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    1. #1

      America - Advice and Suggestions

      Hi all, i'm new to this forum and not quite sure how things work and if this is even in the right place, but here goes....

      I've been in a long distance relationship with my californian girlfriend for 3 years now and i would really like to move to america early next year. we are both currently looking at ways to make this happen and i have a few questions for you people and i would be interested to know what you think and also about your own personal experiences of moving/living in america.

      Ideally i would like to do everything above board and get some sort of work sponsorship visa for 18 months to test the water etc (i think this is a J1 visa? i maybe wrong though). i work in the building trade as a dry-liner (dry-waller in america?) which i am happy with and would like to continue with although i guess i do have transferable skills for similar sort of handwork. at the moment i have been sending prospective emails to contacts of my girlfriend, however she is from san francisco and the construction industry seems to be in somewhat of a lull there at the moment and there doesn't seem to be much work for the people already there, never-mind someone who also requires sponsorship as well. could anyone give me a better picture of how things are in america as a whole at the moment with regards to the economic recovery and more specifically if anyone works or knows people working in the construction trade who could give me a bit more detailed knowledge, and maybe point me in the right direction to look etc. and does anyone know the criteria for accepting skilled workers into america, whats required from them, how they must prove their skills etc etc...or is it just down to the fact that a company is sponsoring you?

      another option is just flying into new york, looking for casual work and then hopefully in time get work sponsorship or married a little further down the line. this is not as appealing for me due to a few reasons. in autumn 2008 i naively followed a similar plan and being blindly in love flew to new york with just my backpack and thought everything would just magically work itself out, unfortunately it didn't, the recession was bottoming out at this time and work was not to be found anywhere, i ran out of cash and had to return home after my 3 month visa expired with my tail between my legs. i am also aware of the legal implications of working black and staying beyond my the expiration date of my 3 month visa. however living in a world that is so opposed to international love and relationships and one that makes it extremely difficult for 2 people in love to be together, sometimes you gotta put yourselves out there and take these risks. it also seems a lot of people i came into contact with in nyc especially the ex-pats were living and working under the radar or at least started off that way. although i'm not wholly advocating breaking the law i would be interested to hear peoples thoughts on this and anyone thats followed a similar route into america. i'm also led to believe things are better in nyc now and the economy is starting to rise again now, can anyone give me an idea of things currently are in nyc in general and also more specifically how the construction trade is over there.

      ideally we would like to live in new york or california, although we are flexible, my girlfriend has a good degree and should be able to pick work up pretty much wherever we go in america. its all down to me really, where there is work for me and where i can hopefully get sponsorship and a visa. so if anyone can give me any ideas for work, sponsorship, and living etc i would really appreciate it.

      Thanks for looking.....

    2. Moneycorp - Commercial foreign exchange since 1979
    3. #2
      Hi there Paul, and welcome to the message boards :)

      Seems like you have quite a few questions, and need a little bit of feedback?

      As someone that lives in the US permanently, I'll try and help you out a bit here.

      First and foremost, you say you have been in a relationship with your girl for 3 years? The easy way for you to live here legally is to apply for a K-1 fiance visa, get the visa, and then come over here and get married to her within 90 days. The route to your green card (lawful permanent residence) is going to be easier this way than any other, considering your circumstances and based on the information you provided.

      Bottom line, you really aren't going to be able to get a visa to work and "test the waters", as you say. Keeping things above board are your only hope of staying here long term. If you decide to fly under the radar, and overstay your I-94, you'll either eventually get caught and be deported with no chance of readmission to the country, or you will be reduced to earning minimum wage all the time you're here.. so that if or when you finally want to leave the country to visit relatives back home, you'll be found out at your point of departure and then comes a 10 year ban from re-entry to the USA.
      Bottom line- Don't be tempted go down that road unless you want to end up as a poor illegal immigrant that has nothing.

      Forget the idea that you can get "casual work" and then "eventually" be able to get married and stay here legally. If you've overstayed a visa by 180 days beforehand, you won't be allowed to stay in the US just because you marry your US girlfriend, and you may end up banned from entering the country (not a good situation). If the USCIS find out that you've been working casually, then it will be even worse for you.

      Construction is flat here at the moment. I know plenty of people that worked in construction.. see the key word there? Worked. As in the past tense. There are very few jobs around right now, not just for construction workers, but for anyone. It's not the land of milk and honey, and employment is hard to come by for US citizens, let alone people from outside the US. There are also plenty of residents such as Mexicans that make a living in cosntruction and don't get paid too much.. you won't be able to undercut them and make much to live on.
      An employer can't just apply for a sponsorship visa (that costs money for them too) for you, they also have to show why you are the one they need, and why it can't be a US citizen. In the terms of the USCIS, this is only going to be a possibility if "there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, and the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed". So the ida of being allowed in on an employment sponsored visa as a dry liner is pretty well a non starter, to be honest.
      A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria and be sponsored either by a private sector or government program. Dry lining won't fit the bill on this.

      The world is not "so opposed to international love and relationships and one that makes it extremely difficult for 2 people in love to be together", in fact far from it. All you have to so, is do things in the legal manner and you'll be fine.

      If you really want to live here, or you want to get a feel for it, apply for a B-2, come over for up to 180 days and have a look around the place and see what you think. You may be able to get some contacts that wil help. The B-2 does not allow you to work though.
      In all honesty, your easiest solution to permanent residence and working here is marriage to your girlfriend. Don't be tempted to do it in anything less than the legal way though, or you'll find that the USCIS will become very difficult, and it'll cost you both a lot of time, hardship and problems. Consider using either a K-1 or CR-1 if you're considering moving here through that route, both have their pros and cons.

