I came across someone who was looking to find work in the United States from another country, and he was seeking some advice. I helped by sharing part of my experience, and I thought this could be helpful. After all, I did do some research about coming to the United States before I arrived.
I’m not a legal expert and please never misconstrue anything I say here as legal advice. This is for entertainment purposes only. Also, immigration laws change all the time, and so do keep yourself updated with professional legal advice.
I moved from Singapore to Fort Lauderdale on an L1B visa back in Aug 2016, and eventually, I got my green card in Dec 2019. I was working for an MNC as a data engineer then, and after I expressed interest that I wanted to move to the States, my company started the process through an L1B blanket petition.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with these immigration terms, let me break down some of them in layman terms:
- L visas are intra-company transfers. The company that you work with has many offices across different countries.
- H visas are the typical foreign-worker transfers without any company affiliation. This is the visa that most people have heard about.
- Both L and H visas are temporary and have a definite expiry date.
- L1 blanket and an individual L1 petition are different.
- The L1 blanket is where a company petitions directly to the USCIS instead of the individual employee. That’s because the company has a special status to process multiple L1 visas at the same time.
- The L1 blanket process is much faster than an individual petition because of a streamlined process. If I’m not mistaken, the process started in June 2016 and I was already approved in Aug 2016!
- However, you would need to have paper qualifications, and have worked for some time in the company. For bachelor’s degree holders, you would need to work in the company for at least 5 years, while for master’s degree holders, it was 3 years.
Just to iterate, this is not legal advice, and my information then could be outdated by now. At that time, I was in my company for 5.5 years then, and I realized I was at the right place at the right time for this L1B visa.
All the costs for the immigration process with the US consulate were absorbed by my company, and so there’s not much worry there. In the interview process, there were a plethora of documents to provide, such as:
- Recent payslips
- Copies of my passports
- Bachelor degree certificate copy
- Form I-129S, a nonimmigrant petition based on blanket L petition. I needed to carry this form around as I travel back into the States with my passport when I had my visa.
- Write-ups on my specialized knowledge in data science and engineering for predicting sports.
The above is definitely not exhaustive, and if your company is applying for a visa for you, you would have lawyers that could advise you accordingly.
I was applying for an L1B visa, which needed proof that I had specialized knowledge that was difficult to hire in the States. The write-up wasn’t enough, and I had to attend an interview at the US embassy in Singapore.
After everything went through, my company then extended a new contract offer with me. Although this was an intra-company transfer, it was effectively going into a new company since the labor laws were different, and I had to renegotiate my contract as a result.
Always include a relocation package in your negotiation and remember that your relocation package is taxable under US laws. I didn’t know the relocation package was taxable, and so I was a little disappointed that I missed that.
After I got all my visa approvals and contract sorted out, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The company paid for my stay in a nearby hotel near the office for a month while I searched for my accommodation and complete additional paperwork for my new life in the States.
There was a lot more administrative work once I arrive in Fort Lauderdale, but I will keep them for another update. Moving into another country is a lot of work, and I feel like I’m still skimming the surface. Thus, let me know in the comments section below and I will try to answer them as many as possible.