How to get a working visa for dive instructing in the USA
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Thread: How to get a working visa for dive instructing in the USA

  1. #1

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    How to get a working visa for dive instructing in the USA

    Well, this is a year or so away, but I've got to start thinking about my future and what I'm going to do when I leave Okinawa in August 2007. I'll be a PADI OWSI and hopefully MSDT with quite a few other strings to my bow (at least 8 specialties, Mares equipment specialist, DAN Oxygen Provider instructor, Gas Blender instructor, compressor management, resort management etc). I've been in touch with my friend in Florida, and she's told me she should be able to find me work with one of the dive schools in Florida. That seems great, but I'm just wondering how hard it would be to get a working visa.

    Has anyone had any experience doing this, and if so could you offer me some advice? How hard is it to do, how long does it take, how much does it cost etc. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance

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    Try here

    Chris and Alison Brown have just left the UK to start a dive business in Florida. silent worldThey may be able to offer some advice.
    Hope this helps
    Larry

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    Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam NotDeadYet's Avatar
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    The rule of thumb when I lived there was either there was a shortage of qualified US citizens to do the job or your employer put up a damn good case to suggest that this was the case.

    For work as a dive instructor in Florida I think anyone would struggle to claim there was a shortage of suitably skilled citizens. When I was living in Canada if you were contributing some kind of investment then allowances could be made, this may be the case in the US too.

    Depending on your age you may qualify for the BUNAC scheme, that was how I ended up there initially.
    "i think this post displays/encourages a stupid if not dangerous example/attitude. This applies to ALL your posts so far"

    "Faith is the surrender of the mind" - Christopher Hitchens

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    NotDeadYet - that doesn't sound too promising for me. I'm 25 years old, but am not a student anymore, so I don't think I will qualify for BUNAC. I've lived in Maldives for one year and Japan for 2 years, working as an English teacher.

    Does anyone have any brighter info for me on this subject?

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    to far from a ocean scubadoguk's Avatar
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    To be honest the States is on an illegal immigration high, as a rule to be legal is very hard even with the right quallies.
    Florida keys and up to Fort Lauderdale is chock a block with people who are looking for a good job.
    It is still seasonal in most places in Florida and easy to get ripped off by shop owners, and PADI wont do jack if there is no training violation.
    So, to be honest, don't be too disappointed if it won't work out. Lots of jobs in other countries that will allow a scuba instructor to work legal for the season to move around get some great experience.
    I can say the pay and conditions tend to be crappy for new instructors and Most places wont pay insurance or health benefits (these no national health) but the end its up to you, I did 15 yrs all over the place had a great time.
    smit happens

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    Thanks for the info scubadoguk. I was thinking of Florida as my first choice because my well-connected diving friend there said she could get me good work with a good company. But it does look like it'll be a sod to get a visa there. My other options would probably include Thailand (poor wages but cheap costs of living, plus I can make contacts there while doing my IDC), Australia, and then beyond.

    I know I'm still over 12 months away, and it all depends on whether I pass the IE, but I need to start think about where I'll do diving next.

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    I reckon it will be tough, you need a employer before hand to put in a case for you. I agree with the posts above.

    I'm half American so I feel rightly to criticise (evenif I wasn't I would ) and I'll give you the following episode on what happend to me two weeks ago:

    My wife is Hungarian anf this summer we decided to go to the US to visit family. I have a US passport which had to be renewed. My wife needed a visa. To get a visa she had to fill out a huge form and then visit the embassy in Lisbon personally - a roundtrip of 1,100km.
    In the form she was asked amongst 1001 questions (no joke):
    • Are you a terrorist?
    • Are you planning terrorist activities in the US?
    • Are you a prostitute or have been?
    Anyway, got to the embassy, went to some fortress of a room and made sure to felt like an inferior citizen. Placed the papers, waited some while then interviewed (grilled). They wouldn't give an answer that day but had to return the next. (a further 1,100km trip).
    Eventually she got a ten year visa with multiple entries being helped by me being a US citizen.
    Unreal. I was ashamed on the dirt treatment & their superior attitude. Worst still they had a poster of George Bush looking down on you in the waitting room!

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    YD's Caribbean Outpost Roobydoo's Avatar
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    Does it have to be USA? There are many dive operations here in Grand Cayman looking for commitment of at least a year from people, and there is always a shortage of instructors....

    If this could be of interest to you, start your research on what is available. The employer tends to sponsor the work visa and there are other fringe benefits, which differ with each outfit.

    PM me if I can be of any more help or you need any other info

    Steve
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we dive.....

    www.divetech.com Caribbean diving for "no bubbles" and bubbles if you want.....



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    Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam NotDeadYet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldave
    I've lived in Maldives for one year and Japan for 2 years, working as an English teacher
    Do you mean teaching EFL or as a proper English teacher? If you are a qualified teacher then you might be better off applying that way, you might get lucky. If you want in then it may be best to base an application on other skills rather than as a diving instructor.

    As mentioned above, Florida is awash with illegal immigrant workers, the place thrives on it. When I was living in the US employers would rather employ an illegal than go through the hassle of official sponsorship in non-professional/low skill jobs (no disrespect meant to dive instructors).

    Also as mentioned above, going somewhere else is well worth looking at.

    Cheers,

    Stuart
    "i think this post displays/encourages a stupid if not dangerous example/attitude. This applies to ALL your posts so far"

    "Faith is the surrender of the mind" - Christopher Hitchens

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    I'm not a qualified English teacher, but at the end of August 2007 I will have actually done 4 years of teaching. I should probably get the CELTA certificate as it would be another string to my bow.

    And I remember once in a police check I had to fill in, I got the following question:

    "Have you ever committed acts, or in any other way, tried to overthrow the government?". Well, I didn't vote for them in the last election, if that counted!

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