      Try this link too

      All the best
      Last edited by purple; 06-07-2010 at 01:01 PM.

    4. #3
      thanks for the prompt response, and the depth of detail.

      although marriage is the most convenient and hassle free option with regards to obtaining the necessary papers to live and work in america with my girlfriend, it also comes with a multitude of other commitment and responsibilities which at the present moment i don't think we are quite ready for yet. we'd like to live in the same place together for a longer period than 3 months, which is why a 1-2 year working visa would work for us initially, before taking on such a commitment.

      after reading your response it pretty much sums up what i have been hearing from other people, its neigh on impossible to get a work visa without exceptional skills, thanks for the honesty. i was unaware that a potential employee would also have costs to cover when sponsoring me, another barrier i guess.

      thanks for the info on construction work, although i am keen to know of any regional variations, which i guess in a country the size of america is quite possible? however i am in germany at the moment as things are so slow in england, and i didn't really expect america to be much better, but following the news america is apparently on the road to recovery (whatever that means these days?).

      it was interesting to hear about the B2 visa which i was unaware of. what extra criteria must be met to obtain a 6 month tourist visa as oppose to the normal 3 month?

      and another point you made about overstaying your welcome by over 180 days [I]after[I] your visa has expired will lead to you getting a ban from entering the country. does that mean there's more room for maneuver if you only stay 150 days over the expiration of your visa? because on top of a 6 month B2 visa it is quite a substantial amount of time.

    5. #4
      Sure, no problem, I'm always glad to help if I can.

      I can understand you not wanting to go the marriage visa route if you aren't ready for marriage, and for wanting to live in the same place together for a longer period than 3 months, makes sense.
      If you need a 1-2 year visa that will allow you to work, then maybe you should think of something that will allow you to do that outside of the USA?

      It's not just the costs of covering a visa, but the responsibility that goes with it, most employers aren't going to bother with all the hassle of it when there is no shortage of skilled labour here in the US that is looking for work right now.

      Regional variations? Good question actually, and obviously there will be some variation from place to place. Unfortunately even so, it's not boom time in construction across the USA right now because jobs in that sector have been the hardest hit, and the percentage of the population employed in it is in fact relative to the size of the country and it's population. Whereas the UK is densely populated, the US has literally thousands of square miles that are not populated at all, and never will be. Most people live around a metro area, because of work. Not only that but Americans are a transient nation, so the skilled labour that is looking for work here is prepared to move to another state to get it, even if you could get a visa to allow you to work in construction, which honestly isn't at all likely, unless you have a BSC that you didn't mention ;) you'd find that work is no easier to get here than it is in the UK.

      The US isn't much better than the UK (which itself has faster signs of growth than here) and regarding "following the news america is apparently on the road to recovery", it's not as great that it means that there's suddenly employment everywhere for everyone. It's pretty dire to be honest, with the worst unemployment figures for years.
      Here's a link to the US Dept. of Labor, which gives unemployment stats from state to state- remember that these are people that are registered as unemployed and does not take into account the illegal immigrants or the people that are not eligible to register Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary You'll see that it doesn't make encouraging reading.

      The B-2 Visa is a non immigrant visa, the 3 month thing you mention isn't actually a visa at all, but VWP - Visa Waiver Programme. It's up to the officer at your POE whether he grants you access to the country on a VWP too.

      Overstaying isn't to be recommended at all, unless you want to cost yourself a lot of money and go on the list with the USCIS. Much easier to apply for an extension to the B-2 well before that happens. If you had doubts about getting an extension while you were here it really would be best to get advice from an immigration lawyer here in the US, and the same would apply if you had overstayed your visa. That might help you to avoid deportation from the country and the other repercussions that might come with it. It's lilely that if you were planning to overstay your visa to find a job and found an employer to sponsor you during your overstay, in the end you would still almost certainly be deported.
      If you overstay but not more than 180 days you must leave the US but you can apply for a visa to return immediately. Apparently there are a few exceptions but they are found in only a small number of extreme situations, and there is also no guarantee that another Visa would be granted. It's generally reckoned that you need to be out of the country for the same amount as you were here, before you apply to come back again - so, here for 180 days, then out for 180 days. Anything less than this and realistically you'll be flagged up as suspicious, so applying as soon as you came back to the UK probably wouldn't work.

      If you overstay your visa for more than 180 days then usually you automatically face the prospect of removal proceedings to be deported. That's not good! If you overstay for more than 180 days but less than one year then you will be inadmissible to the US for three years beyond that time, overstaying for one year or greater and you'll be inadmissible for re-entry to the US for ten years.

      The best bet is just to enter the country, stay for your allowed number of days on your visa and leave. If you want to extend the visa and your stay, start those proceedings with plenty of time to complete the process before your authorized stay expires, and if necessary get advice from an immigration lawyer.

      Last edited by purple; 05-07-2010 at 10:43 PM.

    6. #5
      thanks again, a lot to digest there and plenty to think about.

    7. #6
      No problem. Yes, plenty to think about, but hopefully you'll be able to work something out that will be a solution to your situation as it is.

      There's plenty to digest in the visa categories of the US. I'm not an immigration lawyer or an expert on it, and that's why I can only point you in the general direction that might help with what you're asking.

      Hopefully you will keep posting, and hopefully you'll get more feedback from some of the other members on here too. I'm not usually the only one that responds, but just the first to chip in on this thread.

      Cheers for now.

    8. #7

      Aldo is a Dil
      Join Date
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      thearmchairdetective is on a distinguished road
      Good luck to you and welcome to the forum