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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

My boyfriend has recently been offered a job in Boston by the company he works for in the UK - it's a UK company, but with an office out there. He will be applying for an L-1 visa for this. He's going out now, and I want to follow him in 6 months, and spend 1 year there. We're both UK citizens, although I also have an Australian passport and birth certificate (my mum is Australian).

I am looking into the various options and whether I can make this work - basically, I can take a career break of 1 year from my job, which would allow me to go out there and be away for a year, but have a job to come back to after that. We have agreed that this is what we would do - so he will be out there for 18months total.

I am happy not to work as such while I'm out there - in fact, part of the conditions for taking the career break is that you are not supposed to undertake paid work while you're on it (it's designed for situations where your partner moves abroad, you suddenly find you have to become a carer, you have family issues, etc etc) - however, I would like to be able to volunteer or do something to keep me active, keep my brain from going to mush, and keep my hand in with the industry I work in (arts administration).

So, from the research I have been doing, I think I have a couple of options, but I wondered if anyone has had a similar experience, or can offer any advice...

One option would be to try and get a B-2 visa for 12 months - I am not sure if this is likely to happen because although we have been together more than 3 years, we've never lived together (he has been working in Oxford till now and I am based in London). Does this disqualify me from the visa you can get to go with a partner you're not married to? I know you have to show intent to return to your home country - which I think I can make a very strong case for, with the career break thing, and also I own a flat here, have lived here all my life, etc. I think I would also be able to do volunteer work as well, as long as it is genuinely volunteering?

Second option is to try to get an internship/trainee placement and get a J-1 visa - can anyone tell me how to go about this? Is it simply a case of applying for/getting an internship and then applying for the visa?

Finally, as I mentioned above, I also have an Australian passport, and from the looks of it it is easier for Australians to work in the US than UK citizens. Would this still hold if I have dual nationality? (In fact, I haven't ever lived in Aus...) The E-3 is probably my least preferred option because I would have to square it with my job over here, also as I'm only going to be there for 1 year it seems like a massive hassle for what would be a temporary job, and I can't imagine many employers wanting to go to the trouble of getting me one. But, would be good to know if it's an option, just in case our plans change and we want to stay longer - that being the case, should I be applying for either the B-2 or J-1 on my Australian passport rather than UK, if there's any chance I would want to then later apply for an E-3??

Any advice would be very gratefully received - this whole thing is very exciting, but I find the prospect daunting to say the very least!!

Thanks everyone,

Sarah
 

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As a girlfriend you don't really have any easy options to go and live with your boyfriend in the US.

Had you been living together for three years with subsequent proof of such, you may have been eligible for the B-2 cohabiting visa. As such you are not.

However if you decide to apply for the usual B2 visa then there are, in my opinion, several red flags which could result in it being refused, namely:

- you are eligible for the VWP.
- requiring the visa in order to go and live with boyfriend for one year or longer.
- your boyfriend has an L1 work visa which means he can potentially remain in the US for several years.
- taking leave from work for one year or longer to be in the US.

Your ties to the UK are tenuous to say the least. If you are refused the B-2 then you will not be able to use the VWP again and will have to re-apply for a visa with more strenuous proof that you mean to return to the UK. Even if you are accepted on a B-2 visa it is likely that you will only get a stamp at the point of entry for 6 months and then will need to renew it as necessary.

The J-1 is one route - you will need to research internships in your line of work.

The E-3 may be open to you. Again you would need to research it to see if you could find a sponsor/prospective employer.

If I was you I would use the VWP for up to 90 days, return home for 90 days and then use it again.

Alternatively, get married.

Good luck.
 

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There actually is a working holiday visa available to Australian citizens. (Your dual nationality shouldn't interfere with this.) Check the website of the US Embassy/Consulate in Australia to see the specific requirements, but it should be possible to apply at the US Consulate in London if you're eligible. (There are age and other restrictions.)

I'd also be wary of the B2 visa, as it may be restricted to six months at a time (which means you'd have to clear out for a full six months after your stay).

You might do better to take full advantage of the VWP and go for a series of one or two month stays (with the requisite time outside the US between visits).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for such a quick reply. I hadn't realised I wouldn't be able to travel on VWP if my B-2 was denied - that is not so good. I thought the fact we hadn't been co-habiting might scupper those plans, thanks for confirming.

