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VISAS FOR USA (YEAR PLAN FOLLOWUP)
Old 5th July 2002
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
vsl666's Avatar
 

VISAS FOR USA (YEAR PLAN FOLLOWUP)

madd

HI GUYS .. I NEED TO GO TO THE GOOD OL USA IN
ABOUT 12 WEEKS TIME.. DO ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY
EXPERIENCE GOING TO WORK OVER THERE ?
AND KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE VISA ISSUE ?
I WOULD LIKE A PERMANANT ONE BUT REALISE I MIGHT HAVE TO START WITH AN HB1..?

ANY HELP ADVICE MUCHO APPRECIATED


PS I ALSO HOPE TO SET MY TINY STUDIO UP OVER THERE ..
FOR MY OWN USE AND AS A SIDE NOTE I THINK IM GOING TO NEW MEXICO IF I CAN GET VISAS SORTED

THANKS
Old 5th July 2002
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Hi Damien
I lived for two years in LA. The immigration is bloody tricky.
In order to be granted a work visa, you will need to be sponsored by an employer who is able to prove that you can do things that no available American can. In the case of music, this is easier to achieve as your talents will be unique. Turning up at LAX with 10 racks full of gear is going to be a very quick way to get a return flight. You cannot be granted a work visa within the USA. In every case they will insist that you obtain your visas at the US embasy in London, in person. This process takes a while. If you enter the US on a visa waiver (ie in the plane, then 3 month maximum holliday...about the only easy way) you cannot, de facto, obtain any visa during your stay under any circumstance. That is the definition of the waiver. You waive your rights to asylum, visas etc etc. So what to do? Well the most straight forward way if you cannot get a work visa, is to get married. You need one female american, and a watertight story. Your marriage will certainly be very heavily investigated. You will be expected to live together, have photos of your wedding, know what colour each others underwear is, be togther at night etc etc. They will turn up at inconvenient times to check this sort of stuff. I cant remember how long you have to wait before you can divorce but...I have friends who have married in the US for real, and ones who have set it up. The couple who married for real, are still married although nearly got a divorce over the investigation. The other couples story wasn't considered solid enough and he was deported. If you can get working I suggest you make it a priority to pay your taxes and employ as many americans as you can. They are unlikely to try to get rid of you if you are making a contribution to the economy. It is entirely possible to just enter on visa waiver and dissappear so to speak. Unfortunately, it's difficult business wise. Perhaps I could ask why you want to live over there. If it's because its a cool place and lovely and sunny etc etc great. It might be a mistake to assume there is more work though.
Good luck
Jack
Old 5th July 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Heres another more realistic solution though. (!)

Enroll in education of some sort. EG...Go to musicians institute. Join the engineering course or maybe guitar or whatever. It cost about 8k (USD) in 94. You breeze through for a bit then switch to the erasmus program, which is for pros who cant be there all the time. You dont have any comitments, but you can use the facilities if you wish. You basically dont have to go at all, but you retain your visa, and you can get it signed by the school if you need to go home for a couple of weeks. This buys you a year in which you can try to get established. Education is always a valid reason to be in any country. You might even meet the girl of your dreams!
J
Old 5th July 2002
  #4
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never
Never

Overstay your visa, - You MUST leave before it expires. My flatmate just got sent back directly form LAX for a few oversays, (one a 4 day one a 9 day all on their computer system) it looks like his chances of going back (he has a girlfriend there) are ruined now.

Another friend just left 2 HOURS before his visa expired, but that is cool, techincally, he had NOT overstayed.

BTW the Brits give Americans a hard time when they come to the UK for long periods.

IF you go over on a holliday visa - DO NOT have ANYTHING in you luggage or on your person that indicates you are there for anything BUT a holliday.

If you buy into a business, that CAN in some cases get you a green card..but it is a long drawn out process.

Finally - Never overstay your visa! Return and re enter with a fresh visa.
Old 5th July 2002
  #5
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

open up the borders to rivers running green...

sounds like a total bitch.
Old 5th July 2002
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Yeah thats absolutely right. They do keep a track on when you leave. It's not up to the individual immigration officers vigilance either, it comes up on the screen when they process you. Equally dont try to hide anything you shouldn't. There is a rather amusing section on the back of the waiver form with 5 or 6 yes or no tick boxes. The things you have to answer range from 'are you or have you ever been involved with nazi germany' to 'are you entering the united states with the intention of commiting terrorist acts'. I can just imagine Osama etc at the airport 'Oh no! look on the back! Thats us stuffed then.' No, obviously there are legal things that have to be satisfied if they need to get rid of you. But there is a question about being refused a visa. I was refused a visa in 96 and first returned on waiver about 4 years later. I decided to tick the 'yes' box and risk it. They were totally fine about it. No problem. If I had lied and it had come up on the computer, it would have rubber glove time, no two ways about it.
There are legal requirements for you to be refused entry. They wont do it just cos they dont like the look of you. As Jules says, if you're loaded down with all your worldly goods, they're going to be very very suspicious. You also need a return flight, and a valid address at which you're staying. If you think you might have a potential problem you need to take evidence of strong ties in your home country. Strong ties don't include your Mum living here. I tried that one. You need things like a solvent business etc. . If they find that you've cancelled all your bills and sold your car, their little antennae are going to quiver like effing mad. Ask the embassy if it could be a problem. They're very helpful actually
Good luck
Jack
Old 5th July 2002
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
vsl666's Avatar
 

thanks 4 advice



thanks 4 your advice gentelmen ..

i have looked into it a bit since my 1st post and blimey !
i am going over to sign an act if i can ...

i may try for a b1 visa .. (buisness) which gives me 6 months and i am allowed meetings and such + can get six month extension and possible upgrading to p1 -p2 (performer)

i hate paperwork !

