The American dream: visas and pathways to living in the US.

The United States of America, many people dream to live and work here but how is it possible? Generally speaking you need qualifications or equivalent work experience to get a work permit however here are some of the visa types I am familiar with. From my experience the US is one of the hardest places to get a working visa.

L1 visa: one of the more straight forward visas, this visa is available if you have worked for an international company in another part of the world and can get a transfer to the US office. This visa is eligible for a path to permanent residency.

E3: if you are an Australian citizen this is the visa for you. Renewable every 2 years and available with a job offer. The role does require a labor skills assessment and you need a degree or experience equivalent to get the visa. The hardest part is getting a job offer.

Diversity Lottery: controversial and the Trump government has this on their list to remove but at present is a lottery which takes place once a year in October for Permanent Residency (Green Card). One of the easier ways of getting a visa and I actually know 5 people who have won this. (All had university qualifications)

H1B: another visa which is being scrutinized at present, mainly due to the number of recruitment companies who are abusing this visa and repurposing it. This visa is big in the tech space and is for specialized roles. These positions are supposed to be hard to fill roles and in demand in the US. This visa also leads to permanent residency.

J1- if you were ever contemplating being an Au Pair this is the visa for you. You can participate in the Au Pair program for a year and live and work in the US as an Au Pair. We are currently looking to sponsor an Au Pair as we are looking at child care options once I head back to work at the end of the year. This visa does not lead to PR.

There are other types of visas out there but above are the more common working visas. Please note these are my experiences and information on the visa types above are my opinions. For more information check the US department of state for more information.

10 ‘must see’ attractions in San Francisco

#1: Golden Gate Bridge

There are many ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge. You can walk all the way along the Embarcadero, over Fort Mason for a view. You can visit Chrissy Field or Baker Beach for a closer view or walk over the bridge and take in the sites. My favorite is walking or cycling over from the Golden Gate visitor center.

#2: Painted Ladies

The park across the road has recently been renovated so you are once again able to get a great view of the Painted Ladies. Just note people live and own these houses. Don’t be one of those tourists to take pictures in the driveway or on their steps. I see tourists doing that all the time and it must be so annoying!

#3: Coit tower

One of the best, if not the best views of the city in the city. Try to go mid week when it’s less busy or even better during the winter months.

#4: Lombard Street

The most crooked street in the world is definitely worth a visit. If you have a car, driving is even better!

#5: Alcatraz

If you are planning a trip to San Francisco book your tickets way in advance. I went in 2008 and managed to get tickets easily however I’ve been told since living in the city that you need to plan in advance to ensure you get to see this spectacle.

#6: Fisherman’s Wharf

A very tourist focused area of San Francisco but there’s lots to see from the San Francisco Aquarium, Bubba Gump Shrimp, lots of crab restaurants and food outlets.

#7: AT&T Park- Giants Stadium

If you are visiting San Francisco around April-September generally you can get a ticket to a baseball game. Groupon and goldstar normally have discounted tickets so also check these sites. Great atmosphere and if you can afford it get club seats as these are the better ones.

#8: Clarion Alley

Great, generally political graffiti street art in the Mission. While you are there check out one of the numerous great eateries. Everything from the famous Mission burrito to craftsman and wolves bakery. There’s definitely something for everyone.

#9: Lands End

A labyrinth of walking trails along the coastline. Best on a sunny day free of fog so you can enjoy views of the Golden Gate.

#10: Ferry to Sausalito

Take a ferry from the Ferry Building over to Sausalito and grab an ice cream, take a wonder round the shops and even grab a bite to eat. Best part about the ferry is you can use your clipper transit card on this particular ferry as well!

One last tip. When you are in San Francisco, never call it San Fran EVER 😝

10 ‘not so’ touristy things to do in San Francisco

After living exactly 2 years and 7 months in Mission Bay, San Francisco I feel like I ticked most, if not all tourist attractions off my list. When you are living in a city you want to try and find some of the less touristy places to explore and with this post comes the top 10 ‘not so’ touristy attractions in San Francisco. I can guarantee these Wont be on the big red bus stops 😉

#1: hike up the 16th Ave tiled steps

#2: take in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from baker beach

#3: watch a concert or a baseball game from The Yard

#4: stroll through Balmy Alley and view the graffiti art in the Mission.

#5: go to a concert at Bottom of the Hill

#6: catch the E tram from Mission Rock to Fisherman’s wharf

#7: take the ferry to Angel island and hike. Best views of San Francisco from the water.

#8: eat the poke at Atwater tavern

#9: drink beers in the sun at Reds Java house

#10:head to the ferry building on Saturday between 8-2pm for the farmers market