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Living and working in U.S

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hey guys,

I was thinking moving to Hollywood L.A work and live there. you guys have any recommendations or opinions

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Get botox?

Booya! haha.

Research any companies you like the look of, apply for them and talk about how to move over.

Usually you'll have to get a Visa based on the position etc...

Do you have industry experience? If not, work in the industry for 5 years. You are very unlikely to get an entry level position with a Visa etc.

There are a couple of good companies in the Netherlands if you don't have any experience...

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I would recommend to do your research of where you want to go:

http://www.cgstudiomap.com/

You'll probably have a higher chance with some of the bigger studios, being a skilled houdini td helps as they are generally looking for those all the time. R&H, Sony, DD, Method Studios, Dreamworks, Disney, Blizzard,...

A lot of the studios are not actually in Hollywood and I would not really recommend living there. Instead living in Marina del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica,... can be much nicer and cheaper.

It will depend on your experience level indeed as you do need a work permit - unless you have a green card or already somehow have American nationality/citizenship.

Generally a company will do H1-B visas for mid or senior positions.

Any degrees you have will help to getting your H1-B approved, as well as years of work experience or special achievements/awards you may have.

*) The rough rule is you need to have the equivalent of 6-7 years work experience:

- A Ba/BSc counts for 3,

- then an Ma/Msc counts for another 1-2,

- add 2 or 3 years industry experience and you should be good to go.

- If you have a PHD it is super easy as you will get approved almost straight away.

- If you have won any oscar/bafta/emmy or written any papers that have been published in peer reviewed journals, you could try going for an "O" visa, but those are generally harder to get.

--- Or if you invest $100.000 in the US economy (could be as part of buying a house), you can actually get a visa too.

Read up on visa application criteria on the US: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

The main things you need to know are:

*) H1-B visas are released twice a year, once around April and once around October. If you miss either one, you will have to wait till the next one.

*) You will need to have a company that sponsors you (it costs them around $5000 or so to sort it out for you).

*) It will be valid for 3 years, working for that company only. Unless if you find another company that is willing to take over the visa and then it can be transferred - it will still end after the initial 3 year period.

*) It takes time for the petition to go through and the application to be processed. Generally you want to get the process started 3 months before either window of the release of visas. ( For this year you are probably already too late for the April window and will have to wait till the October release). There is a really high demand for these visas, so they go really quickly.

*) On a side note, you could try playing the green card lottery. You never know. It will be for 2 years from now, but still -- if you have a partner you should tell them to try it too as it can be a real hassle with spouse visas later on -- and if either one of you has a green card, things get a bit easier.

*) After being in the US for 5 years, you can apply for your own green card and then you would no longer require a visa.

Living in the US/California/Santa Monica has been a great experience for me so far. The only really annoying part is the visa and the paperwork. The climate is nice, depending on where you work/live you may or may not need a car the first couple of months. But after a while you will need a car because everything is quite far apart and public transport or trains are very limited.

There is a bit of a cycling culture in Santa Monica, which for me - coming from Belgium - is something I really appreciate. But don't expect that anywhere too far from the coast or in downtown LA. It's all cars there.

The weather here is great... I have never had so many blue sky days in a row. It rarely rains or gets colder than 10 degrees Celsius. It was my first New Year celebrating with a sunny 20 degrees Celsius :).

-- Depending on the company you work for you may get more holidays, but I only got two weeks. And that is not that much. Luckily there are comp days or you could do unpaid leave for a few days too if you need to. But being on an H1-B visa you can not be "not working" or "inbetween jobs". If you are no longer working for a company you need to have another company already have applied to transfer your visa to them before you leave your current company. Otherwise you are illegally in the US and that would be bad.

Good luck - it's worth it, but it takes some planning!

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I'm interested in this topic too.

How about tax, medicare, wages and all that kind of stuff? My vague impression is that staff is generally expendable, they tax high and pay low, and if you get the flu you're bankrupt.

May be all wrong of course!

