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Visa to work in Houston

Visa to work in Houston

Old May 14th 2012, 3:17 pm
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Smile Visa to work in Houston

Hi there- or should I say howdy?

First of all, thanks very much to anyone who helps me out here- I really appreciate it. I have spent hours on visa websites until my eyes bleed!

I am looking to come across and work in Houston. I have had several interviews with various employers who offer to bring me across on a permanent visa- social security number etc.

I am looking to work in the area for 2-3 years minimum, but depending on how it goes I may well consider staying- I have travelled the US before, although admittedly not texas, for 6 months and absolutely love the place.

I am a young professional, 23 years old, and as such would probably look to live in midtown as I hear this is the place to be? Suggestions welcome!

I just have a few questions:

1) What type of visa is it that I will likely be on? I think its an E-1? How long would i have to stay/ what would i have to do to gain nationality/permanent residency? My understanding is that if i leave my job, I have to leave the country as the visa is tied to my employer, whilst I cannot see myself leaving them for at least 2 years, I would be interested to know what other options I have for the future.

2) I have a girlfriend who I would like to come with me. I have been told that whilst my employer can get me a visa, they can only get one for her which would mean she cannot work- basically a no go as she would drive herself, and then me, mad. What options does she have here? Can she come over on a VWP and then job hunt? Or does she have to secure a job first like I have?

2) What does this visa entitle me to? Obviously guessing cannot vote, but can I own/shoot a gun?

Realise I have written an essay here, so sorry for the eye strain, any help you can give me would be amazing.

Thanks
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Old May 14th 2012, 3:49 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
1) What type of visa is it that I will likely be on?
That's entirely up to the US sponsor - but unlikely an E-1. More likely an H-1B - for which you'd need a university degree. Not that an E-1 isn't a possibility though... just not likely.


How long would i have to stay/ what would i have to do to gain nationality/permanent residency?
Again, that's up to the US sponsor. You can't apply for permanent residency without their help... and they may, or may not want to help you. It's entirely up to them.


My understanding is that if i leave my job, I have to leave the country as the visa is tied to my employer, whilst I cannot see myself leaving them for at least 2 years, I would be interested to know what other options I have for the future.
For one... if you find another US sponsor, you can simply transfer!


What options does she have here? Can she come over on a VWP and then job hunt? Or does she have to secure a job first like I have?
She can't derive any immigration benefit from you unless she's married to you. Otherwise, if you have proof that you've lived together, she can get a B-2 co-habiting visa. Either way, she can't work unless she qualifies for her own employment-based visa.


What does this visa entitle me to? Obviously guessing cannot vote, but can I own/shoot a gun?
Only US citizens can vote. Permanent residents (= green card) can do most things. Those on visas... well, that depends on the visa.

Ian
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Old May 14th 2012, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
I am looking to come across and work in Houston. I have had several interviews with various employers who offer to bring me across on a permanent visa- social security number etc.
I'm not sure what the employer means by "permanent visa", you will have to ask the company exactly which work visa they are looking at for you. There are several different work visas, and they all work a different way.

1) What type of visa is it that I will likely be on? I think its an E-1? How long would i have to stay/ what would i have to do to gain nationality/permanent residency? My understanding is that if i leave my job, I have to leave the country as the visa is tied to my employer, whilst I cannot see myself leaving them for at least 2 years, I would be interested to know what other options I have for the future.
All of these questions will have different answers, depending on what visa the company petitions you for, so there's not much we can say until we know that piece of information...and only the company knows what visa they want to get for you...ask them, and report back here.

In general, though, if you want to become a US Permanent Resident, your employer will have to apply for you. Get that in writing, as part of your hiring documents, and have them give you a specific date they will apply for your green card. Without that, the employer can change his mind, or take so long with the decision, that you run out of time.

If you stop working for your sponsoring employer (before they apply for your green card), then you have to leave the USA

2) I have a girlfriend who I would like to come with me. I have been told that whilst my employer can get me a visa, they can only get one for her which would mean she cannot work- basically a no go as she would drive herself, and then me, mad. What options does she have here? Can she come over on a VWP and then job hunt? Or does she have to secure a job first like I have?
The only way your employer can get a dependent visa for her, is if you are married. They cannot do anything for her if she's only your girlfriend.

