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Nicola1

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Hi Everyone,

 

 

I have tons of questions, but these are my initialconcerns. Where exactly does one startthe process?

 

 

I hope my brief intro below gives you a fair idea of who weare and where we’re at.

 

 

My husband (37) and I (35), together with our two young boys(4 and 16 months) are really battling to be positive about the boys future inSA L

 

 

My husband is a South African (of European descent and qualifies for a Croatian passport) but atthis time only has a SA passport. I wasborn in England and hold both SA and UK passports, as do the kids as theyautomatically qualify for UK passports.

 

 

My husband is an investment banker currently completing hisMBA and I work from home – I have the distribution license for an American companyin SA. It works well here.

 

 

After much back and forth, and although the UK is theeasiest option for us, we’d really like to relocate to the USA. Ideally, California, but we’re also lookingat the Houston area – the reason being that property seems more reasonablypriced. It’s such a huge country though,are there other states that has stable weather (preferably no snow!)? We have no family there.

 

 

I think my husband would be eligible to enter the diversityvisa programme – do you have any tips? When does this reopen for 2011/2012?

 

 

Second option, would be for my husband to secure a H1Bvisa. From what I’ve read, it would seemthat he needs to secure employment beforehand, is that correct? Is this relatively easy to do? But then I wouldn't be able to work, so not ideal.

 

 

Third option, as a Brit, I qualify for an E visa – start upor buy into another business in the States. Has anyone gone this route? Howmuch did you have to invest? My experienceis wedding industry related, so I’d imagine it wouldn’t be easy for me tosupport the whole family on this income.

 

However, I also have a SA business which I could run from the States, but I wouldn't be able to support the family on this. Has anyone tried the L visa route?

 

 

How did you end up in the States? What visa process did you follow? How did you decide where to relocate?

 

 

Is anyone in the Houston area? Pro’s and con’s? Children’s education? Quality of life, parks, open area’s etc? Lifestyle? Hurricanes, flooding? Does anyonehave an ironing service/cleaning assistance and is this reasonably priced (Ifeel awful even asking this one!)?

 

I realise it will be easier for us to pack up and live in the UK, but neither my husband or I relish the thought of living there. Perhaps we could use it as a stepping stone whilst trying to relocate to the US.

 

 

Thanking you in advance for your assistance.

 

 

Nicola

 

 

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H1B - Only employers can apply for those. This is also NO guarantee that you will get permanent residency.

 

California is not cheap so if you are looking for low cost of living then scrap California.

 

L Visas are inter-company transfer visas so unless you have been working for a company for (x) amount of years then they can transfer you. There are two categories, L1A and L1B, L1A is the easy way to permanent residency and L1B is the same as H1B, NO guarantee. To qualify for L1A you have to be on manager/executive level for at least one year in the company that will transfer you. There are plenty of other requirements also and a quick search and you should get your answers.

 

It does not seem that you have done a lot of homework on this, there is plenty of info one here, read through all the threads and you should find some really good advise.

 

If it is that important for you to leave South Africa then I would suggest that you go to England, if you still want to relocate to the US after the economy stabilized then look for work and get sponsored that way.

 

The DV Lottery is a LOOOONNNGGG shot, ask the 100's of South Africans that have tried it, but at least it is worth the try. You will also find a lot of information about that on here.

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Hi.

 

Can I ask if other members could add info on areas that they live in. We have our interview next week (after 2 reschedules) and I must admit everything up to now has been simple. Comments posted about Greenville SC have been interesting, Texas being hot and dusty, California being expensive all help. I have family in Florida and having lived in Durban all my life makes it seem like an ideal choice, but I'm always open for change.

 

Thanks again for all the info and support.

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Hi.

 

Can I ask if other members could add info on areas that they live in. We have our interview next week (after 2 reschedules) and I must admit everything up to now has been simple. Comments posted about Greenville SC have been interesting, Texas being hot and dusty, California being expensive all help. I have family in Florida and having lived in Durban all my life makes it seem like an ideal choice, but I'm always open for change.

 

Thanks again for all the info and support.

 

Nashville Tennessee, cost of living is relatively low, housing is cheap and you pay no state taxes. It gets hot & humid in summer months and winter can get on the cooler side with little or no snow. My favorite seasons are fall and spring with perfect weather.

 

Hope it helps.

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Thank you for your input, we have done quite a bit of research, hence why I am now here asking South African's their experience of relocating.

 

 

I found this information on the L1 visa's, which I why I assumed it would be relevant to us:

 

TheL1 Visa -

Using Your South African Business To Enter The USA

ByAttorney

HendrikPretorius

Are you currently a business owner inSouth Africa and considering a move to the United States of America? Whateveryour reasons may be for considering such a move, your South African businessmay your ticket to make that idea a reality. Here's how...

 

This opportunity comes to you in theform of an L1 visa, of which there are two types:

 

1. The L-1A visa is for "Managers"and "Executives" of businesses, including of course the owners ofsuch businesses.

 

2. The L-1B visa is available to those personswho have "Specialized Knowledge" regarding the business that isdeemed to be essential to its success in the U.S.A.

