In the two months and then some weeks that I have lived in Los Angeles now I have met about three people that are actually from LA. As in born and raised. Most people are from elsewhere, looking for something more here in LaLaland. The majority is just from out of state; Kansas, Ohio, Illinois…And then there’s a handfull of people from out of the country. And each and every one of them I ask: what visa are you on? How did you get your work visa? And the answers are always shocking…
Before they even answer they always tell me: just marry someone. The first two times I heard that I laughed until I noticed they were not laughing with me, and told me they meant it. Seriously. With my perfect BF and occasional integrity I always tell them I could never do that, but then they continue their stories…
The average amount of years that these people tell me it took them to get a green card is about eight. Some it took nine, some ten…but usually it’s eight. These people have all gone through eight years of studying, internships, getting new visa’s, changes of status…The whole visa drama. The expensive, expensive visa drama.
So when person number seven told me his visa story, bitterness oozing from him just talking about it, I started to get disheartened. Maybe marriage really is the only option, and that would mean there is no option.
If I don’t find a new visa before February, I will have to return to Amsterdam. And despite how much I miss home, Dutch products like digestive cookies with dark chocolate and my Dutch lovelies, that’s not something I look forward to. Because I’m just starting to build something for myself here.
So now I’m just focussing on how I’m able to at least stay in the U.S. longer than until February, before I win the Green Card Lottery of 2013 of course. I already discussed the O and B visas, so here are other options I know of that allow you to stay in the U.S. beyond the tourist maximum of 90 days.
- F1 student visa: this is what I am currently on, but it’s expensive and I probably won’t be able to do another semester. The thing is that you have to be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units at all times, which can be a lot of tuition. It wouldn’t be so bad if you were allowed to work as well, but unfortunately you’re only allowed to work on campus. And campus jobs are highly competitive and have a low salary.
- Trainee or intern visa: with this visa you can do an internship or traineeship in the US. Sometimes these are paid but in LA the chances of that are fairly small, depending on what business you’re in of course. The difficult thing about this visa is that the company you’re interning for has to prove that you can not do a similar internship in your own country.
- A work visa! Still not a green card, which means that as soon as you’re not working full-time anymore you have to leave Americaland. But the most affordable way of staying in the US for sure because you can actually make some money! Unfortunately to get this visa the company has to prove that an American can’t do your job and has to sponsor your visa. And you’ll have no time to go to auditions of course!
- Au-pair visa: This might be the easiest and most affordable way to stay in the US longer than 90 days since room and boarding are usually included. But again there will be little time left to go on auditions. And the maximum amount of time you can usually stay with this visa is a year.
So what to do? I’m afraid at the moment I don’t have the answers either. The student visa is an ideal option but you’ll need at least $25000 to study full-time one year. So go get that sugar daddy and marry him!
Oh, wait, then you might as well…
Like this blog? Please show some love by sharing it on Facebook or Twitter! And don’t forget to sign up for free e-mail updates by clicking on the I Want to Follow button on the upper right!