Being Australian, I am pretty spoilt with choices when it comes to living abroad. We are a trusted nation known to be loyal, friendly & hard workers. Our government has a lot of mutual agreements with other countries that allow us to live and work in many parts of the world. However securing a working Visa in the USA was not simple or easy especially for an unskilled youngster. It is also not cheap. The criteria alone is enough to filter out the majority of Aussie hopefuls. At the time I was planning travel to the USA I was eligible for a ‘J-1 Visa’ which is basically a culture exchange visa. It allowed me to work 12 full months as well as 2 extra months allowed for travel known as a grace period. My circumstances at the time allowed me to qualify for this special visa. You had to be a full time student and had completed at least your first year of study. You also had to be returning back to study when you come back.
The process was quite long & very tedious. I knew that it would be worth it in the end.
There are other visas but you need degrees & in fields where there is skill shortages in the US.
“All exchange visitor applicants must have a SEVIS generated DS-2019 issued by a DOS designated sponsor, which they submit when they are applying for their exchange visitor visa. The consular officer verifies the DS-2019 record electronically through the SEVIS system in order to process your exchange visitor visa application to conclusion. Unless otherwise exempt, exchange visitor applicants must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to DHS for each individual program.”
Doesn’t that above information sound amazing? It makes so much sense that you would think it was that R2D2 robot thing from star wars saying it. There was quite a lot of garble like that above that just went over my head.
Once I found out I met the criteria the next step was to find a sponsor!
After doing some research I found Grow USA. They decided to sponsored me, wooohoo!
They helped me through the whole process.
The 14 month visa cost me in the end around $1300
It was pricey because you needed compulsory health insurance for the year.
It was the best investment I ever made & I am so grateful to this day I was able to get sponsored. . I was very sad I had to leave the US & really did enjoy my life over there.
Some sponsors can line you up with a job before you leave for an extra fee. I chose not to do this and found my own jobs. There has now been a new regulation where you have to have a job offer from a company before apply for a J1.
There are talks that soon this visa will only be eligible if you have an employer to sponsor you before you arrive.