The dreaded Visa process PART1
I will take some time talking about the visa(s). This post will be split up in two or three parts as there´s some ground work to cover. I have gone through both the process of getting a Canadian Spouse Visa, then gone through the Permanent Residence Visa for Canada and now I´ve got a L1-transfer Visa to the U.S. I expect to start up the Greencard process here as well. Please note that my experience is from a European view immigrating to Canada and USA, as well as it´s my own personal view. The rules are always slightly (or greatly) different depending on your heritage or where your citizenship is. My fiance has gone through similar processes but here in the states he´s got the O1 visa. There are so many different visas for the US it´s crazy and you really have to focus only on which one you apply to and just ignore the rest as different rules apply. It was a bit more straight forward with the Canadian one in my opinion as there were less types of Visas.
My flight from Edmonton to LA right before Christmas
One thing to be said about all the visas are that they are a forever ongoing process
. It feels like no matter what they will come back to hunt you - either as you have to renew it or there´s always some limitation you will have for not being a citizen of the country you are a resident of.
In this post I will be talking about the Spouse visa. In Canada common-law ("sambo") is recognized. With the Spouse Visa I was allowed to take on any work in Canada and live a "normal life" getting insurance, bank accounts, driver´s licence, a car etc. However, the spouse visa in the States is not nearly as flexible as the Canadian one. Should I have gone with my partner over to the States when he got his O1-visa I would not have been allowed to work or to get a credit card. I could have opened a bank account but the type of social security number I would have gotten would have been greatly limited so I can´t build credit in this country. And building credit is a huge deal here! Also coming in through a company has been of huge help as the relocation packages in this part of the world are usually really good (depending on the company)!
My partner´s work visa in Canada was tied to the company. If he would have been laid off or if he would have quit that means he would have lost his status in the country and have to get out. As my spouse visa is tied to his as he was the main applicant it would have affected me as well, but not until the expiry date had been met. Here in the States, if the one of us looses the job we will loose the visa as well with immediate effect. They are much more stern on this in the States while in Canada I could still work on Anthem even without my spouse with me anymore and the main applicant visa that mine was tied to. However, they did start the process of getting me my very own visa tied to BioWare in Canada as soon as my partner left. In the end it wasn´t necessary as I left before the expiry date on my Canadian visa expired but it was a nice safety measurement if I wouldn´t have found a job in LA before that time.
The requirements that we had to do to get the Canadian Work Visa were
- Prove that you have enough money or will have enough money to support you (and your family) in the new country
- Do a health inspection proving you are of good health
- List all your travel history since you were 18 years old or 10 years into the past that are outside of you country of residence (they are asking for specific dates...)
- List all your addresses you´ve lived at since you were 18 years old or 10 years into the past (they are asking for specific dates here too...)
- List all your family members, their date of birth and birthplace as well as maiden names
- List all your previous work places and which month you started/quit from them and if there´re any gaps
- Proof of your (non) criminal records from each country you have been a residence of
- Translated and re-evaluated education degrees from a certified translator
- All the required legal paperwork proving you´ve got a job in the country
The industry is unforgiving as it is, and I feel getting into the games industry in the states is even more unforgiving. When you´ve finally gotten a foot in here it´s more smooth sailing and there are a lot of perks, but the competition here is crazy. I chose to stay in Canada, with this in mind as my second reason. My first reason was that I wanted to finish up Anthem and my part in it. I would never recommend anyone to work the final push on a project as well as applying for work. Just nope!
All of this has made me start doing a huge excel spreadsheet with all the information and I have it stored on dropbox so I can access it at any time. This type of information wrangling is crazy and it´s super hard to tell things like all the travels or all the addresses from and to what dates if you´re moving around a lot. Now I still need to keep that excel sheet up to date, phew.
Happy 2019 and the new adventure!
2018 was... crazy! I have a hard time explaining this year as it´s mostly a foggy mess, but if I would explain 2018 in three words I think of "burnout", "achievements" and "friends".
