Dallas at a Glance
Moving to Dallas
- Due to the subtropical climate the summers in Dallas are humid and hot while the winters are mild. In spring and summer severe storms might occur because of the city’s location in the Tornado Alley.
- The US visa categories are divided into immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Which one you’ll need to apply for depends on the purpose of your stay. If you are moving with your family, there are also different dependent visas for your spouse and children.
- The neighborhoods in Dallas are very diverse. You can enjoy live concerts in Deep Ellum or go shopping in Uptown — in Dallas there is a place for everyone.
- Public transportation is quite affordable and extensive. Nonetheless, many people still rely on their car even though parking costs are high in Dallas.
Moving to Dallas is not at the top of most people’s bucket list. Rather, expats who plan on relocating to the United States usually think of New York, San Francisco, or Chicago. Dallas, however, is a highly underrated city. Not only is the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan economy the fifth largest in the entire country, the city is among the fastest growing in all of the United States.
Location and Climate: Hikes and Hot Summers
Dallas is located in North Texas, about 300 miles (483 km) from the Gulf of Mexico. While the coast certainly won’t be right at your doorstep, the Trinity River runs straight through Dallas, and White Rock Lake is in the northeast of the city. Outdoorsy expats moving to Dallas will be happy to hear that both present many opportunities for long hikes and other outdoor activities. All in all, the city covers close to 350 square miles (906 km2).
Dallas has a subtropical climate, making for hot, humid summers and mild winters. The spring and fall seasons are usually the best for moving to Dallas, as they bring mostly nice warm days without the crippling summer heat. On the downside, Dallas lies within the Tornado Alley, and severe storms can occur particularly in the spring and summer months.
Visa Requirements: The Countless Visa Categories
Securing a visa before your move to Dallas can be quite intimidating. The US visa requirements are very strict, and there is a host of specific visas for different purposes. Below, we will take a short look at the types of visa that are most common for expats moving to Dallas.
Specialty Occupations (H-1B)
Applicants for visas of this category must work in a specialty occupation and have a higher level of education. This includes people working on international research and development projects, highly acclaimed fashion models, and expats cooperating with the Department of Defense. The visa is valid for up to three years and can potentially be extended up to six years. A maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas are granted per year.
Intracompany Transfers (L-1A)
This visa applies to expats who transfer from a branch office abroad or are to establish a new branch office in Dallas for their company. In order to move to Dallas on such a visa, you need to hold an executive or management position or have some kind of specialized knowledge. The visa is valid between one and three years and can be extended up to five or seven years (depending on the subcategory you fall into).
Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities (O-1)
Expats who move to Dallas with extraordinary abilities or achievements in the arts, sciences, education, business, entertainment, or athletics can apply for this visa. You must be able to prove such achievements or abilities with internationally recognized awards or various professional publications. This visa is valid for three years and can potentially be extended by a year at a time.
Treaty Traders/Investors (E-1/E-2)
This category only applies to expats moving to Dallas from countries that have entered into treaties of navigation and commerce with the United States. The E-1 Treaty Trader visa applies to expats who intend to carry on substantial trade in the US, while the E-2 Investor visa applies to expats who plan on substantially investing in a US company. These visas are initially valid for two years, but can be extended as long as you meet the qualifications. Please refer to the Bureau of Consular Affairs for a list of treaty countries.
If you want to learn more about this topic, please visit our USA Extended Guide and have a look at our articles on Administration and Visa.
Relocating with Your Family
If your family will be moving to Dallas with you, they will need to apply for their dependent visas individually. In this case, too, various visa categories and subcategories may apply. For a number of visa categories, children under the age of 21 and spouses can join you on your assignment without too much trouble.
If your spouse is intent on getting a job in Dallas, however, it depends on the type of visa you hold if they are allowed to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which would grant them the right to work in the United States of America.
Note that the dependent visa your spouse and children have to apply for upon moving to Dallas will most likely have a different letter-number code than your visa. For example, the visa for dependents of H-1B and H-2 visa holders is called H-4, and for dependents of L-1 visa holders, it’s called L-2. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has an extensive list for expat families moving to Dallas.
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