How To Live And Live In New York?
New York is a city like no other, and to discover it during a stay is often to fall in love with it. If you dream of moving to the United States and living in New York, you’ve probably heard that it’s impossible.
That’s not entirely true – but you have to admit that getting the right to live and work in New York is sometimes a real obstacle course
In this post, I will present the different ways to reach your goal, and the steps that will be necessary to prepare your project and successfully settle in New York
Preparing To Live The American Dream
Going to live on the other side of the world is not an easy task, and it is important to be well aware that living year-round in a city is a very different experience from that which you could have simply passing through a few weeks there as a tourist.
If you are a citizen of one of the member countries of the European Union, then you will need a travel authorization ( ESTA ) to travel to the United States. It will allow you to stay in New York for a maximum period of 3 months. During this period, however, you will not have the right to work on American soil. As French, you will not need a visa for New York if you plan to stay less than 3 months in the city!
However, this 3-month period will allow you to prepare your plan to come and live in New York. You will already be able to get an idea of the way of life of New Yorkers, the cost of living in New York and the atmosphere of the less touristy areas of the city.
During this period, you can begin to project yourself as a future inhabitant of the city. You will need to know how you will earn your living once you are allowed to work, find out about your obligations, weigh the pros and cons, and make sure you have the determination to take all the steps that will follow.
If you’re convinced that living in New York is what you want, then it’s time to get serious: get the right to stay in the United States longer, and get a job
The Different Ways To Obtain The Right To Reside And Work In New York
If like me, you are part of the average person, you will probably need to earn a living in order to live in New York. The cost of living is very high in New York, even more than in Paris, and having a job will be a necessity. But first of all, you will need to obtain legal authorization to work, i.e. a work visa or a green card. For this, you will have several options.
The Green Card Lottery
If you trust your lucky stars, and think living in New York is your destiny, you can try the Green Card Lottery. This lottery may seem like a last chance, to be tried only if all other possibilities have failed, but that is not necessarily the case.
This is an official lottery, which entitles 55,000 people each year to benefit from the Holy Grail: the famous Green Card, the permit that authorizes foreigners to live and work on United States soil from permanently, without the need for a visa.
This lottery is not entirely random; far from it in reality, since quotas are provided for according to nationality. Since European residents are far from being the most numerous to register for this lottery, they are also among those who have the best chance of winning a Green Card.
To give you an idea, on average in recent years, the French who participated in this draw have had between 1% and 2% chance of obtaining a Green Card. Registration for this draw is totally free, so it would be a shame not to try.
Be careful, if you are lucky enough to be selected, you will still have to pass an interview and be able to present your project, explaining in particular how you will earn your living.
Leaving To Study In New York
Thanks to a student visa, you will be able to obtain the right to study in New York. For this, it will be imperative that your training be recognized by the US government. You will also need to be able to prove that you have sufficient financial means to live in New York for a full year.
With a student visa, you can arrive on American soil 30 days before the start of your courses, and stay there for 30 to 60 days after the end of these.
If you have an F-1 Visa (the visa provided to university students) you will be able to benefit from Optional Practical Training (OTP) when you go to study in the United States, to obtain a Master’s or an MBA, for example. After studying for at least 1 year in New York, an OTP will allow you to work there for 1-3 years depending on your area of qualification. It is the equivalent of a paid internship (although it is actually a CDD).
The possibility of making an OPT is not automatic: you must meet several conditions, and make the request, of course. It will not necessarily be granted, it is the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) which issues or not the authorizations on study of the files.
Get A Work Visa
Now let’s talk about the most common solution, the work visa. I would first like to warn you, do not try to work without this authorization or without a Green Card, because you risk a ban on entering the territory of the United States for a period of 10 years. If you are reading these lines, I know that is certainly not what you want.
Many types of visas are offered in the United States, but in practice, it is your employer who will take the necessary steps to allow you to work legally. You will thus be able to obtain a “non-immigrant” visa, valid for a maximum period of 7 years.
Your best chance of being able to move to New York is therefore to canvass companies directly, by sending a CV and cover letter, and to hope that your profile will attract an employer who will be ready to take you under his wing.
Many French expatriates (and sometimes even today naturalized) having been there at some point in their life, contacting French companies, or who have a boss of French origin, can help you put more luck on your side..
Of course, if you have very specific qualifications, and in particular those that are most sought after in New York (hospitality, finance, science, etc.), you will interest potential employers much more easily.
The Immigrant-investor Visa, For Entrepreneurs
Not all of us are looking for salaried work, and it’s always possible to move to New York, even if you want to be your own boss. If this is your case, you will need to obtain an immigrant-investor visa.
As you will have noticed, this visa is not called “immigrant-entrepreneur”, and it is not for nothing. If you wish to have the authorization to create your company in the United States, you will have to invest a minimum sum of one million dollars. This capital can be reduced to 500,000 dollars in the event that your investment is made in a disadvantaged sector.
This solution therefore mainly concerns people who wish to open a business, a restaurant or any other type of business in New York. In addition to presenting a solid project, you will also have to commit to creating 10 jobs during your first 2 years of activity.
Other Ways To Obtain The Right To Live And Work In The United States
In addition to these fairly classic methods, you can obtain a work visa or a Green Card in many other ways, which are more aimed at specific cases:
- By marrying an American citizen,
- By having your employer expatriate you to New York, if you work in Europe in a company also present in the United States,
- If your spouse needs to move to the United States for work, you and your children will also have the option of obtaining a visa,
- By carrying out a VIE (International Volunteering in Business), a civic service abroad. You can leave for a mission of up to 18 months in New York. The main disadvantage is that the companies you work for will not be allowed to hire you, and this situation will therefore necessarily be temporary.
Find Year-round Accommodation In New York
Once you’ve been granted the right to come and work in New York, it’s time to really settle down. You will therefore need to find year-round accommodation. At first, you will have to choose in which district of New York you want to live or at least target your apartment searches.
To find an apartment in New York, you will need to prove your income. You will most of the time be asked to earn at least 4 times the amount of your rent. You will also have to pay the first month’s rent directly, as well as two months’ deposit.
As in Europe, you can go through an agency or try to find an individual. You will see lots of signs placed directly on the buildings, indicating that apartments are for rent. By calling the numbers listed above, you can quickly meet the real estate agent who takes care of the rental.
By going through an agency, you will of course have to pay additional costs, which often amount to around one month’s rent.
When you have found the apartment that suits you, you will sign a contract which will have to be renewed after two years at the latest, and everything will finally be ready for you to start your new life in New York!