..and i will


never
never
never
never
never
never///// oustay my visagrggt

if i ever get one ..

thanks again...

sly ..bet your manner is hectic this week !


Old 15th July 2002
  #8
Lives for gear
 
joris de man's Avatar
visa

Hey guys,

I just started reading this thread. Next year, I might have to go over to the States to have some of my music mixed. I'll be recording some filmscore-like orchestral stuff with an orchestra and want to have it mixed by a score mixer.
My question is: how much hassle will I have when I show up at LAX with a powerbook and a couple of firewiredrives, and probably some tape?
Do I need to get a special visa for this? I was intending on taking a bit of a holiday after the stuff is mixed....

Cheers,

Joris de Man
Old 15th July 2002
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Andy Sneap's Avatar
 

This has been a real issue for me, I end up in the states probably 8 times a year, some for work, some business meetings, some pleasure and sometimes to do the odd gig. Between you and me and the internet, if it's your first trip your probably in the same position as alot of people and if you don't need to be there more than three months, you'll get in on a normal visitors visa, providing you have your story straight and no gear etc, it's at your risk though, and I'm not saying you should do this.Are you actually working (earning) in US or just gaining experience etc?? If you can get someone to sponsor you, do it as you have enough time, call either the Traffic Control Group or Harrison Curtis solicitors in London (numbers are available at Directory enquiries) and they will sort everything out, it's not cheap, but you can get a six month visa. I always do this, get the label to foot the bill also. Never overstay your visa, that's a big no no.
Old 15th July 2002
  #10
Lives for gear
 
joris de man's Avatar
Thanks Andy,

This would be for a mixsession, which itself would last something like 2-3 days. I wouldn't be earning, just sitting in on the session as a composer, making sure everything is ok.
After that I would take 2 weeks of vacation and head back home.
But I'm unsure whether you would need a 'travellers' visa or a 'business' one, since I would be bringing along some HD's with the sessions (in Protools).

Cheers,

Joris
Old 16th July 2002
  #11
On a trip like that volunteering your work plans would be like walking into the lions jaws.

What are you going to be doing most of the time? Being 'on holiday' right?

Why 'complicate' the reasons for your trip? Some 'audio tourism' is reasonable ain't it?

Think about it.....
Old 16th July 2002
  #12
Lives for gear
 
joris de man's Avatar
Hey Jules,

Thanks for your reply. Agreed, it wouldn't be too smart, but on the other hand, you wouldn't want to get into trouble when you're checking in your luggage when you leave, and customs starts to wonder what those harddisks are for

Then again, I did the same thing to russia last year, and it wasn't a problem, but I got the impression in the states that customs is a lot more thorough there....

Cheerio,

Joris
Old 16th July 2002
  #13
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

um, why bother with the HD's? just upload them to a server and then DL the files when you get over here... might take a LITTLE time [im sure you could find a location with broadband] but im sure less than having to deal with the hassles of bringing the drives over, although i cant really imagine why that would be a hassle either.

the world needs to just open up the borders.
Old 16th July 2002
  #14
Gear Nut
 
Andy Sneap's Avatar
 

No , your fine with that, I've taken gtrs, laptops, harddrives etc in on a 3 month visa and been fine. You're through passport control before customs anyhow, you have songs on the hard drive to play a label...business meetings...that's all fine.
Old 16th July 2002
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Diginerd's Avatar
 

I've walked in with a Mac in a box, Couple of interfaces and a buch of stuff for a session.

Immigration were cool, customs just wanted to know that it was all going back with me. When they asked what I was doing I said giving some demonstrations (Technically true).

They're more concerned if you turn up with all your worldly goods, no return ticket and wearing an "I love the USA" tee shirt..

You should be fine, just don't overstay your visa waiver!!
Old 16th July 2002
  #16
"you have songs on the hard drive to play a label...business meetings."

You have your hobby on the hard drive and are going to play with it while on holliday. Come on guys! Get with it! You aren't allowed to do ANY business at all.
Old 16th July 2002
  #17
Lives for gear
 

The golden rule still remains....If in doubt, be able to provide solid evidence of ties to your home country. The embassy will advise you on what that might be. Have enough money! If they find themselves looking down the business end of a load of pro audio gear, tell them you are coming over to have your material mixed in the US. Tell them the Americans are so much better and you are getting something done while you sit in the sun and spend cash. Have some evidence to back that up. They will want to know 1. Where you are staying and 2. That you have a clear means to support yourself while visiting, and 3. That you have a return ticket. If you can do that, there'll be no problem at all.

