There are basically NINE ways that you can get a visa to live and work in the US:
(1) Marriage (or engagement in anticipation of marriage) to a US citizen.
(2) You have skills that are in short supply in the US e.g. scientific or medical training. A degree is normally a must. Or you have superior specialist skills with at least 12 years experience. (H visas)applications next received on 1st April 2014
(3) You have an Employer who is willing to transfer you - but even the employer has to make a good case for you - so you have to be a manager unless you fall under category (2) above.(L visas)
(4) You may get a Green card in the diversity lottery (UK citizens, except N.Ireland, are not generally eligible unless you, your spouse or parents were born abroad or held a different citizenship.
(5)You own or buy business (does not get you permanent resident status i.e. no green card)You must be a national of a qualifying Treaty countries. The business must have a minimum value of around $150k (more the better) bearing in mind you will need somewhere to live and with any startup business you will need at least 2 years living money as back up. So a figure of $350k would be a nearer minimum (E-2 visas)
(6)You are an "investor" i.e. you have at least US $1m in assets to bring with you. half of that in a few areas. And your background will be investigated to the hilt. (EB-5 visas)
(7)You have a close relative (mother, father, brother, sister and no further) who is an US citizen who would sponsor you, approx time this take 2-12 years?
(8.The R1 visa is available to foreign members of religious denominations, having bona fide non-profit religious organizations in the U.S., for entering the U.S. to carry on the activities of a minister or religious worker as a profession, occupation or vocation
(9)THE UNUSUAL You are in a position to claim refugee status/political asylum. or You get a member of Congress to sponsor a private bill with legislation that applies just to you.
The S visa issued to persons who assist US law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes and terrorist activities such as money laundering and organized crime