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rocketpanda

Leaving your country for the USA

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Hello everyone,

following a small discussion on this thread http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=26183 and from a Daveglanz idea, I'm writing you to ask about your personal experience if you left your country for the USA to work there as motion graphics designer.

 

I'm also writing to know if there are people planning to do that, and how hard they think this might be.

 

I'd also like to leave Italy for the US but I'm scared about these few things: vacation visa / job visa / green card / bureaucracy / cost of life / language difficulties / anything else?

 

In case US residents want to give any kind of advice, they're welcome!

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The US is the land of opportunity. Getting a greencard is not easy, getting a work visa is not easy. Cost of life varies greatly. beurocracy is a bitch ( im dealing with it right now).

 

You should probably learn english before going there. Watch a lot of tv shows from amercia.

 

anything else: let people help you. contrary to popular belief i have found americans to be very kind and helpful.

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rng.jpg

 

It's an unfair stereotype (aren't they all), but most non-americans see the States on TV. If you go by the TV image, US citizens spend all day hunting and shooting each other.

Edited by destro

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dontworry-imfromtheinternet.jpg

 

or something very wall streety... =P

 

[edit]: also the whole, invade every country policy doesn't help.... ;P

Edited by vozzz

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I don't know much about moving to the US but i'm definitely another person very interested to hear from anyone who has done this.

 

I'm still struggling to work out if you can get a temporary work visa to just rock up and try and find work or if you have to be sponsored before you can even start working.

 

I currently work in the UK but am looking to try and take the plunge next year and head San Francisco way.......Less rednecks there :P

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dontworry-imfromtheinternet.jpg

 

or something very wall streety... =P

 

[edit]: also the whole, invade every country policy doesn't help.... ;P

 

Rich statement coming from a Russian. Chechnya, Georgia ring any recent history bells perhaps?

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I currently work in the UK but am looking to try and take the plunge next year and head San Francisco way

 

Yup, SF is one of my targets too...

 

I'll try to tell you what I've heard about how to get there and work: the best way to get a work in the US is to work in your country to gain enough money to "survive" for the first three months, during wich you won't be able to work (officially) because of the tourist visa,

After that, you'll have to pay a lawyer (around 5000$) to help you with all the paper stuff to get the working visa, you could do it on your own, but I've been told it's crazy bureaucracy...

Oh, not to mention you have to leave USA after tourist visa decays.

You also have to bring references from your customers as personal "portfolio".

Then there's some kind of exams to do, after wich, if you succeed, you get the visa, if you don't... you get back.

 

That's what I've been told from a friend that knows a guy in NY, but I'm waiting to have a skype call with him, hopefully soon, to get the details.

 

Sounds crazy huh? It IS crazy.

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Rich statement coming from a Russian. Chechnya, Georgia ring any recent history bells perhaps?

 

 

I don't think Russians make a very friendly impression either, whats your point?

 

edit: @rocket panda: Yup, that's pretty much how it is. Im at the point where i've left the USA and now having fun with beurocracy, thankfully as an australian, I get an E3 visa, which doesnt really need a lawyer and only costs a couple of hundred bucks. Still a bloody pain though, especially if you don't have a degree. No idea how tough the process of proving my skills will be... sigh...

Edited by vozzz

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I don't know much about moving to the US but i'm definitely another person very interested to hear from anyone who has done this.

 

I'm still struggling to work out if you can get a temporary work visa to just rock up and try and find work or if you have to be sponsored before you can even start working.

 

I currently work in the UK but am looking to try and take the plunge next year and head San Francisco way.......Less rednecks there :P

 

not much happening in SF these days. i hope it picks up though because i'd love to move back home!

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first off, in case you haven't figured it out already, about 80% of all the work in the US is shared between LA and nyc (LA having the most), with the entire rest of the country sharing the other 20%. i will be so bold as to say that i am not exaggerating. then a second tier would probably be chicago/atlanta/seattle and then i would put sf at tier three (i've been freelancing here 10 years). even though this is a huge ad agency center, LA is like a big vortex that sucks away most of the projects, budgets and people away from sf. yeah so anyway, if you're concerned about work, you straight up need to go to LA or nyc, particularly in this shitty recession. then maybe once you have your legal & networking shit worked out, move to somewhere for the quality of life rather than just for work.

 

also, here is a dirty little secret about our industry: shops like foreigners. at least shops that are on the more competitive side. that's because in LA and nyc the freelance market is good, so any good designer/animator with half a brain will decide to go freelance and make 2x the money, or alternately work half as much. but when you have a talented employee that is obligated to work staff for you via visa sponsorship, then you no longer have to worry about that. so if you have a dynamite reel, try sending it out.

 

best of luck & hope this somehow helps.

Edited by jaan

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Just watched your reel, and I think you could get sponsored in LA with some time spent and connections. Also, everything Jaan said re: SF is correct- The money in our field here is pretty much in Tech. Your reel seems geared towards broadcast and entertainment.

 

c

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Saw this post and I thought I would let you know my experiences so far.

 

My experience is with a UK to US move but I imagine most countries are similar. I am also trying to make the move and have already exhausted some options, if anyone knows more than me please help and check out my work here www.andypdawson.com

 

You have a few visa options:

 

H1b: working visa

 

to qualify for an H1 you have to have a degree or a lot of experience, and the company willing to employ you has to pay your fees. After speaking with an immigration lawyer I found the main problems with this are 1. finding the job in the first place without spending time doing illegal work in the states first. 2. apparently in animation it is difficult to prove you need a degree. 3. the company not only has to pay your fees but has to pay you the top average salary in the area for what you do. 4. If you are not single then your partner cannot work in the US.

