Thursday, September 2, 2010

The visa from hell

Yes thats what they call my visa...
When we moved over here Dave got given a H1B visa which allows him to work here for 3 years, and then apply for another extension of 3 years I believe, I get the spouse visa H4 which sounds good until you read the small print. Im allowed to be here living in the US but am not allowed to work, again that sounds fantastic at first, but after a while when you cant work it can become a bit boring, so you have to find things (other than spending all day on facebook and reading blogs!) I guess a lot of people who get H4 visa are spouses with children so there days are filled up with the kids, but as we don't have kids I have a lot of spare time. 
Luckily we have two dogs so when we moved here with them I was able to get out and about and meet people with the dogs, and most of the friends I have made since moving here I have met that way. Also I discovered a great website called Meetup I have joined various groups on here and also created some myself and met other friends that way. There is even a British Ex-Pat group in my area that I found via this site.
Although the dogs can take up a lot of my time, along with all the baking I do, i still have lots of spare time, so I have signed up for various volunteering projects, you are allowed to volunteer on the H4 visa, as long as you are not doing a job that someone would normally be paid to do, and that you are not receiving anything in return for your volunteering.
So far Ive signed up for three different volunteering positions

I help out as a reading tutor at a local elementary school with children that are one to two grades below in their reading, this is through a scheme called Reading Partners. I do this two mornings a week and work with two children.

I help out at a local homeless shelter through the Shelter Network, and I spend two afternoons a week helping out at the homework club there.

Ive also just signed up to be a mentor through YMCA, I am currently doing a five week training course, then i will be matched with a mentee who i take out once a week for 1-3 hours, doing various activities depending on the child and their requirements.

So for me being on this visa has been good, as I am able to go out and help the local community and do things I enjoy doing, also when you volunteer you can be flexible with your hours and normally change them around to suit you, so when people come to visit I can step down from volunteering for a week or so. Yes at times it would be nice to be working, although I would never ever return to an office job, and yes an extra salary would be good too, but the satisfaction of helping out others less fortunate them myself is very rewarding. So between my volunteering, going to the gym and taking the dogs out to the beach and other playdates during the week, and of course not forgetting the housework!!! I pretty much keep myself amused most of the time :)


  1. Don't forget amusing me and feeding me! These are important contributions to American society!!

  2. Sounds like bliss! Just don't forget us mere mortals that have to slave away at our 9 to 5's!! Maybe we could 'job' swap?!

  3. H-1B as a remedy for labor shortages and as a means of hiring "the best and the brightest" from around the world

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