, Founder of Greenhandshake, his start-up has absolutely believed in its potential development in the long term. “Each year more than 1 million immigrants come to America. But now, Greenhandshake is the first place that listens and connects the immigrants to the people they need”, Son Nguyen said.

Only immigrants can truly understand each other

Greenhandshake was established from Son Nguyen’s experiences on the immigrating route to America. In 2009, Son Nguyen came to America alone for his Master’s degree and was determined to set up a business here. At that time, Son Nguyen took all means possible to prepare for the long trip. As many other students, he learned about the United States through three channels: internet forums, Facebook and a consulting company. On forums and Facebook, any questions often got a lot of answers, but were hardly authentic source. “I was confused with gloomy ​​information on Facebook and forums, so finally I had to take a lot of money looking for the consulting company”, Son Nguyen remembered.

According to Son Nguyen, because the consultants hadn’t had experience in overseas study and were concerned only with documents, they hardly provided useful information despite charging a lot of money. Due to many unplanned problems arising, it took a while to adjust to his new life when he moved to California. In order to immigrate to the US, immigrants were limited by many barriers, such as lack of information for a job, sponsors or asking for visa issuance.

“It’s strange that when I said about immigrant’s difficulties, Americans are always surprised. But they encouraged me to do something to help another one”, Son Nguyen remembered.

Therefore, Son invested $50,000 to build Greenhandshake according to sharing economic model in 2014. Different from traditional consulting channels, this start-up takes the part of the connector who classifies and links the newcomers with fellow countryman in the US. Besides being able to consult through the Internet, immigrant communities have opportunities to connect directly with others through a welcome-pick up, tour guide, tutor, etc.

Creative model

Greenhandshake operates similar to a task exchange. In the spirit of community, the group should work (the side who wants the help) will always be higher than the group posted on (the side who needs the help). Therefore, during the first year of operation, Son Nguyen only focused on immigrants who were willing to help their communities.

Eighty percent of the 1,000 current members of Greenhandshake are students at many universities in the US. With 1,000 current members, Son expects to support around 35-40% of requests that are posted on Greenhandshake in the coming months.

Greenhandshake applies a bid format, but competition will not be eliminated entirely. “Based on the proposed price by the buyer, members will bid. But they will not see each other’s prices to override the price down,” Son Nguyen said.

According to him, the low price comes with poor service. However, the members freely proposed the price that they think suitable with quality services provided.

For example, if the service is an airport pickup, the service supplier will get three different prices from the members of Greenhandshake, depending on the means of transportation (bus, car or car comes with the consult for choosing school). After selecting the suitable price, the buyer will be paid through a bank transfer or PayPal. Only when the work is completed and the buyer’s satisfaction is confirmed, will this amount be transferred from Greenhandshake to its recipients. If not, the buyer will be reimbursed 100% of the money. Greenhandshake has just completed the upgrade of a Chinese version; it also intends to boost services, and focuses on the Vietnam, China and Taiwan markets.

In response to questions that Greenhandshake will take profits from 20% retention fees on each completed service, Son Nguyen hesitated, “I just think that taking a 20% fee ​​is enough for maintaining the system, not including profit.” However, he smiled and pointed to the turquoise logo of his start-up. “Two hands grabbed each other in a heart that was the mission I founded Greenhandshake. Lack of money does not kill the model, but this start-up will die without the big heart of the immigrant communities to help each other.”

Doan Hoa – Reporter of

(Translated by Thanh Bui)


Finding Sponsors for H1B Visa

Business concept image of a businessman clicking Sponsoring button on virtual screen over blue background


Are you planning to apply for the H1B visa? The USCIS has started accepting petitions for the H1B Visa since April 1 every year. Here are the possible questions that applicants may have:

* How do students look for sponsors?

* How can individuals with H4 visa in the US find sponsors?

* How can individuals with L1 Visa and move to H1B Visa?

* How to obtain a complete list of companies that sponsor H1B Visa?

* How to avoid fake enterprises claiming to sponsor H1B visa?


Multiple options for possible sponsorship

There are different ways of finding H1B Visa sponsors?

