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vernon
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Scotland
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Well, I am now back in Scotland and still going full pelt at moving to Los Angeles in June to live and work. Need some advice if possible.

I have been on the U.S.A. Embassy website to try and get relevant answers but to no avail. I have called also but only receive recorded messages. I have an old B1 B2 visa from 1993 approx. (although it's in an old and discarded passport, original should still be on file in the embassy) but I'm assuming this won't help. Finally. I have relatives in America but they are not direct, ie... being aunts and uncles.

My question is this, would any ex-pat magician/entertainer now living and working freely in America have any valuable advice in getting legal, etc...

Thanks in anticipation,
Best regards,
Vernon

http://www.jamesjamesmagic.com
Ferdinand
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Very, very difficult. Especially now.
Be very, very careful.
You will not get permission to work legally in the United States by June.
Trust me on this.

Your only option is to work illegally with all the stress and worry that entails.

You will be examined at the port of entry.
Possible quite thoroughly because of all the present turmoil about terrorism. Under no circumstances should you even mention the word "work". You will be sent back on the next plane.

Lecturers who have come over to the States from Britain have been turned back even though they were just coming to do a lecture at a magic club.

Be careful what you bring over. If a search of your luggage reveals a contract or any props which could suggest that you are in the country to perform you could be in trouble.

The procedure is that an initial inspection by an immigration officer is made. If he thinks that there is something suspicious you will be sent for a secondary more detailed questioning. Sometimes people are sent for these secondary checks for other legitimate technical reasons.

I understand that UK citizens now have to get a Visa to enter the United States as a visitor. At one point they did away with this requirement. It is back again.

You should probably say you are on holiday. You may be asked about your length of stay and the amount of money you have in your possession. If you seem to be staying longer than the amount of money you have on you they may question your real reason for being in the U.S..

On the other hand if you have too much on you then they will want to know why. You could be a drug dealer!

You can explain that you will be withdrawing funds from an ATM machine if you need it.

One tip I can give you is to leave from Shannon airport in Ireland. It is the only place in the British Isles that U.S. Immigration is stationed as a pre-flight inspection facility. This means that you will go through all this hassle before you board the plane. You will be examined by U.S. customs and immigration before boarding. When you arrive in the U.S. there will be no immigration to go through since it has all been taken care of before you got on the place.

This way the worst that can happen is they refuse to allow you to get on the plane. This would be far better than arriving in the U.S. and possibly being held overnight in a detention facility before being shipped back.

It is a nice feeling that once you are on the plane there will be no obstacles when you get off. It is not fun sweating all the way to Los Angeles.

If you can manage to get a contract to work in the U.S. before you leave, you would have to go through so much hassle and bureaucracy to make it legal that you will plain not do it. And if by some miracle you could actually pull it off you would find that 30% of your salary will be deducted as income tax! They call it a withholding tax.

If your relatives are in the U.S. particluarly in the Los Angeles area you have a perfect excuse to give to immigration for the reasons you are in the country. You are visiting relatives. They always ask what is the purpose of your visit. In the name of God do not say you are a magician, in the delusion that this will amuse them and make your entry easier.

The key thing is not to say one word about wanting to perform magic or do any work of any kind in the U.S.. They are very strict about this and you will be kicked out of the country.

Sorry to be so negative but forearmed is forewarned.

Drat! I almost forgot to give you the best advice of all. Contact British Actors Equity.
They may be able to arrange the work permit. They have a reciprocal arrangement with the American union. Stupid of me to forget this.
I doubt you will get permission by June though. And I think you will still be subject to this withholding tax. Still, I am not the expert on this. Talk to Equity.
vernon
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Thanks Ferdinand,
Very informative and concise. Just another obstacle to get over so it would seem.
I wonder how some of the more well known ex pats did it. As entering, illegally may prejudice any subsequent application for residency and work.

Thanks again for the advice.
Regards,
Vernon
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