 

How do I qualify for the L1 visa?

 

Below are a few of the majorrequirements to qualify for an L-1A or L-1B Intra-Company Transfer Visa:

 

· If you are the owner of the SouthAfrican business, the business must have been operational for at least one yearprior to applying for the visa. This will need to be supported by evidentiarydocumentation such as taxes.

 

· If you are the employee of the foreigncompany, and wish to be petitioned as an executive, manager, or person withspecialized knowledge of the company, being sent to the U.S. to open the branchor subsidiary, then you must evidence that you have worked for the company forat least one out of the last three years. Note that an L-1 beneficiarytransferee does not have to work in the same capacity in the U.S. as he/she didabroad however he/she must have worked in one of those three positions abroadand must be entering to work in one of those three capacities in the U.S. Notethat the term employee can include a majority shareholder of bothcompanies, a sole stockholder, and a sole proprietor as well. The terms executive,manager, and specialized knowledge each have specific regulatorydefinitions.

 

· Throughout your stay in the U.S. on theL visa, the South African business which is the principal business used tocreate the U.S. branch or subsidiary must remain operational. This will have tobe evidenced when applying for future extensions of the L visa.

 

· In setting up a new office in the U.S.,the South African based company and the new U.S. Company must be related viaownership. For example, a majority stock ownership in both companies would besufficient. Note that joint ventures and group ownerships can qualify as wellin certain instances. These issues can get complex so it is a good idea toconsult an immigration attorney that is familiar with the L-1 process.

 

· The South African and U.S. basedcompanies need not be engaged in the same industry or line of business.Additionally, the size of the organizations does not technically matter,however there are several practical implications. With the L visa there is nominimum amount of money that needs to be invested into the U.S. Company,although evidence will have to be shown that sufficient funds are available tooperate the U.S. Company appropriately.

 

What are some of the benefits of theL1 visa?

 

· As an L-1A or L-1B visa holder you maybring your spouse and children under the age of 21 along with you to live inthe U.S. as long as your L visa is valid. In addition, your spouse is free toaccept any employment in the U.S.

 

· Under the L-1A visa you will beentitled to remain in the U.S. for a total of up to seven years, and under theL-1B visa up to a total of five years. Note that while maintaining yournon-immigrant L visa status in the U.S. you may legally apply for permanentresident status as the L visa allows for dual intent. If you receive permanentresidence status then you are no longer bound by the strictures of the L visa,and are lawfully entitled to reside in the U.S. permanently, barring anydisqualifying issues.

 

0diggsdigg

The L1 visa provides greatopportunities for South African business persons to enter the U.S. andestablish branch or subsidiary businesses in the U.S.

 

Note that these are only a few of themajor issues regarding the L1 visa, however it is not intended to beimmigration advice as the specific facts of each individual case need to beconsidered and changes in the law may occur at any time.

 

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Hi.

 

Can I ask if other members could add info on areas that they live in. We have our interview next week (after 2 reschedules) and I must admit everything up to now has been simple. Comments posted about Greenville SC have been interesting, Texas being hot and dusty, California being expensive all help. I have family in Florida and having lived in Durban all my life makes it seem like an ideal choice, but I'm always open for change.

 

Thanks again for all the info and support.

 

Florida is a massive flat swamp with 8 month long summers and a large probability of hurricanes. Can you tell I do not love Florida so much? :) Lived in Orlando for 10 years and we adapted but it was never our first choice.

We live just outside of Charlotte (In SC actually)and love it.

You do pay state taxes in SC.

Property tax and gas prices are very low.

Property insurance is low (Watch out for this in Florida as there are few insurance companies that operate there due to the risks and the costs are high).

Weather is 2 months worth of hot humid summer (Better than Florida) and 2 months of cold with some snow.

I agree with C185 that spring and fall are our favourite seasons.

The surrounding areas are NOT flat :) :) with mountains a couple of hours drive away.

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Nashville Tennessee, cost of living is relatively low, housing is cheap and you pay no state taxes. It gets hot & humid in summer months and winter can get on the cooler side with little or no snow. My favorite seasons are fall and spring with perfect weather.

 

Hope it helps.

Just dont purchase or rent property near the river in Memphis, these low lying areas are prone to flooding.

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- Both you and your husband can enter the DV2013 lottery (which should open sometime in October/November for entries). Even though you were born in the UK, and the UK is ineligible, you can enter claiming your spouse's country of nativity - i.e. South Africa - provided that if you are drawn, you both are on the entry, issued visas, and you both enter the USA at the same time. This in effect doubles your chances of winning the DV, as if either of you win, both can get the GC.

(Note that this is as per the rules of the DV2012 - those for 2013 have not yet been published, but this rule has been the same for years now).

 

 

- That said, it is still a very long shot. For DV2012, of the 21 523 entries claiming South Africa as the country of chargeability, 833 were drawn.

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Just dont purchase or rent property near the river in Memphis, these low lying areas are prone to flooding.

 

Yes the Mississippi River is at risk every Spring after all the snow melts up north but that counts for the whole of the Mississippi and not just Memphis. Memphis is not really a great place to live in currently with high crime and unemployment.

