The USA FAQ
This is a work in progress....
[Okay, about time we had an FAQ!
General plan is:
It's a sticky at the top of our forum.
If you want to contribute to our body of knowledge, just post a reply on this thread and I'll cut and paste it into this post so it's not all spread out.
All contributions, however small, will be credited at the bottom of the thread.]
CIMT - crime involving moral turpitude
CBP - Customs and Border Protection
DCF - direct consular filing
DV - diversity visa
GC - green card
IV - immigrant visa
NIV - non-immigrant visa
NIW - national interest waiver
POE - port of entry
PR - permanent resident/residency
UKC - UK citizen
USC - US citizen
USCIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
VWP - visa waiver program
US citizens may sponsor: spouse, fiancée, parents, sons and daughters, and siblings. The last two categories will involve a substantial wait.
Permanent residents may sponsor: spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters. All categories involve a substantial wait.
Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Eligibility depends on place of birth, not citizenship, but you can claim the birth place of your spouse or, in some limited case, that of your parents.
Excluded countries for 2010 are: BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.
Official entry site is: Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery and entry in the lottery is free.
F-1 and J-1 visas
Licenses are issued by state governments, and requirements and rules vary. You can find information by Googling for 'statename drivers license' and choosing the site that ends with '.gov'
You can drive on your home country license, as long as it has a picture, for a limited time after arrival. Each state will have a time limit for how long you can live there without getting a new license. This applies to us, too, when we move from state to state. Validity varies. Florida licenses are good for seven years, some states make you renew every year.
You are not required to have a Social Security Number in order to open a bank account; however, once you receive one you will be asked to provide the number to the bank.
Social Security Number
if you are ineligible to receive a Social Security number, you may open certain interest-bearing accounts that enable you to obtain an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) which, for most intents and purposes, functions the same as an SSN
You are not required to provide your SSN to any private company that requests it (such as cell phone companies, cable companies, etc); however, they reserve the right to not do business with you if you do refuse to provide it.
Do not apply for the SSN until you have been lawfully in the US for at least 10 days. Your information takes approximately this long to trickle from the Port of Entry (POE) to the national systems such as Social Security. If you apply before the Social Security Administration can see your information on their screen, your application will likely be set aside and might take months to receive the card. If you wait ten days after arrival, your information should be visible in their system and you will receive the card between 2-6 weeks.
Credits: Tiffani, synthia
Maybe we should point out that in the light of the current economic crisis, the chances of obtaining a work visa have been dramatically reduced.
I haven't forgotten the F-1 and J-1 stuff but my brain hurts trying to put it all together (and it doesn't seem like there's a huge market for those visa types on here anyway -- except in the context of "how can I get PR from a non-immigrant visa?".
HOWEVER, I have noticed on the Oz thread and now on this thread that when people are in the "hostility stage" of cultural adjustment, they are confused and even ashamed of the way they are feeling. It seems to take a very brave soul to admit "hey, sometimes it really sucks here" and once they do, they get tons of support from people who say "I know EXACTLY how you feel" (but were maybe afraid to speak up when they were going through it?)
Maybe it'd be worth it to list the Stages of Cultural Adjustment either on this sticky or on its own sticky -- it'd probably be worth it to have it on all the country forums and the general forum too -- so that people will realise that YES, it's normal (and it does exist) and NO, it's nothing to be ashamed of.
Here are my stages, borrowed from years of personal, interpersonal, and professional experience with culture shock..
Stage 1: Euphoria Stage. Usually right after arrival. Everything is new and interesting and you can't wait to learn about this fascinating new place. This is the "I LOVE THIS PLACE!" stage of cultural adjustment.
Stage 2: Hostility Stage. Often within several months of arrival. You start to realise that the place is not Utopia, and things start to irritate you about the culture. You may isolate yourself from locals and, if possible, attempt to interact with people from your home culture. Depressive symptoms can often ensue. This is the "THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL CRAZY!!" stage of cultural adjustment
Stage 3: Acceptance Stage. After several months to a year. You begin to understand the rationale behind the differences you have noticed and realise that just because the culture is different doesn't mean it's wrong. You notice that certain aspects of your new culture are even desirable compared to your home culture. This is the Lightbulb-Goes-Off, "OH, I GET IT!" stage.
Stage 4: Biculturality. Usually this takes several years to achieve. You feel equally at home in both cultures and have a full understanding of each. You are no less the person you were, but you are happy to adopt aspects of the new culture and integrate them into your home culture. This is the "I CAN LIVE HAPPILY IN BOTH PLACES" stage.
Please note that not all of these stages will be experienced by each person, and not necessarily in the time-frame mentioned. These are simply guidelines. An individual may go through waves of euphoria, hostility, and acceptance for several years before finally reaching biculturality. Some people may never feel 100% bicultural, and others may never experience euphoria or hostility.