I spent Christmas and New Year together with Family in Finland, trying to recover as much of my energy and mental health as possible.
Here´re my biggest achievements of 2018:
* Successfully lived by myself in Edmonton for about 9 months
* Uprooted everything in Edmonton and moved to Los Angeles
* Got a job at Respawn Entertainment
I could never in my life have imagined me moving or living in the States before or landing a job here. It´s not something I´ve consciously sought but something that has just happened thanks to the ambitions of my partner and my possibilities. Most of this happened right at the end of 2018 as well so I went full throttle out of 2018 right on the border of keeping myself sane from all the crunching, torn between all the things I wanted to do before leaving Edmonton, Visa processes and finally the move itself.
I am right now on time off in between jobs while I try to get acclimatized to this new environment and setting everything up here. But I am finally united with my partner at, probably the biggest, gaming-mecca-point in the world. I also finally have my computer back so I will start updating here again now :D.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Hope you´ve all had a wonderful Christmas! My Christmas started with a trip that lasted 60 hours to get home. The first flight to Stockholm went well but the passport control at Arlanda took over an hour and the connection flight left an hour after we landed and got to our gate. So missing the first flight followed a stay at an airport hotel. There was also a re-routing due to this so instead of going straight to Vasa, my hometown, from Arlanda we had to go through Helsinki.
Over in Helsinki it turned out that the airline had booked us at a overbooked plane so there were no more available seatings. Yet another night at an airport hotel waited and at this point, I also started getting a cold. Pretty annoying... eventually, the third day of travelling, I finally arrived home! Two days later than expected but still in time for Christmas! To add some good news to this the luggage surprisingly ended up arriving together with this last plane and Christmas was thus saved! I missed out on a couple of family events but at least I was here for Christmas in time! We´re now closing in on New Year and I am still under the weather, but I did get a fully fledged family Christmas this year ^^.
Please take care and spend time with loved ones when you can. After New Year I´m flying across the Atlantic Ocean again and starting the new adventure :D.
BioWare Christmas Party
The Christmas party is here! And here´s the deal, this will be my last BioWare Christmas as well. Next year I will start a new adventure as I will be moving down to Los Angeles to be with my significant other. More about this in the next blog post as I will be dedicating this one to the christmas Party.
The party was held in Downtown at a new venue. It was great! The food was amazing (smaller snack sized food) and they had a live band for most of the evening. The theme was circus and mystic and around the place there were fortune tellers, acrobatics and magicians. A super fun theme and this was probably one of my favorite Christmas parties at BioWare.
I will dearly miss all of this but I am also ready for a break in between the adventures. I have gone through the american visa process with a European passport here in Canada and can talk more about the process of this later as well :D. The obvious thing that I will say is that moving is never easy, especially when moving across borders! This will be my second time doing exactly that, moving across country borders, and I don´t expect this to be my last. Ugh, just thinking about doing it again makes my blood pressure rise. Until next time!
BioWare - The future projects!
Exciting times! Not only is Anthem on its way but we also got a "mysterious" teaser :D
"While we won’t be sharing any details for now, I can tell you we have been building a new team around a core of Dragon Age veterans, people I’ve worked with on Dragon Age, Jade Empire™, and some of whom I’ve worked with since the Baldur’s Gate days."
Then as I sad earlier we are also having full eyes on Anthem!
"Anthem is a world and story that has lived inside of my heart and mind for a long while. Two and a half years ago, we revealed Anthem at E3. And last night, we finally shared more about our story with a new trailer at The Game Awards. Seeing the amazing reactions was a much needed reminder of why we work so hard."
This is very exciting announcements and I for one just love the end of a project feeling as long as you get through without being toooooooooo stressed out. I´m excited for the release, excited about what people will think about it, excited to finally show the world the product, and excited to see where it´ll go in the future.