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You Asked: Should I Pack My Bags?

Dear Sugar--
My boyfriend of two years wants me to leave Germany and emigrate to the U.S. with him. He has been offered a great job there, but what about me? Without a visa I won't be able to work. I am undecided - should I stay here and lose him or should I go with him and give up my career? -- Between a Rock Rory

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Between a Rock Rory --

This is a really loaded question and there are so many facets to it but when it comes down to it, you need to follow your heart. The fact that he asked you to take this journey with him makes me know he really loves and cares about you, but you're right, it's a lot to ask of you. Picking up your life, leaving your native country, your friends, family and your career, takes a lot of courage but if you love him, and think there is a possibility to spend the rest of your life with him, it might be well worth the risk in the long run. Are you hesitant about moving without a commitment? Have you discussed your fears with him?

If you choose to make the move, it's important to go to the U.S with a game plan for yourself. If you don't have a job, many friends, or something to occupy your time with, you could end up resenting your boyfriend or regretting your decision. Just because you don't have a working visa now doesn't mean you can't get one. The US is known as the land of possibility, and while I don't know what industry you're in, do a little research, send out your resume, and see what happens. You might also ask if your boyfriend's company can sponsor you as his dependent. All companies are different, but if they are moving him across the world for his job, they might expect that you two are a package deal.

One thing that always helps me make big decisions is writing out a pro and con list. Think about what you could possibly be gaining by making this move and then think about what you would be losing if you stayed. This is a very personal decision, but one thing you should keep in mind is that nothing is permanent -- if you move and regret it, you can always move back -- and if you decide to stay, but feel the tug to be with the man you love, I am sure he would welcome you with open arms. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
lushisliz313 lushisliz313 9 years
I always think that b/c I would never ask someone to sacrifice their dreams and goals for me, that I don't expect others to ask the same of me. Maybe that sounds mean, but what if you did and a few years down the road, completely regretted the missed opportunites? Sometimes it's ok to think about what's best for yourself, rather than the needs of others. Either way, it's not going to be an easy decision. Good Luck!
Marci Marci 9 years
Dear makes a lot of good points. This is one of those fabulous opportunities that don't come along that often in life, so I know I would be tempted and game to do it. But as Dear said, it would be crucial for you to have a plan for YOU while in the US. Not being able to work is a tough one, because that throws you right into the mainstream of life in another country, but there could be other ways. Maybe school or volunteer work. The most important thing here is to feel like you're doing the right thing for yourself. If you're harboring doubts, move cautiously; think things through and don't make a pressured or spontaneous decision. Good Luck.
gothamgal gothamgal 9 years
First, what a great opportunity, if you do it and if you decide you want to do it -- legally and otherwise. Second, what do *you* want? The list of pros and cons is a good idea. I have usually based my decisions on: will I think about not doing this/doing this in five years and regret it? If so, seriously do whatever you can to do it. Whatever you do, feel good about your decision. Two years is a long time but you can do it with visits back and forth -- Internet, calls, etc. It is manageable. I did it with my boyfriend for almost two years but -- and this is the kicker -- I had to resolve that my decision to live in another country w/o him would jeopardize the relationship. And he was m-a-d for a long time b/c I didn't "choose" him. However, he later said that he grew to admire my decision and it was one of the things that he loves about me. Be prepared to live w/the fallout, whatever it may be. Good luck!
lolany lolany 9 years
I found a link for you that helps explain the legal issue a bit better: Keep in mind that as a girlfriend you have no legal relationship with your boyfriend here. A "spouse" in US INS legal terms is married partner.
lolany lolany 9 years
Unfortunately it's not a question about "if" you should go. It's a question about if you can legally go. It's not just that you can't work here - it's also that you can't stay here either. This means that - without a real visa on your own, you HAVE to leave here every 3 month. That's how long your tourist visa will last you. If you overstay that visa, then you can be denied entry to the US after you actually leave. Usually this mean (I'm not kidding) that you'd be denied entry to the US for 3-10 years, next time you tried to enter the US. Every US visitor gets a little card attached to their passport that tracks when they entered the country. You can't even "lose" the card either, because they will automatically assume that you've overstayed your time. The INS (Immigration) is getting really, really tough with people here. So, my suggestion is to contact a lawyer. Most likely this lawyer will tell you the same thing. Perhaps if you are lucky, you could either get a student visa. But even for that you'd actually have to study here, which is very expensive and of course those spots are hard to get and you need to be qualified. What are your options otherwise if you try to bypass any of this? Not good ones....You won't have: Health Insurance, a legal job, a legal driver's license, Social Security Benefits etc. The only real option is for your boyfriend to marry you, or for you to find a company in the US that's willing to hire you legally. I am originally from your home country. I came here 17 years go and by now I am a US citizen. Although leaving your family and friends is incredibly hard, the legal woes are much harder. Alles Gute!
Lila-Fowler Lila-Fowler 9 years
I agree-- you have to make this decision for yourself. But some pointers: I have a friend in a similar situation-- she followed her boyfriend to mexico without a work visa or anything. She's happy though, because she found a job volunteering at a kindergarten, and some other volunteer work with children and animals. She's also learning spanish in her spare time (but your english seems good). I think, if you really want to make it work, it would. you'd have to let him know though what you want financially-- because you won't be getting paid for the volunteer activities. Maybe an agreement that he will provide the finances because you're unable to work (at least at first)? Good luck!
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
I dont think any of us can answer that for you. Its up to you. Do you want to have a good job and be surrounded by your friends, family, and a town that you know? Or do you want to be in a foreign (and amazing :D) country, and have your lovely boyfriend? It also depends on your age I think, if you are young, I would stay. You will find another lovely man. If you are 'older' and you think he may be the one, well go with him. I would write a list, of pros and cons. See which one weighs more. Good luck!
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