Random Question

Here’s a random question for my readers concerning something which might become very important or perhaps not at all.

How easy is it for a Brit to get a US residency permit? Presumably the best way is to get a job with a US company willing to sponsor you, but how likely is that in the DC or north Virginia area? Is this something they generally do, or they avoid? Bearing in mind I’m a project manager/general manager with an engineering background. Anyone know?

Serious answers here, please folks. I know I could switch my name to something ethnic and swim the Rio Grande, but I’m looking at something more robust. And more studying is out of the question.


21 thoughts on “Random Question

  1. So there’s a special person there. In DC Metro though, you’ve found a cis hetero with natural hair colour (sorry, color), isn’t an Occasional-Cortex fan, and who doesn’t hate all men?

  2. One of my guys has just transferred there this year. If the company you are working for has a US presence and you have a skillset that is needed then you can get transferred. There are hoops to go through but it is possible.

    If you are on your own it is a lot more difficult. Lots more hoops to go through to prove you are the only one to do the roll and you are also tied for some time to that role.

  3. On your own as a European its extremely difficult. I have sisters etc living there and I’ve owned a home in Ca for years now and if I decided to go full time the only route would be eb5 visa costing with fees $600k plus.

  4. This used to be so common in academia that we called it the BTA (Been To America), one of the most important qualifications you can have if you want to climb that greasy pole. Have they made it significantly harder, or are the rules more relaxed for shorter-term, no more than a few years, stays?

  5. The ease depends on what kind of visa you would be applying for and that depends strongly on the nationality of your employer and how long you have been employed there. If you don’t currently have an employer/someone offering you a job you won’t get a visa unless you are special (sportsman, artist …)

    Assuming a basic office job (so not a sportsman, artist or millionaire) your choices are almost certainly limited to: H1B, L1 or B1/B2. Each one of these requires a lot of paperwork that takes time to file and effectively requires someone to pay a US immigration lawyer to make sure the paperwork is filed correctly and that certain required actions take place when they need to. That lawyer will give you far better advice than I can since its hs or her job, I’ve just suffered the process of getting a visa.

    What follows is my understanding. All the standard disclaimers about not being a lawyer etc. apply

    H1B applies when your employer is a US company. There’s a cap that gets hit every year about a week after the year starts so, without some luck or knowing the right bureaucrat you will be waiting at least a year and hoping to get in the following one. Since entries are processed starting in April for an approval in October if your (would-be) employer starts the application now for next April then at best you’ll get in from Oct 2020 and more likely Oct 2021 or 2022

    L1 applies if your employer is not a US entity but wants you to work in their US subsidiary/ work fro them being paid in the US. I believe there is less demand for this but my understanding is that you need to have been employed by your employer for at least a year (and longer is better) and that even if you hit all the right notes in the application it still takes 6 months from first applying to be allowed to enter (and some additional hoops need to be done prior t the application being submitted)

    B1B2 allows you (if granted correctly) unlimited reentries ad unlimited stay but you are not a US resident. This works when your employer is a non US entity and is paying your salary abroad. It’s basically the same as wat you’d get as in the Visa Waiver program except that you don’t have to leave the country every 120? days. Note that B1B2 can work fine if you are employed by the foreign subsidary of a US corp but without a bit of shell company ju-jitsu doesn’t work if you are expecting to be paid in the US no matter the nationality of your employer.

    A B1B2 makes it hard to do things like open US bank accounts but it’ doesn’t suffer the same caps as other once. You may have a limit of exactly how many days in a calendar you you can remain in the US but I don’t recall what thet limit is.

  6. US Immigration is the kind of screwed up mess that is such a delight to politicians and lawyers. Legal immigration is difficult and expensive; illegal entry (by certain kinds of people) is protected by politicians. (If you are an educated white heterosexual male with useful skills, you are out of luck).

    If a person has family members in the US, family reunification visas are worth checking. Otherwise, as you recognize, the path goes through finding a job first and then getting the employer to handle the paperwork — which takes time. Simplest way is probably to work for a US company internationally, and then get transferred to the US under an L1 visa, and later apply for Permanent Residency.

    Because the system is messed up, lots of people have simply overstayed tourist visas and illegally found low-level jobs. That probably would not work for a high level project manager type of job.

  7. Weirdly, a sure fire method is to be a Basque shepherd. That might not be a route available to you….

  8. francisT pretty much has it. A few further points:
    For the H1B the employer has to show they couldn’t find a qualified US citizen willing to work at the salary offered. (That’s why we have all the software developers from the sub-continent.) It must be a graduate-level position and there is an annual cap. If the company doesn’t already do this and know how to work the system they’re unlikely to get it approved.

    The L1 intra-company transfer allows a U.S. or foreign company to bring an employee as a manager or specialist provided they’ve been employed for at least a year.

    The E-visas require you to invest a minimum and then employ a minimum number of people. A million dollars and 10 people if memory serves.

    The family reunification visas are not capped and are immediate for spouses and children, (the process still takes a year) but there’s an annual cap and waiting list for more distant (parents and siblings) relatives. I think it’s about 10 years for siblings of green card holders.

    Full disclosure: when my boss heard I was in a relationship with one of the ladies in the SF office, he did offer to arrange an L1 visa for me. That fell through when the company was taken over and he was laid off. I eventually came over on a K1 fiance visa and married the lady.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Gavin, I have sisters in America and if I decided to go the siblings route the wait for an average English person is 10-12 years and it complicates holiday visits, digging out my budgie smugglers and diving into the rio looks a better bet.

  10. Timbotoo on July 9, 2019 at 12:39 am said:
    Is the green card lottery open to UK citizens?

    Yes. Or at least it was a decade or two ago because a friend of mine got his green card that way. However IITC you need to already have a US visa of some sort first

  11. I’ve helped many of my clients deal with the process of having a foreigner get their visas here in NYC. FrancisT and Bloke in California pretty much sum up the finer points.

    The process does take time, and requires a candidate with a skillset an employer has not been able to get on the open market here in the US. Having said that, I’ve seen rather mediocre talent get their visas, regardless of the circumstances.

    An immigration lawyer is absolutely necessary. Those specialists are quite numerous, and the going rate in NYC is about $3000, plus filing expenses. Usually the sponsoring employer pays for that, but the candidate may be asked to share in the cost, if not reimburse the costs completely.

  12. Thanks for the contributions everyone, especially Francis. Most helpful, thanks.

  13. Tim, you would be an asset to almost any US company, but from reading your blog for a while, I feel your best point of entry would be as a consultant. It has been a while since I was active in corporate life so I do not know who the consulting companies are now, but I am sure you have contacts who can connect you up to someone needing your international experience.

    In 43 years of corporate life and many different job changes, I found that 85% of all job placements were through personal contacts. With your personal contacts, I feel you could pull in a position which would get you to the US in short order. Once established, you would probably find that your longer range plans should involve setting up your own organization.

  14. Tim, you would be an asset to almost any US company, but from reading your blog for a while, I feel your best point of entry would be as a consultant.

    Thanks, David! This ties in nicely with my latest post.

  15. Convert to Islam and run for office.

    Or marry a family member and lie about it.

  16. Serious question, what about marrying an American, does that get you residency?

  17. Bardon asked:
    Serious question, what about marrying an American, does that get you residency?

    Yes. It can take several years because it is such an obvious possible scam.

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