Yes, she can come for a VWP to job hunt, and see if she qualifies for a work visa based on her own merits. Yes, she would need to secure a job first, in order to get a work visa.

2) What does this visa entitle me to? Obviously guessing cannot vote, but can I own/shoot a gun?
Gun laws are a state thing, not a visa thing. The visa entitles you to live and work in the USA for the sponsoring company. You cannot vote.

Rene
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Old May 14th 2012, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Hi there, and thanks very much for the replies.

My employer has said it is a E-1 or a B-1 (sorry I could not make out thanks to the phone line), obviously before I accept anything I will need everything in writing, but as we are just at interview stage I dont have any documentation yet.

I know that I will be set up with a social security number, bank account, and be able to freely travel the US, if that is any help to you?

Sounds like I need to get them to apply for me to have a green card as part of the job offer. I presume there are costs involved here that they have to pay?

RE my girlfriend, am I right in thinking then that she could come over on a VWP, bring a copy of her CV and actively job hunt with american companies- who would then have to sponser her to 'convert' to a permanent visa?

I am speaking to them tonight, if you need any further info about the visa (or if you have advice as to what questions I should be asking my employer) that would be MUCH appreciated.

Again- thanks so much for your help here, if I do get myself over to Texas I will definitely buy you a beer!
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Old May 14th 2012, 4:54 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
My employer has said it is a E-1 or a B-1 (sorry I could not make out thanks to the phone line),
Doubtful it will be a B-1, since that's not something you need an employee to sponsor you for, and it's not a long-term work visa. It only allows you to come to the USA for business purposes, such as attending a meeting or trade show.

I know that I will be set up with a social security number, bank account, and be able to freely travel the US, if that is any help to you?
No, it's not really. You won't be "set up" with a social security number, you will still have to apply for your own SSN once you arrive in the USA. You also set up your own bank account, at the bank of your choice...the employer does not do that for you. I don't know if they are telling you misinformation, or if you are misunderstanding them.

Sounds like I need to get them to apply for me to have a green card as part of the job offer. I presume there are costs involved here that they have to pay?
Correct.

RE my girlfriend, am I right in thinking then that she could come over on a VWP, bring a copy of her CV and actively job hunt with american companies-
Correct.

who would then have to sponser her to 'convert' to a permanent visa?
No. Not convert. The company would petition, just like they're doing for you, and she would leave the USA to get the appropriate work visa. Again, there's no such thing as a "permanent visa". You need to use actual names of visas, such as E-1, B-1, H1B, etc.

I am speaking to them tonight, if you need any further info about the visa (or if you have advice as to what questions I should be asking my employer) that would be MUCH appreciated.
The most important question to ask them tonight is "what visa will you be petitioning me for?"

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Old May 14th 2012, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
My employer has said it is a E-1 or a B-1 (sorry I could not make out thanks to the phone line)...
There are visa types, and there are visa categories. What I think you might have heard was EB-1. In very simple terms, that's more a category of visa rather than a type of visa (EB-1: employment based -1st preference). Several visas fall into the category of EB-1, but they usually involve some sort of extraordinary ability!


... before I accept anything I will need everything in writing, but as we are just at interview stage I dont have any documentation yet.
The type of visa you get is very important. Some visas make an easy transition to a green card, others are like getting blood from a stone... and the category of visa is also important.


I know that I will be set up with a social security number, bank account, and be able to freely travel the US, if that is any help to you?
All employment-based visas allow this... so no, no help there!


Sounds like I need to get them to apply for me to have a green card as part of the job offer. I presume there are costs involved here that they have to pay?
Yes, and yes. Here's the thing... once you have a green card you no longer need to work for them. Until you get a GC, you're basically tied to them. The practical upshot is that many companies don't try to help because it costs them a lot of money and at the end of things, you get to leave their employ! A GC is great for you... bad for them.


... actively job hunt with american companies- who would then have to sponser her to 'convert' to a permanent visa?
There's no "conversion". The US company would need to petition her for a visa, and she would need to leave the US to have an interview outside the US, get the visa, and then reenter with the visa.


I am speaking to them tonight, if you need any further info about the visa (or if you have advice as to what questions I should be asking my employer) that would be MUCH appreciated.
I agree with Rene... find out which visa!