I had heard when I was in LA in march, that they were not allowing electrical stuff onto planes. That was supposed to include guitars. This came from a friend who lives in LA and tours in Europe. She had to arrange for some european distributers to provide gear on loan for some european dates, as she was advised that she would not be allowed to take a guitar on the plane. I will try to check that, but it sounds like bollocks to me, but it may have been true for a while at the end of last year.

J
Old 17th July 2002
  #18
Gear Nut
 
Diginerd's Avatar
 

On the Standard Green Visa Waiver you are allowed to do business, just not be employed or paid for what you are doing by a US company / individual.
Old 17th July 2002
  #19
If you look 'counter cultural" in any way or like a 'party down dude' type, I would skip any mention of the music biz or musical projects and dress a bit more conservatively than usual. But I am starting to belabor my view so I will stop now.. Whatever you decide to do obviously you have to feel comfortable with.
Old 17th July 2002
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Andy Sneap's Avatar
 

, Hey Jules, You can have business meetings etc on visitors visa no problems, it's just if you're going to work. No problems with gtrs on planes either, though they'll stick them underneath.
Old 17th July 2002
  #21
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Andy Sneap
, Hey Jules, You can have business meetings etc on visitors visa no problems, it's just if you're going to work. No problems with gtrs on planes either, though they'll stick them underneath.
I think that depends on the airline and the number of people on the plane. Most of the guys I know carry guitars in soft bags, and no one's complained about them being taken away and stowed underneath.
Old 18th July 2002
  #22
I had to nearly produce tears as I boarded the plane to prevent my NYC bought 1953 Gibson SJ ($500!!) "It's older than I am!" from being thrown last min into the hold on my flight back to the UK.. It already had a (sustainable) crack in the body and old master syle cracks in the sunburst varnish... I felt it would have perished....



But today...probably no chance of getting it on board... understandably...
Old 18th July 2002
  #23
Gear Nut
 
Andy Sneap's Avatar
 

Quote:
But today...probably no chance of getting it on board... understandably...
You could Hijack the plane within one minute by playing that indie rock, you'd have people heading for the exit in seconds, very dangerous stuff and I'm glad they've taken note of this.
Old 18th July 2002
  #24
Gear Head
 
soapbox's Avatar
 

FWIW, as an American going to London to work for a Japanese recording artist, I didn't have to apply for a work visa because I was going to be paid upon returning to the US by money wired from Japan. How's that for international?

That was almost a decade ago. I had fun working in London. We were among the first clients at the AIR Studios Lyndhurst Hall location. Man, is that place gorgeous!
Old 18th July 2002
  #25
That may be the case Andy, but if I were in your shoes I would be wary of the new HEAVY METAL detecters they are using these days!
heh
Old 19th July 2002
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Yeah. Also I usually try to resist working my way through 17 large vodkas on the flight. With varied success.

I checked up on the flying with guitars issue. If it was the case right after the terrorist attacks last year, it is not now. I did find out one other useful thing though. British Airways have just introduced a weight restriction of 40kg on individual baggage items. You cannot pay excess, the limit is final. Obviously that would be a lot of spare pairs of socks etc, but even a small rack of compressors or whatever could easily be over. I was talking to an engineer the other day who was just over in LA doing live midi on a show. His rack was 185kg. The new restrictions came in while they were over there. When they tried to get back, they were told that the rack would have to be shipped as freight on a different plane. The tour manager suggested quite reasonably that seeing as how BA had flown it over there, they could f***ing well fly it back again. Luckily they relented, but apparently it will be a problem in future. The engineer also told me a horror story about security in the US...When they tried to fly on another occasion, they had to put everything through xray. They had a large rack that wouldn't fit in the machine, and the security guys told them it would need to be swabbed for traces of explosives. They said fine. The guy comes back and tells them that the case is covered with explosive residue and wants to know why. They are at this point, slightly concerned that it's in danger of becoming a rubber glove sort of situation. As it turned out, the problem was that the rack had been covered with residue from a pyrotechnics display. It was ok in the end, but almost a show stopper for a while.

J
Old 20th July 2002
  #27
Gear Nut
 
Andy Sneap's Avatar
 

I've had the explosive swab thing, coming home through Franfurt. My band in US use alot of Pyro and ofcourse it shows up on anything, they were ok though. The funniest incident for me was when my flight from JFK was diverted to Amsterdam and then into Birminham because of bad weather, and ofcourse, having hair to your waist and coming back from the dam doesn't bode well. They did a swab test on my passport (the outside plastic cover), found a trace of Cannabis, (a small brown spec, tiny!) . How I smiled as they went though the dirty laundry.
Old 26th July 2002
  #28
Lives for gear
 
TinderArts's Avatar
 

I travel from the US often and I register my equipment, including hard drives, with US customs before I leave. This registration only needs to be updated if you change the list. They gave me paperwork that's quite helpful when I'm in a foriegn country and it makes going back through US customs much easier. There may be something similar in the UK.
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