19

How hard is it to relocate to America from Europe as a designer?

5 years ago from , Designer - Web + Graphic

I live and work in London and I really want to relocate, which I think is quite common, especially to the places I want to move to (San Francisco, Portland, NY... ) but I'm already stressed out at how hard it seems. I've got 5 years under my belt, I freelance as well as work full-time, I'm a jack of all trades and master of few...

Has anyone done this successfully or have a similar story? Just looking for advice on how to go about things really!

FP edit: Thanks for all your comments + help guys!

26 comments

  • Greg CooperGreg Cooper, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    I've done it, specifically from the UK. It took me roughly 3 years to successfully immigrate and I tried a variety of ways. One lawyer even told me I didn't stand a chance of getting one.

    I have Standard Grades from the Scottish high school system and nothing more. I left school at 16 and never went to college or university. This is the bit that tripped me up during the process. Not having a degree of some sort seems to be the easiest way for them to ignore your application.

    I ended up getting the L1 visa, which is where you work for a company from their UK office for 12 months then they can apply for a visa for you in order to move you to their US office.

    Even then, that's not what I did. The company I work for purchased the IP to a product I had been working on for about 3 years at that point. They then claimed that because I had 3 years of work in a product they owned that I've technically worked for them for the required period of time. Then tadaaaaaa, I was given a visa. The process which was forever stopping at the first step over 3 years was pretty much done in a month or two due to that little loophole.

    Essentially: It sucks, lawyers are expensive, and you better be sure you like the US before you make the move.

    10 points
    • Louis B, 5 years ago

      That's so interesting! Well done. And useful to know about the degree situation. I have a degree, but not in design...

      0 points
  • Duncan RussellDuncan Russell, 5 years ago

    Question: if it takes so long for sponsorship to get approved, why do US companies hire designers from overseas? I can understand hiring developers due to the skills shortage in US, but surely it's not the same case for design professionals?

    4 points
  • Nathan NNathan N, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    You should try Hong Kong, you'll fit right in with the expat crowd and it's much easier to immigrate to than America.

    3 points
    • Jay WycheJay Wyche, 5 years ago

      Are there a lot of design jobs in Hong Kong?

      0 points
      • Nathan NNathan N, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

        Loads man, HK has a booming government subsidized tech startup scene.

        edit: Check out Science Park and Cyberport to read up about it. I also feel that I should mention the pay isn't anywhere near what you'd get in the U.S. or E.U. but I'd take the pay cut to live there again.

        0 points
      • Keiran LovettKeiran Lovett, 5 years ago

        Lot's of companies in Hong Kong currently are realising design is important. Nathan mentioned a government subsided tech scene but its not as strong as what most counties in Europe have (especially when combined with arts and design).

        The pay is not good, but often (and in my case all the time so far) you've had express control over the direction of design. Which is great. The absolute worst for HK is the work culture - its not 9 to 5 we joke, but 5 to 9. You'll get very extreme requests and deadlines and be expected to do considerable unpaid overtime. So you get a lot of creative freedom, but not much actual freedom :p

        0 points
  • Robin RaszkaRobin Raszka, 5 years ago

    Try and get E2 or O1. It takes a lot of time (think 12 months, but in the meantime you can use B1/B2). Forget H1B, it's too limiting.

    2 points
  • Andrea GrassoAndrea Grasso, 5 years ago

    A friend has been hired by a company in NYC and got his O1 Visa sponsored by them. In a matter of 6 monhts he was already living and working in the US. I think it is the easiest way.

    2 points
  • Theus FalcãoTheus Falcão, 5 years ago

    Well, I'm a Brazilian with 20 years and I'm almost graduating in Graphic Design. Lack least 1 year to this. And I have much desire that go out of my country. I intend to work in area by here, for few years before this.

    I keep wondering possible places for live... I love so much the USA, but, has other countries cool too. New Zealand and Ireland are some that I hear good things about living and the design area.

    A site for researches like this is the Nomad List. I'ts awesome.

    2 points
  • Antonio PratasAntonio Pratas, 5 years ago

    I'd assume it should be as "easy" as finding a job, with the added challenge of the company needing to sponsor you. So If you do find a company that is really interested in you, as long as they're willing to shell in the extra yearly, you should be able to get a working visa. I might be totally wrong though.

    1 point
  • Lucas CobbLucas Cobb, 5 years ago

    Buddy of mine just did this. He was on the H1B visa and got sponsored by the company we work for. It took him 3 years in the lottery to get accepted to come here and work after he was sponsored then another 2.5 to get his green card. He says it was well worth it!

    He is from London as well and is a website designer working for a corporation.

    1 point
  • Ivan Braun, over 2 years ago

    Medium hard, I would say. Here's some of the best written step by step howtos I've seen.

    0 points
  • Pizza Yap , 5 years ago

    I just came back from London and I'm opposite with you, I'm so wanted to go work in London Shoreditch area.

    If you 're interested to come over Singapore, maybe can drop us an email too. hi@minitheory.com We're always welcome anyone! :)

    Good luck!

    0 points
  • Keiran LovettKeiran Lovett, 5 years ago

    I've been looking to move to Scandinavia for a year now. It's crazy how over the top it is unless there's a company there that really wants you. sadness

    0 points
    • Robbert EsserRobbert Esser, 5 years ago

      Where are you from? Moving to countries such as Sweden, Norway or Denmark shouldn't be so hard. Especially when you're from a country that's part of the European Union.

      0 points
      • Keiran LovettKeiran Lovett, 5 years ago

        I'm Australian, currently residing in Asia, Hong Kong.

        Norway I'm looking at specifically and it has only a three months working holiday visa.

        0 points
        • Robbert EsserRobbert Esser, 5 years ago

          I'm looking to going to Norway as well, haha! True, but you can extend three months to six months when you're there. Although, finding a job shouldn't be that hard either.

          0 points
          • Joe CJoe C, 5 years ago

            Are you going from UK -> Norway? I'm in the same boat! My girlfriend is a Norwegian resident, but I'm from the UK. I'm a director of a UK based company - so I'm looking into how the tax situation would work if I worked from Norway for a UK company. UK/Norway do have a tax treaty that means double-taxing shouldn't be an issue, but it seems confusing and there's a lot of different info flying around. Got any tips? :)

            0 points
          • Keiran LovettKeiran Lovett, almost 5 years ago

            Oh! I must have missed the extension - that makes sense in regards to a few other points.

            Problem is I'm looking at game design. While that scene is rapidly growing its still very small teams, which is the roadblock I keep hitting.

            0 points
  • Kuanysh BayandinovKuanysh Bayandinov, 5 years ago

    Why don't go there on a tourist visa and explore opportunities at the place? Especially if you freelance.

    0 points
    • Roel van HintumRoel van Hintum, 5 years ago

      Because that is illegal to do on a tourist visa.

      4 points
      • Kuanysh BayandinovKuanysh Bayandinov, 5 years ago

        Yeah of course, but if your clients aren’t in USA? How to define work versus leisure usage of your personal computer? It is all in the grey area and I personally wouldn’t bother.

        0 points
  • Clayton NeedhamClayton Needham, 5 years ago

    Working in Dubai is much easier. They have public relation officers at the agency, which are ppl who takes care of your work permit and visa. Mind you, Dubai is all expats so their built for it here. Where as EU already has enough people but its still possible to get a working visa anywhere.

    0 points