OK i just wanted to do a quick note on the outline of getting your visa so it is an easy reference post with not too much fluff for people so they get an overview. I am not sure either if there are exactly 10 steps but it sounds like a nice round number so lets start writing and see how many major steps there are.
Step 1. Find An Employer (Visa Sponsor) – without going into too much detail as I will ina later post my favourite sites include craigslist.org, monster.com and linkedin.com for searching
Step 2. Have The Employer Fill Out The Sponsorship Document and Pay The Relavent Filing Fees – I guess technically you could do this on their behalf and pay for it and then have them send it but chances if it is a reputable employer they will do it all probably via their attorneys. For H1B this requires filing to both US Immigration and Department of Labor and for E3 just Department of Labor.
Step 3. Understand Your Dates – For E3 this is relatively simple as the forms can be filed all year around and although their is an annual quota it has never been reached and you can begin employment at any time. As for H1B this is more complicated as there is annual filing date of April 1 and hard quotas as well. Even if you get your approval and your visa from the consulate you cannot begin employment until October 1 that year.
Step 4, Make you Interview – When you have or anticipate to have all your documents both from your employer and the ones you have to prepare yourself along with fees, photos and other proof documents ready then book an interview with your closed US consulate that can process that type of visa. Every country and sometimes city has different wait times, methods of interview, turnaround times, etc. so be prepared
Step 5. Book Your Ticket – Depending on how brave and confident you are, you could have done this earlier on in anticipation of getting your visa but in any case I will put it here. Be prepared at your port of entry into the US especially if you have an E3 visa (as it is largely unheard of even by Immigration staff at the border) to answer potential questions. Don’t worry if you have all in order you will be fine, although it may seem tense depending on the person you get. I have had both awesome and not so good people.
Step 6. Get A Social Security Number – This is essentially your key to living in the US and is vital from everything to opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone, credit cards, signing a lease, potentially getting paid…although with a lot of these things technically it is not required but you have to do a lot of talking to superiors and no what you are talking about (I will discuss this in a later post). You can only do this from within the country and it can take up to 6 weeks for them to send you your card and number but usually it is 2-4 weeks.
Step 7. Start Work!!
Well what do you know I guess it was only 7 steps…and like I said there is more detail and tips to the steps above which I will cover in the future as well as steps in between like finding a place to live, best phone plans, discounts, etc. but this at least is a high level overview of your journey.
Bon Voyage 🙂