L visas are if you’ve worked for a US company in your country of citizenship or at least 12 months, you could possibly transfer to the US company on an L. Again, there are always restrictions and specific rules.
Then there’s the green card lottery. I recommend you enter every year. It opens up October 1st, and winners are drawn May 1st. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, takes maybe half an hour, including getting the photos required, and then you’re in. If you win, awesome. The advantage to green cards is that they’ll let you do anything at all. The downside is you have to at least visit the US once a year to maintain your status.
There are other types of visas, these are just the ones I’m most familiar with and see most often. Basically you need to have something the US wants, or be lucky in the lottery. I’ve met several people who got their green cards through the lottery. It’s definitely worth it to try. I’m playing every year, haven’t “won” yet, but statistics suggest it’ll work out eventually.
You could also marry an American. That works well. Works best if you’re actually in love, but I’ve heard of people who do it anyways. That wouldn’t be legal, but hey, people don’t always follow the law. Surprise!
Ultimately you need an immigration lawyer. I’ve used several, but the only one who was able to actually get us a visa was Bobby Chung. He did an awesome job for me. I don’t know for sure if he does all types of have specialized in a few, but it can’t hurt to talk to him. Say hi from me. He’s really great, very thorough and detailed, which I like.
There are tons of immigration lawyers out there, and a lot of them don’t know what they’re talking about, so choose carefully, ask for references, and in the end, trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
The other part of the process is the emotional and spiritual work. I believe a huge part of why it took me so long were some pretty serious blocks on getting a visa. I had a lot of stories about not belonging. Not belonging was how I grew up and to a large extent how I lived my life – not belonging in Denmark, not belonging in the US, not belonging in the tech community, in my marriage, in my family, in my group of friends, on planet earth, and on and on. Choosing to belong where I am was a really important step.
Also, sometimes we fear the very thing we want the most. What if I got that thing that I said would make me happy, and I’m still not happy? What if I get that visa, and now the clock is ticking, and I have to meet certain milestones, or I won’t be able to renew.
There was also resentment. Resentment towards the US for not letting me in and just embracing me, believing in me, even though I didn’t believe in myself. The US doesn’t work that way. It’s more like a stern parent, in my experience. Get your shit together, and it’s actually pretty straight-forward. Don’t have your shit together, and they just look at you puzzled for a second and move on to the next person.
There was also resentment at Denmark. I think it’s important to be grateful for what we have and where we are, to love where we are, to love who we are, in order to get to where we want to go. We can’t get to a place we love from hating the place we are. We have to start by loving what we have, then and only then can it expand and grow into what we desire.
There was self-worth. I’m not worthy of living in the US. That’s just a track that it doesn’t pay to go down, but it will pop up every so often, and it’s important to be aware of it, and to change tracks when it does.
I’m a big fan of the blechschmidt exercise. Imagine you’re opening a space in consciousness where your visa can land. Feel it energetically, feel it in your body. This will both help prepare the way, and it’ll also help bring to the surface anything that’s preventing this from materializing. Once you’re aware of the blocks, you can do something about them.
I’m also a big fan of love. Love yourself, love where you’re from, love the US, love the immigration system, love the visa and immigration and consular officers, love the process, the forms, the paperwork, the arcaneness, the whole thing. The more you can expand in love and just feel good in your body, the easier and more pleasant the whole thing becomes.
It can take a while. I started my business on October 21st, 2013. I got my funds together in February 2014. I submitted my application on April 28. I was interviewed at the US Embassy in Copenhagen on July 16, and I received my passport with visa in the mail on July 23rd, 2014. Just to give you an idea of how long my process took. Depending on your type of visa and how good you are at getting everything together it may take longer or shorter, but generally the process just takes a while, and the US immigration system doesn’t seem to care too much about your timelines.
Good luck with your immigration process. It feels great to have my visa finally, and I really wish the same for you.