View Full Version : A few (US) VISA Questions

06-03-2001, 05:44 PM
I am going to move over to the US next year to work and I have been looking into the whole visa situation. I have looked at numberous site, but I still have a few questions. If anyone could help I would be most grateful.

OK, as far as I can tell there are two type of visa I can apply for, a temporary work permit or an immigrant visa. Which is easier to get and which takes less time?

Is it better to get a job first (is it actually a requirement)? If so, do employers hold the position open while the visa application is processed?

Will hiring an immigration lawyer help

If there is anyone out there who has done this or knows anything about this, any advice would be appreciated. If someone wouldn't mind conversing over e-mail, I would be grateful too.

Thanks in advance for any info.


06-03-2001, 05:57 PM
http://travel.state.gov/links.html might have some answers. follow the link to your country's consulate/embassy and see their requirements.

06-03-2001, 06:13 PM
Long link to DOJ INS (http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/cgi-bin/folioisa.dll/lawbooks.nfo/query=[group+act+!2D+toc!3A]/toc/{t11,16384}/hits_only?)

06-03-2001, 07:22 PM
Rick, what country are you coming from?

06-03-2001, 11:27 PM
I think ruadh actually does something similar to this for a living. You might find a thread in MPSIMS or IMHO and drop a link to this thread asking her to look at your question.

(Of course, if she is actually engaged in providing the services you're seeking, you might want to just ask to make an appointment with her in her day job. You wouldn't want to try to get free services through the SDMB.)

06-04-2001, 06:25 AM
I'm out of the business now, but AFAIK the laws haven't changed significantly in the past 16 months since I left.

Basically, you need to have a job BEFORE you go. It's possible to go on a tourist visa and try to find someone to sponsor you (though the INS frowns severely on this), but you'll still need to leave the country before the visa is applied for. Whether the employer will hold the job open during that period is up to them.

The usual way of obtaining a US visa is through the H1B program, which requires you to have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree or equivalent in a "specialty occupation" (ie., an occupation that you can't do without a bachelor's degree - tautological, I know, but that's the INS for you). Failing that, if you work for a company with a US office and can claim "specialized knowledge" of the company's services, you may be able to transfer to the US on an L1B visa. However, you have to work for the company abroad for at least a year (I think).

The only other real option is coming over on a student visa which allows for "practical training" after graduation. It's not too difficult to switch over to an H1B at that point.

If you haven't got any of these qualifications, I'm afraid you're pretty much SOL.

As for the immigrant visa, you have to be sponsored either by an employer or a qualified family member, so it probably isn't even worth your while investigating at the moment.

If you have got the specialty Bachelor's Degree then online recruitment is probably the way to go. However, I think I remember from our conversation at London Dope that you haven't. If that's the case, I don't really think there's a lot you can do, unfortunately.

06-04-2001, 05:59 PM
After reading the responses (and thanks for all the info, btw) I realise that I did leave out a few important bits of information.

I am 25 and I have a Bachelors degree in Business Studies. At the moment I have just started a new job working in IT for a bank, but before that I was working for the same bank dealing with customers accounts (checking accounts). I would like to move into either area (IT for preference). I will be getting some training at my new job (although I don't know exactly what courses, it will include Windows NT).

I am planning on looking for a job first, before I come over (although I will be visiting and will look for a job at the same time to start at a later date).

Do I need a degree in the field that I am wanting to work in, or will any bachelors do?

Once agains, thanks for any help that you can give. It is a very confusing topic.


06-05-2001, 03:00 AM
The degree has to actually be in the field; as I said, the idea is that the occupation is so specialized that it cannot be performed without the knowledge obtained through a four-year university program. So a business degree won't, in and of itself, get you a job in IT. It may be enough to get you an Accountancy position, but if you want to get into the CS field, you'll probably need a fairly substantial amount of training in that. Your employer will also need to be able to convince the Department of Labor that your business degree is essential to the position. It's not completely outside the realms of possibility, but without an actual CS degree it will certainly be more difficult.