How to get another foreigner into the US?
June 30, 2006 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Can I get my fiance in the US? I'm a Canadian grad student in the US on an F-1 visa. My fiance is a citizen of New Zealand. We're looking for a way to bring her here that will let her work (we're both far too poor to make things work with an F-2). Right now, her entering the Green Card lottery seems to be the best option, but is there anything we're not thinking of?

We've both been looking for jobs she can apply for, but the region I'm in doesn't seem to have a great job market, even for the locals (Albany region in NY). She's got a four-year university degree from a prestigious school in Japan, but jobs in her field are not very common or lucrative so an H1-B visa seems like only a distant possibility.

Or.. Should I pack up and finish school in New Zealand? This isn't out of the question, but I'd face issues finding a good academic fit.

So, is there a way she can come to the US so that we won't both be living on cup noodle, or should we wait until I get a proper job?
posted by mariokrat to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't help you get your fiancee into the US. However, have you considered returning to Canada? You can sponsor your fiancee to immigrate to Canada. If you can't find a school that's a fit in Canada, maybe you could live along the border and commute to (another) school in the US every day. You didn't mention how long you have left in school. That detail might help with suggestions.
posted by acoutu at 11:08 PM on June 30, 2006

The lottery is... a lottery. You might as well go illegal and hope for amnesty as enter it.
posted by A189Nut at 1:29 AM on July 1, 2006

Yeah you're hooped. The lottery is a drag, but the odds are better than getting amnesty. Under the proposed Senate immigration bill, amnesty is only for an alien [sic] that was "was physically present in the United States on or before the date that is 5 years before April 5, 2006" (cite).

For Australians, I remember reading (sorry no cite) that the odds of winning the green card lottery were something like 1 in 72; I would assume that the numbers for New Zealand would be similar. Enter in October and you're still waiting by the mailbox in July. Details about the DV-2008 lottery are not yet available but even if you won the first time you entered, your fiance will not be able to enter the US to work until October 1, 2007, and you couldn't know for sure whether or not you lost until end of July 2007. By the way - apparently the proposed House immigration bill has an amendment that will abolish the green card lottery (cite). So don't count on it for future years.

Applications for H-1Bs these days go fast and furious. This year, applications began April 1 for 65,000 H-1Bs that don't become valid until October 1, 2006. These visas were taken by May 26. That means your fiance could not enter the US an H-1B visa until October 1, 2007, assuming she has a job offer and applies on April 1, 2007. The proposed Senate immigration bill will raise the H-1B cap to 115,000 (cite, see section 523).

There are short-term seasonal visas available (H-2A and H-2B) of less than 1 year duration, but she'd have to work on a farm (H-2A) or "construction, health care, landscaping, lumber, manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services" (H-2B). For details, see the list of visas and cap information. The FY 2006 cap for H-2B visas has already been reached.

I assume that if either of you have family in the US that could sponsor you then you would have explored that option already.

Is she at all interested in graduate school in the US? Otherwise it's Canada or New Zealand for you.
posted by crazycanuck at 4:41 AM on July 1, 2006

I got in under the lottery. It's definetely worth a try. Especially from a small country like NZ.
posted by fshgrl at 11:57 AM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks Crazycanuck and all. She's on the fence about grad school, and I've got a lot left to go, unless I decide to move somewhere else after the Master's. Hopefully something else will come up..
posted by mariokrat at 3:13 PM on July 1, 2006

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