I will look into the J-1, because to be honest I would rather have some sort of structure to my time there anyway, and it would be a great opportunity to learn about my industry in the US, it is quite different to the way it works over here, so a good opportunity. I am a bit confused about how you go about getting the J-1 - there is a lot of talk about getting a sponsor - does anyone know if this has to be relevant to your field, or is it a case of there being companies that will do this for you (at a cost...)? I will do some more research, but if anyone has any experience of this I'd love to hear about it.

Bev - sadly I can't do the working holiday thing as you have to either be a student or have graduated only 1yr before, which disqualifies me. Frustrating, because it would have solved my problems otherwise!!

This might be a monumentally stupid questions, so apologies in advance, but in the interest of covering all bases... If I were to enter the US on VWP on my UK passport, then leave and re-enter on my Australian passport, do you think they would join the dots...? I am just thinking this might be a way of not having to spend so much time outside the US between visits. I don't really want to have to leave for a long time at the end of every 3 months, especially as I am not sure where I would leave to - I am planning to rent out my flat for 1yr to help fund the stay (my boyfriend's company will pay for most of our accommodation and his salary combined with the rent will mean I don't have to work).

Thanks again for your advice,

Sarah
 

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You must always assume they could "join the dots" with regards visits to the US.
 

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Hi all,

I am in a similar situation, I wasn't sure whether to start a new thread so just decided to tag on this one, hope that's ok?!

My partner has been offered a transfer visa (L-1), the contract is initially mid/end of May to end of January 2013, so approximately 8/9 months in total. There is potential for it to become long term with either another contract or a staff position. We have discussed a few of options that would be available...

The laywer at my partners company has said I would be eligible for the B Domestic Partner visa but means I couldn't work. We have been a couple for just over 3 years, have lived together for approximately 18 months. 3 months in the UK, 15 months in Australia. We have a joint bank account in Aus and still have our signed lease agreement and utility bills. We came back to the UK early this year as his contract in Australia came to an end.

The other is for me to stay in the UK so I can carry on working and go over and visit my partner in NY using WVP visa for upto 90 days. I currently freelance in the UK and we have been told from the HR lady that there is a way of being able to freelance in the US on WVP as long as I am paid into my UK account. I am currently registered as a Soletrader with the HMRC in the UK. I believe I would have to register as a business in the USA? Anyone have any more detail on this? Not sure where I would need to start looking at this?

With the contract currently being only 9 months at the moment and there's no guarantee that his contract will get renewed, it depends on what project they get in next year. I feel that visits to NY using the WVP is less risky at this stage should he not get an extension and I havent worked for 9 months. I still want to carry one building my career in the UK. So basically we wanted to check, whether I would still be eligible for the Domestic Partner visa after spending 9 months apart, living in different countries. The Lawyer said 'They should try to share as much of their assets and liabilities together even though they are living apart, and definitely track the visits, phone cards, etc.' My next few questions would be: In terms, of having assets in the US, I would be put on his rental agreement and could contribute when im there. The other would be to open a joint bank account... I heard its quite hard to open a US bank account without a Social Security Number. Obviously I will not have one, but my partner will. Would this be an issue for a joint account? Would it still be worth having assets/liabilities in the UK and Aus in both our names?

Should he be offered a staff position early next year, we will definitely consider the option of marriage in order to allow me to work so we can start on a life together in NYC. We just don't want to rush into the decision. We want to get an idea whats involved in the various options and cover our back for the bigger picture.

Look forward to hearing some of your replies.

Thanks!
 

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HR is not informed. You are producing income in the US. It does not matter where you get paid.
You can open a US bank account using Form W8. Some banks in-house policy is not to open accounts without SS#.
 

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Thanks twostep! I did question it... I'm sure if it was legal, then there would be a lot more people trying to do this...

Where would I get a Form W8 from? Any idea which banks do allow opening without SSN?

Thanks!
 

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If you stay in the UK and take advantage of the VWP to come and visit your partner for max. 90 days, it doesn't give you any garantee at all! If Immigrations thinks you might want to stay with your partner and you don't have a lot that keeps you in the UK, he can refuse you to enter the US! That's something to keep in mind! Certainly if they will extend his contract.
 
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