All of this, however, is normal. Part of the point of this forum is to help you through your stages of cultural adjustment. If, however, during the "hostility stage" you start to notice prolonged symptoms of clinical depression such as sleeplessness, hopelessness, or change in appetite, please consider speaking to your physician. Above all, do not retreat into isolation or interaction only with your compatriots. The best way to get through the hostility stage is immersion in your new culture, and meeting locals who can help you understand why they are the way they are.
Tiffani, let me just add a couple of things to your stages of adjustment (which are, I might add, very good information for all).
I did alot of reading before I made my big move over to Europe from the US. Several of the books I read at the time noted that your feelings about your new homeland tend to go in cycles - and one author even claimed that the cycles tend to run about 3 to 6 months, at least at the beginning. I found that to be true for me, in any event.
The first few years in a new culture, it's perfectly normal to feel real happy about being where you are for a while, followed by a bout of "stupid culture - why the heck do people here act so weird all the time?" It gets worse if you're trying to learn a new language or re-learn one you haven't used in a long time because there's a real sense of being shut out of things when you have trouble communicating with the locals.
Sometimes you just have to take the attitude that this, too, shall pass. It usually does. But if it doesn't you need to sit down and figure exactly what the problem really is and then do something about it - sign up for some language lessons, find a club to join so you can meet some people, or maybe consider going back home, at least for a visit to see for yourself if things were really the way you remember them there.
In the JET program (for new graduates teaching English in Japanese public schools for a year), new arrivals are actually given a schedule of what their feelings will be. Everyone I met in the program told me that they were sure they had done so much research that it wasn't going to happen to them. And everyone of them said it was uncannily accurate.
It really applies to all new ventures: Three weeks of honeymoon, then a downward trend as you start to recognize problems. At three months you hit a bottom because this is sufficient time to recognize almost all the problems but not sufficient time to develop coping skills. Then, somewhere around six months, you will be cruising through the supermarket or doing some other task that used to be daunting, and you'll suddenly realize you are just fine. I try to never, ever, make a major decision three months into anything, because it will be bad.
We call it "going LOCAL"
The final stage she mentions: Going "Local" (a joke on the Spanish word "loco" for "crazy") is harder to do in inclimate weather. Snow, rain, fog and short days in the US winter time gets everyone down.
I suggest getting a UV lamp and taking weekend trips down south.
I live in the east valley (Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale) of Arizona (culturally different universe than many US cities). I was driving with the top-down all day yesterday, thinking that many other urbanites might feel pretty bad... -While flights are cheep, hotels are empty and skies are blue here, use it as an excuse to jump right in. Come visit sunny warm Arizona. Check out ASU (Art Classs at ASU Gammage are open to everyone) and Spring training is always enjoyable for sports fans.
PS: my raja yoga classes in Hong Kong didn't work, to battle my hostility stage in China.
-had to get away from crowds.
E3 to greencard?
Have been in US for 2.5 yrs now under an E3 from OZ,
Have renewed (no problems, very quick actually but took 3 months for E3D's to come through for the family) and am now thinking about Greencard app as the E3 is tied to employee and wanted flexibility if something were to happen in this environment.
Didn't want to have to up and off in 10 days (sell house, rip kids from school, wife leaves her job etc) if all things fell flat.
SO have thought about GC. I know the main idea behind E3 is to prove you intend to return to OZ but I do not see that applying for GC negates that desire. I have all family in OZ, bank accounts, superannuation (401) but I just want a greater stability than the 2 yr renewal and employee tie-in. Qn is is it best to request a change of status from E3 to GC or a totally new application? I also have a feeling that the 2-3yr timeframe will see my GC app still being processed when my next E3 renewal comes due Oct 2010.
I've heard so many horror stories from applicants using immigration attorneys that I am hesitant to go down this path, I'm pretty organised and can follow instructions fairly easily!!) even though we use them for the H1 app employees we employ.
I just wanted to thank you for the previous few posts in this thread. I now have a feeling of 'this too will pass'.
Having been in the US for 6 weeks, I am now at the 'stupid culture' stage! Not being able to find what I want in the supermarket, why aren't there any roundabouts instead of endless red lights, and why does everybody pronounce words wrong....except me of course! Married to an American who has been with me in the UK for ten years, I'm now the foreigner ('hey, I lurrvv your accent'!)
Hopefully, or should I say....I'm sure, things will change once I find work. Oh and did I mention that I can't work here because my British medical qualifications which took me 5 years to get, including 2 years postgrad, are not accepted in the US. From being a Professional person in the UK, I am now uncertified. That really hurts me a lot.
Well, keep up the good work and I'll keep looking for meaningful occupation.
But one way around the qualification issue is to get creative. As the old saying goes, "if you can't do, teach." Or, as it seems to work these days, "if you can't do, consult." Find big companies that make products you used in your medical profession - they may want to make use of your expertise. Or find companies that do "continuing education" type training or who produce medical-related software. It takes some shifting of your thought process, but with a little creativity you should be able to find something related to your training. In five years' time you won't recognize yourself!
|All times are GMT. The time now is 06:36 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.