Living in New York: what you need to know before you start

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcia
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Visas to live in New York

First of all, know that to live in New York, you will need a Visa authorizing it. Also, several visas such as J1, 1-2, E1, H1B, P-XNUMX and O allow you to reside in the big apple. Here is some information on which one would suit you best and how to get it.



F-1 and M-1 visas, for students

If you are still a student and want to live in New York during your studies, know that it is possible. For this, you will have to participate in a partnership between your university and an American, or enroll directly in a New York school. Make sure that the latter is recognized by the government, so that you can apply for an F-1 or M-1 visa.

You will then need to complete the DS-160 form, provide a copy of your passport and proof that you have sufficient financial means. Note that this process will cost you about $ 200 in administrative fees. You can pay for these online or by mail.

Once you have one of these visas in your pocket, you will have the option of staying 30 more days (M-1 visa) or even 60 (F-1 visa). However, you will not be allowed to work on site.

The J-1 visa, for interns and trainees

The J-1 visa is for people wishing to make a internship or a "trainee program" (training, in a way). To obtain this visa, you must be between 18 and 38 years old. Then you must be sponsored by the company where you plan to do your internship. Otherwise, turn to a specialized organization. The latter will serve as your sponsor, and will help you find an internship. That said, this will of course require additional costs, and you will need to count at least 1000€ to pay.



After registering with the private organization of your choice, you will need to complete the form DS-2019. The latter will thus be given to the American embassy or consulate. You will then just have to wait for your response, which shouldn't take more thana month and a half. Note that you cannot make this request outside of your country.

Once your J-1 visa is in your pocket, you can go to the United States one month before the start of the latter, and stay there one month after its end.

The J-1 “Trainee” visa

The visa concerns sectors such as agriculture, hotel industry, art, management and commerce, science, education and engineering. Find out in advance to be sure you fit into the category.

Also you must have a Graduate Diploma and at least one year of professional experience in your chosen field. You don't have a university degree? In this case, you must be able to justify five years of experience professionals in your sector.

Then, a J-1 visa cannot be issued if the position does not require any particular skills or if it requires the care of children or the elderly. In addition, the company that will welcome you to its “Trainee program” will have to prove that the position you will occupy could not be carried out by an employee of the company.

Finally, be aware that you can benefit from a second J-1 Trainee visa, if you can justify 24 months of work or studies elsewhere than in the United States.


The J-1 “Intern” Visa

If you are still a student or recently graduated (less than a year), you can opt for a J-1 visa to do an internship. The conditions are the same as for the J-1 Trainee visa, and you will need to find an internship in your field of activity.


Then, depending on the length of your internship, your visa will be valid between one month and one year. You can then apply for a second J-1 intern visa if you can prove that you have worked or studied for 6 months between your two J-1 visas, elsewhere than in the United States.

Finally, be aware that you can also get a J-1 visa in certain situations. This is the case for example for au pairs, seasonal workers, camp leaders, students, researchers, teachers. So find out well in advance, your situation may be part of it!

And the good thing about the J-1 visa is that you can get a social Security, which is significant!

The E2 Visa, for investors

Then there is the possibility of applying for an E2 visa, if you want to invest in the United States. It will allow you to live on site for up to 5 years, with your possible spouse and children under 21.

For this, you will need to make an investment in the country and present a business plan to an immigration lawyer. Also, your shares in the company must represent at least 50%.


Also, and even if there is no official minimum amount, a amount of $ 100,000 will offer better chances. And then, the E2 visa offers many advantages. For example, you will have access to Obamacare and the issuance of a work permit to the spouse of the concerned. You will also be able to enter and leave the territory as you see fit.

Finally, the E2 visa can be renewed once the expiry of the 5 années, and unlimited, if the company is sustainable. Otherwise, you will have to leave the territory. That being said, note that you will not be able to work only for the company in which you have invested.


