Thinking about coming to the United States to live or work? Good idea, in many ways it is a fabulous country. I’ve spent many years writing visa petitions and applications for people to come and do just that. My clients are business people, students, engaged couples, teachers, dairy farmers, retailers, wholesalers, folks of many occupations, skills and interests. Most succeeded in making a better, more rewarding life for themselves, but some went back disappointed or even disillusioned. So if you are planning to take the step, take some time to think it through and do some planning. Here are some things to think about:
Visa: If you plan to stay in the U.S. longer than 90 days, you will need a visa. The visa will get you into the U.S., the stamp you get in your passport at entry will determine the length of your stay and is a sort of resident permit.
Vacations versus Living There: Chances are you were previously in the U.S. on a vacation visit. You rented a car, you stayed in a hotel or airbnb, you ate at restaurants. And it was great! But consider the difference between visiting and living there. How good is your English? Be honest, good enough for vacationing may not be good enough for work.
Finances: You will need a solid financial safety net. Willingness to work hard alone is not enough.
Location: The vacation location may not be the ideal work location. Or it may be. I live in Florida and there are many economic opportunities in this state. Research your ideal spot and visit it.
Job: Don’t consider that you can automatically transfer your Dutch specialty or job to the U.S. and that there will be a demand for it.
Friends and Family: Consider the effect of being away from Dutch friends and family on each family member. Working family members with jobs may thrive, a stay-at-home spouse may become home-sick. If you have children, give them a voice in the decision to immigrate, they may resent it later if you don’t. In many cases, children of immigrants turn out to be at the top of their new American class.
This is the first of a series of articles about coming to the United States to live and work. The content is specific to Dutch remote workers but the general information can be applied to other countries as well.