* Databases of H1B  firms that sponsor visas

* Internship that leads to acquiring H1B Visa Sponsorship

* Consulting Companies (Be careful since this may be fraud)

* H1B Sponsorship through universities in the US


Sponsors Database

This is a very direct/hit and miss method of finding H1B Visa sponsors. The US Department of Labor publishes Labor Condition Application (LCA) information every quarter including the list of sponsors. You need to review the website of the department and Foreign Labor Certification Data Center. However, the information is in MS Access format or large text files which are difficult to read. 

There are some websites like My Visa Jobs, Visa Square, H1base that use said Database and information in a more user-friendly format. It contains contact information of corporations that have sponsored H1B visas. You can contact these companies directly. 

Check some websites like:


IT Companies

These companies recruit international students and professionals for possible work in the USA. Said institutions sponsor visas for professionals with experience in China, India, Vietnam… or recruit talent in the US.  The objective is to make contacts and determine requirements and obtain sponsorship.  They always look for students and professionals with experience in preferred fields. The salaries may not be very high but you will definitely get the sponsorship. 


If you are in the final semester of your MS or MBA, one alternative is to search for internship or co-op. You can use the labor department’s database for the list of authentic companies.  It is important to be careful before making a final decision for internship. This is not a problem in big American cities where there are startup communities and many foreign students.

Consulting Companies

Consulting firms used to be the main sources of sponsors for H1B Visa sponsorship before modifications were made to the policies. This came about in 2011. Unfortunately, some companies abused the H1B Program which prodded the USCIS to introduce numerous changes. These were meant to prevent cases of fraud. In fact, many fraudulent H1B companies were prohibited from sponsoring H1B Visas. The labor department says you should not pay any fee. The point is to be cautious and conduct due diligence before committing to any consulting firms. Seek the assistance of knowledgeable colleagues to know more about these companies.

H1B Sponsorship (American Universities)

Many academic institutions sponsor these visas for international students based on academic qualifications or experiences.  You will not be included in the H1B Visa cap with visa sponsorship.  However, you are not allowed to transfer your H1B visa to other companies. It may only be transferred to a university/college or research institution.  

Son Hoang Nguyen – CEO/ Founder

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OPT and CPT Concerns


Things to do and avoid for OPT and CPT Employment (F-1 Student Visas)

The holder of this visa can possibly receive the so-called Request for Evidence (RFE) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most of the time, this has something to do with employment for time used up in Optional Practical Training (OPT). This may also have something to do with Curricular Practical Training (CPT). There are some tips just to ensure that you are maintaining your F-1 student visa status properly. You also need to prove this.

What are the things to do?

Be careful of schools offering Curricular Practical Training before you have even been enrolled full time for one school year. However, there is always an exception to the rule. In case the CPT is an essential or necessary component of the student degree program, immediate participation is called for. If you opt for participation in CPT prior to a full year of academic studies, you should be prepared to explain everything. Likewise, prove its necessity as well as the need for immediate participation.

* It is essential to maintain documentation of all jobs worked during CPT and/or OPT. File all letters of offer, employment verification, salary statements, information of employee benefits, and other important papers. Keep a record of your job title, duration of contract, contact details for supervisors, and accurate description of tasks and duties. You must describe the relation of each job to your course program.

* See to it that you do not go beyond three months of unemployment for initial OPT or 120 days for those who secure a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) extension.

* All students covered by this must report to the college or university within 10 days of a change in jobs or office address.

* File your STEM extension application at least 90 days before the OPT expires. This is the requirement if you are eligible.

* Make sure to render service for a minimum of 20 hours weekly. This is the case for an E-Verify employer with paid position that is related directly to the STEM degree for as long as you are on STEM extension.


What are the things to avoid?

* Do not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment or 120 days for those with STEM extension.

* Do not apply for or work in a position which is not related to your program.

* Do not work for any employer without giving formal notice to your school.

* Do not work for employers that are NOT E-Verified during your STEM extension.

Abide by these guidelines. These can help prove that you preserved your F-1 student visa status. The policies of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are very stringent. In the case of overseas students, it is imperative for them to comply with requirements and documentation to stay away from more serious issues.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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