The H1B Visa, for employees

Finally, there is also the H1B visa, very popular with foreigners. The latter is a work visa granted to people hired in an American company. While this sounds simple, the reality is somewhat different. First of all, the number of people applying for this visa is very high. Then, the state only issues 65.000 in total per year. A positive response is therefore not guaranteed.

Also, in order to be allowed to employ you, your company must be able to prove that your qualifications or experiences are unique and could not have been replaced by a US citizen.

In order to apply for an H1B visa, you must be a professional in the economic, medical, legal, chemical, IT or educational fields. You owe it to yourself to have a Bachelor degree in your field and be sponsored by the company wishing to hire you.

Other visas, for seasonal workers, artists and high-level professionals

Finally, if you don't fit into any of the categories mentioned above, don't panic. Note that there are other visas that allow you to reside in the United States.

Among these, the P-1, P-2 and P-3 visas are aimed at sportsmen, artists and professionals of the television world. And then if you are a great athlete, well-known presenter or scientist, you could request a visa O. This is aimed at high-level professionals in certain fields. This particularly involves the artistic, educational, sports and scientific sectors. This visa is however for a limited period, and can be granted to you for a specific professional project. Do not hesitate to inquire on the official website of the United States Consulate.

Finally, the H-2B visa can be granted to you if you are a seasonal employee, and the L-1 visa to that of employees transferred between affiliates, and the P-1, P-2 and P-3 visas are intended artists, athletes and show business professionals.

The Greencard and the lottery

Finally, you can of course try your luck in the lottery to win the Greencard. The latter will offer you permanent residence and therefore the possibility of live in New York indefinitely. In addition, you will be allowed to work on the same basis as US citizens. You can inquire on the DV Lottery State website for additional information.

That said, this is only a question of luck, so don't rely too much on it, because you are not alone, and 50.000 greencards only are issued each year.

Finding work in New York

If you have not yet found a job in New York, know that it is possible but very difficult to do so from France. And especially if you have no prior contact with a local company.

That said, you can find regular information on sites such as Craigslist, Linkedin, Careerbuilder, as well as Facebook groups intended for jobs or French communities.

Finally, if you wish, know that the positions of AU pair are in demand, and it is a real bargain. Indeed, you will be fed, housed and paid in addition. And then, it will help you a lot to improve your English while discovering the city with locals. The perfect plan for a first experience in the United States. And then you will see if you would see yourself living in New York for the long term.

Finally, be aware that start-ups are also a good option when it comes to hiring, so don't hesitate to inquire!

Living in New York: The Cost of Living

New York rents

The Big Apple is a city very expensive, although very attractive. Also, before you make the decision to live in New York for a while, take into account all the elements that this entails.

In particular, at the financial level, think of the price of rent, outings, transport etc. Of course, this will all depend on your requirements and habits. It is possible to save some money by living for example in Brooklyn or Queens. You will be able to find a small studio for around $ 1500, while you will have to shell out over $ 2000 for the same in Manhattan.

Also, I strongly advise you to inquire about a roommate, which is often less expensive (from $ 1000 per room), and much nicer! You might find yourself with locals and other foreigners, which will allow you to discover other horizons, and the city in more detail.

That said, be prepared when looking for accommodation. Landlords will often ask you to have an annual income of 40 times the rent monthly. You will also be asked for a complete file, as well as a deposit of three months' rent.

Places are expensive and in demand, so don't wait! Find your accommodation, even two months in advance.

Miscellaneous expenses

Regarding your mobile and metro subscriptions, count at least $ 50 per month for the first. As for the second, a little over $ 110 will be needed for a monthly metro card.

For everything from grocery shopping and outings, you'll find everything from a good deal to a choice of luxury. So it's up to you to do according to your desires, but know all the same that the prices are higher than in France, as a general rule.

I hope I was able to help you see it a little more clearly, despite the few complications that visas present. And keep in mind that nothing is impossible, and especially not living in New York! So go for it, take a chance and believe it. You will not regret it, once you are comfortable in your beautiful New York studio, a stone's throw from your favorite café ...

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