 

L1: transfer visa

 

This visa is used for inter company transfers. for example an agency that has offices both in London and LA. Difficulties for this are they are mostly used for executives or people with a high unique skill set. Obviously you would have to work for that company for a while to build up a good enough relationship to send you over there in the first place.

 

J1: internships

 

A great option for any students or recent grads, because you get to learn and apply for jobs while you are in the states. The difficulty is finding an internship if you are not a student and finding one that is good enough to support a visa application. Your partner can also apply for a work permit on a J2. Depending on your country you could have to stay out of the US for 2 years though after your visa has expired!

 

Green Card

 

This is a very long and difficult process. You have to prove that nobody else can do what you do by advertising fully for the position you are applying for. Finding a person to say they will hire you is the easy part if you have good people skills and are willing to spend some time in the US on a tourist visa. The difficulties come in proving you are unique and in the field of motion design in LA and New York that's not going to be easy.

 

Another option is if you have a lot of money saved. If you don't have a family then an E2 investor visa has a higher success rate and your partner gets a full working visa. The downside is you have to invest a minimum of $150,000 dollars in a US company and even if you have that, proving that it is enough to grow a company in this climate is very difficult.

 

I hope some of this is helpful and not too depressing, but really I think the best option is if you are single, save some money and get out there on your tourist visa and start meeting people. Also just keep getting better and making sure you have a unique skillset and somebody will want to hire you and be willing to pay for your visa.

 

Oh thats another thing. Don't even think that it could be cheap, because the lawyer fees are just the beginning. The visa application fees and travel costs during the process just keep adding up!

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I have a quick question for the UK kids...

 

What is the good part of town to live in regards to working in post/broadcast/motion/edit/design? It seems most shops are in Soho right? Is it a pretty doable commute living in Dalston? Any recommendations or if anyone knows of an available apartment would be great! Thanks!

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Douglas, I've not heard of Dalston but the only place I can find is in Cumbria, is that correct? In which case that is definitely not commutable to London, would take you most of the day!

 

I'm not from London but have recently been going to a interviews down there as I'm looking to stop there for a year or so to really gain experience, most of these tend to be around Soho, Covent Garden, Tottenham Road area or further east around liverpool street/Brick Lane. Although to be honest there seems to be work all over London at the moment. Hope that helps

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Thanks everyone for the tips and for taking your time to write about your different experiences.

Indeed, andypawson's post is more than explanatory, and that merely makes everything sound complicated and harder than I could imagine...

 

 

2. apparently in animation it is difficult to prove you need a degree.

 

Not sure what you mean here... Maybe you meant that you actually need to have a degree or equivalent to be considered...?

I noticed a lot of studios ask for a graphic or similar degree...

 

Also it seems like if you're single, it's kind of easier... I'd try, believe me, I'd really try and go there, I really WANT to work in the U.S. and, usually, when I really want something, I will do anything to get it.

The problem is I'm not single, and how would my girlfriend reach me there? I would do anything to work in the US but I can't oblige her to go through all the process as I would...

 

Seems there's not much of a choice... oh, and I don't have 150.000 bucks under the matress unfortunately....

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There is a Dalston, in Cumbria. But there's also one in East London, about a mile from the city/shoreditch & Old Street. Estate agents call it 'Trendy Dalston' so beware inflated rents like much of round here. It's well connected by overland train and the East London line. Kingsland Rd (main road going from Shoreditch to Dalston) turns into Stoke Newington Hight St, which is 'nicer' I suppose, lots of pushchairs on a Sunday... cupcakes, that kinda thing.

 

I live and work East and really like the area. You can get to Soho within about half an hour, maybe a bit more depending on where you live and proximity to a tube or overland station. It's not a big commute by London standards at all.

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Hey,

I'm London based, just thought I'd share what I know about London living.

Douglas, you're right in thinking that most motion / design work is probably central / soho based. That said, there's lots of companies dotted all over London doing video work. My current job has me working just west of Central London. (Near Notting Hill Gate, but Hugh Grant is seldom to be seen.) There are also several creative / design places around East London, Shoreditch being home to a few design houses. As mentioned, Shoreditch and Dalston are awash with trendy kids. If you think living in close proximity with people like this might frustrate you, look elsewhere: (possibly NSFW)

South, north and far east London are pretty residential. Whilst a south London abode can geographically quite close to central, transport links are typically worse. This makes rent prices favourable though. Hackney seems to be quite a popular area to live too. I live in South London and cycle to work, since the tube can make me feel pretty suicidal.

 

I currently have a Visa to work in Canada for a year from its activation. Does anyone know if there's much motion / design work out in Toronto? Or have any experience with moving out there?

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Thank you, very good to know. I'd be interested in knowing where other Motion Design people live in London as well.

i have a friend offering a place off the Canary Wharf stop (Jubilee line)... would that work well? Is that a decent area or no-mans-land?

Edited by Douglas

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Wow - good to see that this thread filled out.

 

What I'm really curious about is, (and I guess this applies to people who have been working outside their home country) - how does this affect your quality of life? Do you miss being close to your family/parents/friends from home? Personally, I can't imagine having to fly overseas every time I wanted to see my family...

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