This post shares experiences of my move from Melbourne to San Francisco Bay Area on an E-3 Visa. For those who don’t know about E-3 visa, it is visa to work in United States for speciality occupation professionals from Australia (read more).
It all started with one email to talk over the phone about an opportunity to work in Silicon Valley. I guess in the past I didn’t take such requests seriously because I was not prepared for such a big move. It is really a big move when you have a family, your own house and a job that you are really happy with. Also all the friends and family in Melbourne made the decision to move a little more difficult.
So here is what I went through after the first email contact (sorry not in deep details because of signed confidentiality agreement with my employer)
- First phone call with the director of recruitment to discuss the role, the future and the goals.
- Early morning phone interview because of time differences and online coding exercise with the help of collaborative editing.
def boom ( ): Nothing = boom( )
- Face to face interviews with different teams few weeks later. Interesting problems and discussions which were not exactly related to any particular programming language.
So what is the best way to prepare for such interviews?
In my honest opinion, you can never prepare for such technical interviews.
Yes! Are you going to read all the programming languages in the world or just study all the data structure / algorithms?
Ok! Here is a tip if you want to study, go mad and read all the questions on CareerCup.
- VISA Step 1 – Basically the employer needs to file one document, that is a Labour Condition Application (ETA-9035) and just post the document to you. That’s it! Really really!
- VISA Step 2 – As my documents were posted I scheduled an appointment with US Consulate Melbourne (I needed LCA / ETA-9035 number to make the appointment, which was sent to me in the email). To make an appointment you have to fill out a form / application called DS-160 (link) and then pay a fee to make the appointment. The fees was $270 at the time I made an appointment. You have to fill and pay for a separate DS-160 for each dependent aka wife / kids. Even though forms are filled and paid separately they can be on the same appointment.
- VISA Step 3 – Arrive for the interview. You have to leave your bags in the secured area so don’t bring a lot of stuff, you only go with some papers that you need to the application area. Take a token and relax.
First call of my token – Hand over all the papers to a guy who will check that you have got required stuff.
Second call of my token – Meeting with visa case officer who checked my degree just to show that I was actually an IT person and not a plumber going for Software Engineer role. All done and approved under 5 minutes.
They don’t give you the passports straight away but mail out to your residential address. We received them within 2 working days.
- Next step? – SELL SELL SELL and prepare to move. We tried to sell stuff through various sources, but the best 3 were GumTree, Facebook sell & buy groups and emails to friends.
- And yes, next step was the flights! Left on a Friday afternoon and after many many hours of travel arrived on Friday afternoon (17 hour time difference ) with a jetlag.
I think after arriving here was a bit of a ride that I will try to summarize in a separate post. The question that I am asked most often by friends and family? Is it different / Is it better / Do you like it?
And I say, its great working in the heart of Silicon Valley. The technology is great, the meetup groups around here are awesome. There is a lot of learning, but we miss family and friends. We will be back!