August 6, 2010

The Visa Series Part IV: Top 5 Visa Questions

Since we covered all of the major topics in parts I, II and III of the visa series, I thought I would use this final series post to simply answer some questions, some really specific, and others more general about getting visas for work abroad. If you have any visa questions that aren’t answered here, please visit our posts on Tourist Visas, Temporary Visas and Permanent Visas for more information.

Top 4 Work Abroad Visa Questions

1) Do I need a visa to work abroad?

This is the hardest question to answer, as there is not “one-size-fits-all” visa information. Please refer to previous posts about tourist visas, temporary visa and permanent visa for more information. The shortest answer that I can give is: yes. Yes, you will need some sort of visa if you are going to be abroad for an extended amount of time.

2) Shouldn’t my employer work out my visa for me?

While you employer can certainly help you with your visa requirements, provide a letter of support and proof of employment and salary, you international employer is not actually obligated to get your visa in order – it is really up to you. I highly recommend that you either speak with the human resources department and/or another expat who has gone through the process to find out how much employer support you should expect when you apply for your visa.

3) How much is this whole process going to cost?

For some of you, it will be free, for others visa fees can go into the hundreds of dollars. Tourist visas are free or lower-cost in most countries, followed by temporary visas which involve more paper work, most time, and more money. Finally, permanent resident visas are the most expensive (although an employer might foot the bill for a work visa if you have been recruited from overseas).

4) Should I apply in my home country or once I get to my destination?

If you know that you are taking a job for the long-term and that there are visa requirements for your employment, start the application process through an embassy here in the U.S. (or your home country) if possible. At the very least, you should be able to find pull together the documents that you will need and speak to the right people. Since the process can be lengthy, the old advice “the sooner, the better” certainly applies here. Are there advantages to applying for a visa once you are abroad? In some cases it will be cheaper, and sometimes the requirements are not as stringent. But you also run the risk of being denied a visa and being stuck abroad. That’s probably not worth the few extra bucks.

So that’s it! Everything you ever wanted to (or didn’t know you even needed to) know about visas to work and volunteer abroad! I hope that you enjoyed the series, and if you still have questions please leave them in the comments. Be sure to check out other work and volunteer abroad series on the JobMonkey Blog.

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