My Decision to move here was a personal one as my boyfriend (lets call him T) had been living here for all of 2016. So I thought….screw this long distance relationship thing I’m going to get on a plane as soon as possible to go and live in L.A. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with my visa and I had to come over on a B2 travel visa. This wasn’t my ideal situation as
finding work would have been much better- But these things happen! Im going to be here until late October (as have to go back for my cousins wedding) so I have heaps of time to explore this amazing country!
Deciding to move here was a big one for me. Ive lived in Melbourne, Australia, my whole life and at 23 years old I was at a cross-roads with either moving into my own place in Melbourne or moving to Los Angeles!!! I realised that this opportunity probably wont ever come around again so here I am! I had been saving for a whole year as in the back of my mind of thought this scenario might come about. Luckily I had enough to support myself for the next 7 months- on a budget of course (something I’m not very good at!).
The process of getting a B2 visa wasn’t exactly difficult or easy. I researched my butt off looking into the requirements to being about to be a tourist for the next 7 months. I read a lot about only being permitted into the U.S for 6 months. Knowing my dates surpassed this time frame I booked my interview at the American Embassy in Melbourne and began to prepare. I printed out my bank statements, a list of destinations, my address in Los Angeles where I would be spending my time etc. I was determined to be fully prepared as I already felt uneasy enough about putting my fate in a strangers hands. Arriving at the embassy is slightly daunting and you basically have to plead your case in front of the 40 other people trying to get their visas. My turn came and the officer was very short and to the point, I explained my situation and he asked me how i was going to fund my trip and details about my relationship. He then asked me if I wanted a one year or a five year visa- I was a little confused and thought he was joking. I told him ‘No i dont want to be greedy’, I said, ‘I only need seven months’, to which he responded that a year visa was the standard. He told me my visa was approved and it would be sent with my passport in the mail!!!
I left the embassy more excited then I’d ever been! Not only was I fine to go for 7 months, I now had a year visa! After much packing and sad goodbye lunches (at chin chin if you are looking for an amazing asian fusion restaurant in Melbourne!) and a few overweight suitcases I set off to Los Angeles! When I arrived I went through the electronic customs and all was fine. As I handed over my printed customs slip to the officer she asked me how long I was going to be here and I told her my dates and showed her my booked flight details. She immediately told me I was not permitted into the U.S for longer then 6 months and I had to follow her. Handing over my phone and passcode was a first and it made my heart sink as I fought away tears thinking about how close I was yet I might be turned away! After a lengthy hour wait I was called by an officer to come and chat with him, I explained my situation and he told me that unfortunately he couldn’t grant me my visa for the length of time I needed but would give me 6 months exact. This seemed better then nothing!!! He then winked at me and said you can extend your visa much easier once you are here but Im not authorised to tell you right now. Ha!
So I finally made it through customs shaky but extremely relieved to start my new adventure!! My advice is really look into the visa you are given and ask as many questions as you can if you are unsure! Better to be safe then sorry!