International assignments and overseas career opportunities are on the rise. Almost every multinational company has long-term and short-term assignments for their employees and most of them expect this number to grow in the next few years.
There are plenty of good reasons for seizing the opportunity to become an expat and embracing the opportunity to see the world. Employees who take on an international role often find they gain financial and career rewards – unmatched opportunities to develop, to learn new skills and become an invaluable part of the team. And the USA is a prime location for UK firms, now more than ever.
Know which US visa you are entitled to
The process of obtaining a US visa from the UK depends to some extent on both your circumstances and your profession. There are a bewildering number of visas that you can apply for, so selecting the right one is important.
A B-1 visa is for business trips – these are usually no longer than six months and are intended for business executives who are arranging contracts with US companies, rather than setting up a branch of the business or doing consultancy work.
There are three main employment visas. The L-1 visa is for intra-company transfers and is used most often by large companies who send managers or specialists to part of their US operation. The H-1B visa is for speciality occupations, usually tech workers, and the H-2B visa is for skilled and unskilled workers. If you want to move to the United States to start a business, the T5 and C5 visas are for people who can invest at least $1,000,000 dollars in their venture.
Provide the right documentation
The process of applying for a US visa involves giving the US authorities information that proves who you are, that you’re not an undesirable person to be allowed into the United States and that your reason for applying for the visa is valid. This often involves significant amounts of documentation.
The application form will be supplemented with the application fee, your passport, photograph, and in many cases proof from your employer of your position in the US. If all the details are correct, you will be invited to an interview. Before your interview, you’ll need to complete a medical examination and arrange to bring any documents the US authorities have requested.
Don’t bring anything you don’t need
After arriving at the US embassy or consulate in good time for the appointment, you’ll need to go through some screening checks first. You can bring your mobile phone, e-reader, or tablet computer, but laptops, keyboards and large bags are forbidden as are other prohibited items.
The interview process can be quite short – US visa officials usually have a large number of applicants to process and they will have a checklist of information to obtain and assess. That means your best tactic is to only provide as much information as asked for. Being vague or evasive will set alarm bells ringing, so be confident in your answers.
Try to anticipate their questions
The main purpose of the interview is to assess whether your paperwork matches reality. So you’ll be asked why you want to visit, and what you’ll be doing. This may involve answering questions about your current job and your career. There may also be questions about your family and your life in the UK to check that the details you’ve provided are correct.
Hand over the right documents
Many applicants bring file after file of information, but the pressure of time means this can be counter-productive. When you’re asked for documentation to prove something on your application form, hand it over without adding extra unnecessary detail.
Relocating your life from your home in the UK to the United States can seem like a huge challenge. But it needn’t be overwhelming. Santa Fe can help you with relocation assistance when moving to USA. For details of our services and how we can assist you, get in touch via our Contact Us page.