Edited by Macha

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I'm interested in this topic too.

How about tax, medicare, wages and all that kind of stuff? My vague impression is that staff is generally expendable, they tax high and pay low, and if you get the flu you're bankrupt.

May be all wrong of course!

Yeah, the healthcare thing depends on your employer. If they offer health insurance, then that's a big plus. Freelance/Contract doesn't usually get any sort of insurance. You have to pay for your own insurance otherwise... so remember to factor that into your rate. Taxes aren't that high in the U.S. in comparison. I'm paying about 10% more here in Vancouver than I did in the U.S., but Canada has universal healthcare. As a freelancer you can also get a lot of taxes back by writing things off -- since you are your own employer essentially.

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I would recommend to do your research of where you want to go:

http://www.cgstudiomap.com/

You'll probably have a higher chance with some of the bigger studios, being a skilled houdini td helps as they are generally looking for those all the time. R&H, Sony, DD, Method Studios, Dreamworks, Disney, Blizzard,...

A lot of the studios are not actually in Hollywood and I would not really recommend living there. Instead living in Marina del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica,... can be much nicer and cheaper.

It will depend on your experience level indeed as you do need a work permit - unless you have a green card or already somehow have American nationality/citizenship.

Generally a company will do H1-B visas for mid or senior positions.

Any degrees you have will help to getting your H1-B approved, as well as years of work experience or special achievements/awards you may have.

*) The rough rule is you need to have the equivalent of 6-7 years work experience:

- A Ba/BSc counts for 3,

- then an Ma/Msc counts for another 1-2,

- add 2 or 3 years industry experience and you should be good to go.

- If you have a PHD it is super easy as you will get approved almost straight away.

- If you have won any oscar/bafta/emmy or written any papers that have been published in peer reviewed journals, you could try going for an "O" visa, but those are generally harder to get.

--- Or if you invest $100.000 in the US economy (could be as part of buying a house), you can actually get a visa too.

Read up on visa application criteria on the US: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

The main things you need to know are:

*) H1-B visas are released twice a year, once around April and once around October. If you miss either one, you will have to wait till the next one.

*) You will need to have a company that sponsors you (it costs them around $5000 or so to sort it out for you).

*) It will be valid for 3 years, working for that company only. Unless if you find another company that is willing to take over the visa and then it can be transferred - it will still end after the initial 3 year period.

*) It takes time for the petition to go through and the application to be processed. Generally you want to get the process started 3 months before either window of the release of visas. ( For this year you are probably already too late for the April window and will have to wait till the October release). There is a really high demand for these visas, so they go really quickly.

*) On a side note, you could try playing the green card lottery. You never know. It will be for 2 years from now, but still -- if you have a partner you should tell them to try it too as it can be a real hassle with spouse visas later on -- and if either one of you has a green card, things get a bit easier.

*) After being in the US for 5 years, you can apply for your own green card and then you would no longer require a visa.

Living in the US/California/Santa Monica has been a great experience for me so far. The only really annoying part is the visa and the paperwork. The climate is nice, depending on where you work/live you may or may not need a car the first couple of months. But after a while you will need a car because everything is quite far apart and public transport or trains are very limited.

There is a bit of a cycling culture in Santa Monica, which for me - coming from Belgium - is something I really appreciate. But don't expect that anywhere too far from the coast or in downtown LA. It's all cars there.

The weather here is great... I have never had so many blue sky days in a row. It rarely rains or gets colder than 10 degrees Celsius. It was my first New Year celebrating with a sunny 20 degrees Celsius :).

-- Depending on the company you work for you may get more holidays, but I only got two weeks. And that is not that much. Luckily there are comp days or you could do unpaid leave for a few days too if you need to. But being on an H1-B visa you can not be "not working" or "inbetween jobs". If you are no longer working for a company you need to have another company already have applied to transfer your visa to them before you leave your current company. Otherwise you are illegally in the US and that would be bad.

Good luck - it's worth it, but it takes some planning!

ton of information..thank you pclaes

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