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Immigration Issues/Obtaining a work visa

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QUESTION: I met a lovely woman in May of this year while visiting my daughter in England. She came out here for 2 weeks in September and we had a wonderful holiday together. We want to take the next step in our relationship and have just started looking into our options.  We are both in our 50's and work - she works in the hotel industry in England & I'm working for a non-profit organization in New Mexico. Our perfect scenario would be for her to move here & get a job. I live in a tourist town & it shouldn't be too hard for her to find work - but the regulations seem so limited for her getting a work visa & it would be a tight squeeze living on my salary.  What would you suggest for our situation?

ANSWER: It is a tough situation. If you are not ready to get married, then I suspect it will have to be a long-distance relationship, peppered with brief visits back and forth. She can try to apply for a job that would provide here with a temporary work visa, but that would depend upon the employer being willing to sponsor. If she is interested in starting a business, she may be able to come in on an E visa (exchange investor visa). This requires a "substantial" investment of roughly $100,000 to get approved easily. She could come as a student, and then request work authorization, but that strikes me as rather convoluted.  

best of luck.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply, it feels great to finally connect with a knowledgable & helpful source.  Our plans now are for her to come out here again for 90 days and we had some questions about that. I've read that if she comes out for no more than 90 days, that she doesn't need a visa, is that correct in this case?  You also mentioned her getting an employer sponsor - if she gets a job offer while here will she have to go back to England to apply for a temporary work visa?  Also, I was under the impression that only jobs of a highly professional nature were valid - if she gets a solid job offer as a hotel receptionist could she get a visa from that?
Again - thank you so much.
Don

Answer
Ok. If she is a citizen of the UK, she can enter the US on a visa waiver program for 90 days. A B1 visa is better, but they generally don't want to give them out unless you have a specific reason since you can come in on a waiver anytime. Now if she is here, and gets a job, she will have to leave and go back to the UK to get the visa worked out.  As for your impression about job opportunities, you are correct. She would need to have at least a college level education and the job would need to require such an education. So it sounds to me like a receptionist job would not qualify.

Good luck.

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Alexander J. Hay

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I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".

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I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

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Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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