 

For what it's worth, one should always be careful with property next to rivers and lakes for the occasional floods and if you do make sure you have flood damage insurance. This is not usually part of your normal property insurance.

 

Nashville is also home off the Grand Ole Opry, if you like Country Music then Nashville is for you, Music Capital of the world. :rolleyes: We also host two great sporting teams with the Tennessee Titans in the NFL and the Predators with the NHL. Did I mention that Downtown Nashville is a fun place with ample of night life, bars all with great life music etc. There are two large lakes great for fishing, clean pick-nick spots (free) for cookouts by the lake or just boating if you have one. Nashville is very central and there are plenty of weekend breakaway opportunities within anything from 1 - 4 hours drive.

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Hi Nicola,

 

I think there is a lot of good information on the different visa options for moving to the US on this forum and also elsewhere on the web. Right now the economy is kind of weak, so there are not that many companies looking to sponsor immigrants for H1-B or even L1 visa's. There are some options if you're an investor but as I recall you need a LOT of money to invest (> 1 million USD).

 

You can also enter the DV Lottery - this is a LONG shot but there are a few people on these boards that have entered and won - but you can't bargain on it.

 

In terms of where to live, I live in the Bay Area east of San Francisco. It is generally pretty expensive, and you will not be able to afford a very large house at first. It is slightly more feasible if both husband and wife make good income, though.

 

However, there are A LOT of companies here (especially in the IT and financial industries), so if you work in those fields and you're good at what you do there are still plenty of job opportunities for well qualified candidates.

 

The weather here is FANTASTIC - probably the number 1 reason why I would be hard pressed to move somewhere else (even considering the high cost of living.) Warm, sunny summers, mild winters (gets a little chilly in June, but no snow!). There's lots to see and do - if you're an outdoors kind of person, I would really consider it.

 

Good luck on your quest, hope things work out!

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Hi Nicola,

 

I'll add some comments as I was recently looking to relocate inside the US too. I'm from South Africa, and married an american, so I can't really help with all the visa items, but in terms of location here is what I found. I grew up in Loevenstein, just outside Cape Town, and initially moved to Maryland, where I went to school. Weather wasn't too bad, but it did get a lot more humid than South Africa. Generally most of the East Coast is quite humid in the summer, however everywhere has air conditioning, so it isn't too bad. Maryland also got a bit too much snow for me, but overall living costs weren't too bad, as long as you are willing to live 30+ min outside the larger towns.

 

After college I moved with my girlfriend at the time to Florida for 3 months over the summer, for an internship. Florida is really cheap compared to the rest of the country, however you definitely suffer in the summer months as the heat / humidity is crazy. I know a couple of friends who lived there, and generally most people can only handle it for a couple of years before deciding to move further north. There are also a lot of hurricanes etc, which make people uncomfortable.

 

We then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and lived there for the last 5+ years. The weather, as mentioned by another poster, is absolutely wonderful there. We lived about 20 min outside San Francisco and it was pretty much exactly like Cape Town. Nice warm winters (no snow etc), and very mellow summers with no humidity. You do however pay for that quite heavily in terms of living costs. Most of california is very expensive, especially if you want to get a house with space for the kids. For example we paid around $1800 per month for a pretty small 2 bedroom apartment with no back yard. Traffic in the Bay Area and LA Area are also some of the worst in the country, plus you have the ever present threat of large earthquakes, which is worrisome. I will admit that California was a dream when it came to outdoor activities, like skiing, hiking, camping etc.

 

Our son was born about 18 months ago, and we pretty much immediately started thinking about moving to a cheaper area. It simply wasn't an option for my wife to stay at home while we live in California. After quite a bit of research, we decided on Charlotte, NC. Housing and living costs in general are very cheap out here, as we pay around $1100 per month for a 4bedroom house with a huge back yard. We are 20 min from downtown (called uptown for some reason), in a wonderful neighborhood, with good schools, infrastructure and shopping. We've only been here a month now, but I'm already very pleased with our decision to move here. There is also quite a nice South African community in the area, so you can easily find Biltong and other items critical to our survival as South Africans. We do get some hurricanes here too, but we are far enough inland for them to not really have much punch left when they get to us. The weather is also a bit more humid than I'd like in the summer, but winters should be mellow, with snow being reasonably rare. Charlotte is also a major airport hub, so it is easy to fly back to ZA etc.

 

Anyway, hope that helps, feel free to contact me directly if you need any more information.

Dieter

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Well, I am in MD and in month I would have lived here for a year and I love it. It's true what Dieter said it can be humid. but for me it has worked out I live 10 minutes from work and Annapolis is great in the Summer lots of activities. We are 45 minutes from DC 3 hrs to New York. If you like theatre a bit of culture then you might like it. Some of my friends work in the school district and they said the schools are good. You within close approximity to the big cities for work.

 

On a good summer day when I drive On the Naval Academy bridge it reminds me of CT. The cleanliness of the whole area. We only have Nandos. But no Biltong unfortunately. If I knew where to get the best Biltong in NC I would probably drive to there. The drive is not bad I think.

 

Good luck hopefully you find your American home.

 

Eli

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