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Old May 15th 2012, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Hi there,

again thanks for all the replies.

I have been told I will be over on an E-2 visa...

looks like I was completely wrong with what I heard the first time!

From what I can see on the internet this seems to involve some sort of investment... which is not what I would be doing.

I will be working as a senior sales consultant for a large international company- but not one I am working for currently.

Just trying to work out if this is a 'good' visa, and if it allows me to start the process for a green card.

I am looking at a basic of 55-60 thousand dollars, with commission on what i earn on top of this, do you think this basic salary is enough to give me a comfortable life in midtown/downtown/galleria?

I am looking at renting an apartment with a pool and a gym, and renting a car (which seems to be between 2 and 400 dollars a month?).

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old May 15th 2012, 4:08 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
Hi there,

again thanks for all the replies.

I have been told I will be over on an E-2 visa...

looks like I was completely wrong with what I heard the first time!

From what I can see on the internet this seems to involve some sort of investment... which is not what I would be doing.

I will be working as a senior sales consultant for a large international company- but not one I am working for currently.

Just trying to work out if this is a 'good' visa, and if it allows me to start the process for a green card.

I am looking at a basic of 55-60 thousand dollars, with commission on what i earn on top of this, do you think this basic salary is enough to give me a comfortable life in midtown/downtown/galleria?

I am looking at renting an apartment with a pool and a gym, and renting a car (which seems to be between 2 and 400 dollars a month?).

Any help would be much appreciated!
E2 Employee.

It does have the advantage of indefinite renewal as long as you carry on working for them.

It is not dual intent however.
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Old May 15th 2012, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
Just trying to work out if this is a 'good' visa, and if it allows me to start the process for a green card.
I do not believe the E-2 visa leads to a green card, no.

Rene
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Old May 15th 2012, 4:30 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Renting in Houston is very expensive. See har.com for rental prices.
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Old May 15th 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Firstly, I wouldn't go down the Car Rental route - I did it myself and 200-400 is not realistic. I was paying between 600-900 per month and that was for a tiny little car.
Secondly, renting is not cheap - apartments are fairly expensive - but they do include taxes etc... I was paying $920/m for a 1-bed 800sq ft apartment in Katy (about 30miles outside of downtown).

If I was you, I'd ask your employer about vehicle leasing plans - if they offer any assistance or even car rentals - but try to get them to help with it.
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Old May 15th 2012, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
I am looking at a basic of 55-60 thousand dollars, with commission on what i earn on top of this, do you think this basic salary is enough to give me a comfortable life in midtown/downtown/galleria?
That would all depend on your lifestyle. If you were the type to not eat out often, you could save loads, if you're the sort to do hookers and blow, less so. Anywhere in between and you'd be anywhere between.

Would depend on what the health insurance situation would be like too I suppose.
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Old May 15th 2012, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
if you're the sort to do hookers and blow, less so
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Old May 15th 2012, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

Hello and welcome to BE.

Just a cautionary note. There are plenty of scam artists who are willing to take advantage of someone looking to work in the US, some of them have fancy web sites. You should be extremely wary of any 'employer' asking for any kind of fee, including fees purporting to pay for visas.
I am not saying the companies you have dealt with so far are fraudulent, I know nothing about them. I am just highlighting some of the darker areas you may have to traverse.

Good luck on your quest.


Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
..I have spent hours on visa websites until my eyes bleed!...
Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
...I have had several interviews with various employers who offer to bring me across on a permanent visa- social security number etc...
Originally Posted by DoubleDD View Post
....I have been told I will be over on an E-2 visa...
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Old May 15th 2012, 9:00 pm
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Default Re: Visa to work in Houston

It depends on what you call comfortable? When I lived downtown I was on $90k + bonus. I did have money to do what I wanted but I also had a company car and fully paid medical which meant neither of these were coming out of my paycheck (and these are both fairly hefty expenses). I think $55-60k is on the low side to afford downtown prices tbh.

As pointed out HAR.com is a good place to look for rentals.

You'll have no credit here in the US so be prepared to pay for a lot of things in cash or with hefty deposits.

$2-400/month is not realistic force rental. A midsize will cost you $1k+/month.
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