Finally! I’ll be flying to NYC this week as soon as I receive my visa from the U.S Embassy. I want to tell you how it has been my process since I started to look for a job there until today so I can help you with yours.
Starting my job research
First of all, I looked for a company to re-write my resume so it could pass recruiters’ screening software and I followed the Architect-US guidelines to improve my portfolio. These two first steps are necessary so you can catch the attention from the US companies.
Then, I started to look for jobs on small and medium-size companies. Apparently, they are more open to hire foreign people than the bigger ones. I couldn’t understand that, but it is true that I had more positive feedback from smaller companies. I looked for job offers in websites like LinkedIn and archinect. Each time I applied I send my resume, portfolio and a cover letter.
First positive feedback from job offers
When a company answered me back interested on my profile for the first time, they usually asked for additional documentation and asked several questions like when I would be able to start to work with them and how a J-1 visa works. The additional documentation required was always execution plans, particularly plans made with Revit. But I think this could be different according to your profile. I was looking for a job focused on the execution and construction phases of projects.
Eventually I had an email from a company in February who was interested on my profile. I send them the required documentation and we settled a job interview. Here, you can have two different job interviews. The first one is a screening interview. This one is a quick interview to determine whether you’re a qualified applicant or not. Up to eighty or even ninety percent of people can be rejected here. If someone writes you back from a job offer asking for a quick phone call, that’s the case. I recommend you to say when are you available but be specific like “tomorrow from 9 am to 11 am EST” so you won’t have to wait all day long for the call. I had once a mail asking for this kind of interview I said that I was available all the evening and I waited for hours for a call that never happened.
The job interview
The second kind of job interview is the good one, the real one. I had it at the end of February. I was interviewed by the HR manager and two Project Managers of the company. They asked me to share on the screen my portfolio and the documentation I sent them and explain my professional experience. They asked me questions all along my explanations. The job interview last one hour more or less. The next day, and this is important, I wrote them an email to thank them for the interview and to say that I would write them a follow-up email in a week if I have no feedback from then during these time. But they answered me quickly that day with a job offer letter. That was on Friday Mars 4. I accepted the job offer the next Monday after verifying everything was OK and I contacted Architect-US the same day to start the process to get the visa.
The visa process
Sonia, from Architect-US, has been always highly reactive, always available to clarify my doubts and assist me during the process. I sent them all the required documentation in a few days and I started to wait while Architect-US worked with the company who hire me so they were working on their part of the process. Unfortunately, this process has taken a lot more time than expected. Architect-US told you that the process to get the visa takes 4 to 6 weeks. But the company who hires me had to make unexpected paperwork to hire me so I received the documents to sign of at the end of April. I signed them on April 20 and I have the interview with the Chamber of Commerce in NY that day. It is a rutinary interview that you have to pass to get the visa. They asked you why do you want to live there, why do you want to work there and other easy questions like that.
Then I had to wait several weeks for the Chamber of Commerce could finish their work so they could send me the needed information to set the interview in the US Embassy in Madrid. By this time Architect-US send me a helpful email with guidelines for this interview. Surprisingly, I could set an interview very soon because I made this on May 6 and I pass the interview on May 12, there were a lot of dates available. Ah, btw, if you struggle to find where to take the needed photo for the US Embassy (a 5×5 cm photo) I found a good place, it’s in Juan de Olias Street, close to Estrecho subway station in Madrid.
The US Embassy interview
Thus, I had the interview on May 16 at 8:50 am. I hope everything I have said until now could be useful to you, but I think the next part is crucial! I arrived at the US embassy at 8:10. I was very surprised because there were a lot of people already waiting at the outside of the Embassy. A girl said to me that the hour of the appointment is indicative. You can access to the Embassy 30 minutes before your appointment but not sooner. So, I recommend you to arrive at least 30 minutes before in case there are a lot of people so you don’t have to wait a lot. If someone comes with you at the US Embassy he/she would have to wait at the outside. So maybe it is better if you come alone. You cannot access with a bag. Therefore, it is better to carry all the documents in a folder. Once you get inside, they keep your phone (turned off) and other electronical devices. I have a fitness tracker and they keep it with my phone too. Once you’re inside, you access to a room like a ticket office. At first, someone takes your fingerprints and then you have the interview. I was highly surprised because my interview lasted only a couple of minutes. They asked me where I will go, I said to NYC, the guy told me that is a nice place and he would hope I like it I answered that I hoped so and that was all!! They keep my passport and told me I would receive it in 5 days.
And now I am here in my hometown, packing and waiting for my visa. I will fly as soon as I can! The next time I will write here It will be in NYC!!