This is a lengthy process so it will be covered in parts. Welcome to Part 1!
As I’m sure you are all aware, there is a large legality that stops everybody and their dog moving over to the States. What I’m talking about is of course a VISA. (I would like to apologise here for the amount of times the word VISA is mentioned! There is no other word for it so it features a lot – you have been warned!!) I would love to say that it is a simple process that takes very little time, but I would be lying! What I can do is tell you all about the steps we followed, which will hopefully help you guys do the same, as painlessly as possible— and at the very least it will prepare you for what to expect!
I wanted to cover this in two separate posts, as mine and my fiancé’s experience with this differs. As his is the VISA that allows us to live in the country, his process was lengthier and more time consuming than mine will be. I have not yet had my meeting at the Embassy as it will need to be in my married name, so that post will follow on after the wedding. So for this post, it is his experience that I will talk about.
Following the initial talks with his company about our move stateside, his legal department set the ball in motion with his application. What I mean by this, is that they began looking into the type of VISA that my fiancé could go over to the States on and looked into what they needed to provide in order for him to go. There are two possible VISAs that they could have applied for:-
- H2 VISA
“The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, or U.S. agent as described in the regulations, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.” (source: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/h-2b-temporary-non-agricultural-workers)
The company that he works for acquired another company based out in San Francisco, meaning that he will simply transfer over to their employment. The problem with the above VISA is that the employer has to give substantial evidence as to why they are hiring a ‘foreign national’ over an American citizen. There are many forums on this topic on pages such as https://www.expat.com/ – we read about the difficulties with this type of VISA as it is a challenge to prove how one person can provide more of a benefit to a company than another.
2. E2 VISA
“An E2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa reserved for foreign entrepreneurs of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. E2 investor visas allows foreign investors to enter and work inside of the United States based on a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise” (source: https://www.immi-usa.com/e2-visa-requirements-for-investors/).
If you peel away the jargon, this type of VISA is effectively for companies that are already established in the USA or are looking to invest a certain amount into the economy by setting up their company in the States. The application process for this requires lots of evidence to prove that the company is bona fide. As his company meets the criteria of investment, he can happily apply for this VISA and in turn effectively travels out on ‘their’ VISA.
His company chose the latter, as it was easier to prove their investments. He then had to begin his application process (steps for how to do this: https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/tourism-visitor/how-to-apply/), which took him a good few hours. Then the interview…
To book the interview, it will cost around £160 but he was able to get one within the next week. Luckily for him, his company had provided a large wad of papers for him to take which covered everything: their investments, tax returns, financial statements, their wage reports and payroll summaries and an extensive list of his job role as well as much more. Amongst all of this, they did forget one crucial part – his CV. Meaning that when he got to the interview and they asked to see it, he panicked and I had to run home from work on my break and send him a copy of it.. The things we do for love ey?! So don’t forget that unless you want to be making it up to your other half for a while!
Once there, he sat in a Cafe opposite the US Embassy and waiting for his appointment. He said that they were charging people to leave their suitcases there – I don’t know whether I’m shocked that they’re making money from these people or saddened that I didn’t think of it first! Anyway… as he had arrived early they scanned his printed off barcode showing them his appointment and he was let in to the waiting room.
After all of the stress and panic, the interview went really well and actually was very short. He was simply asked about his job role and whether he’d been before. As he had been four times in the space of seven months, he was told that it was a good thing he was getting a VISA as they probably wouldn’t have let him back in again.
Following all of this, his VISA was approved. His passport was kept at the embassy and returned to him within 2 weeks, but now it featured a shiny new page.
Now his is done, it just leaves mine! I will be back in February time to cover how mine went.