My guess is that governments won't let you. It seems that people cannot even visit the US for a day without a reason and jumping through oodles of hoops. And the more days you plan to come over the harder it is. I think they specifically want to prevent folks from living here.
I also think it would be very difficult to become an ant.
While it's not particularly challenging to visit the USA for a short period of time, or even a few months with evidence of "a plan" as a tourist, I can't imagine the border and immigration people would be very used to dealing with a request such as yours would be. If they haven't heard about it before, it's suspicious.
There would also be possible repercussions and expenses to you and your family upon your return to New Zealand after a lengthy time away.
For example, as a Canadian, if I spend more then three months away from Canada at one time, I have to pay higher travel health insurance, and after six or seven months, I would lose my access to my provincial public health system, until I came back and spent three months in residence without any coverage for that length of time. There would also be tax complications.
But after six months, without a visa, I would be kicked out of the USA anyway. I don't know what length of time a tourist visa (if you would need a tourist visa) from NZ would allow you to remain in the USA.
I really think it would be easier if you thought of arranging as a gapper, because unless you really do want to move to the USA for the rest of your life, it would probably be very stressful to arrange.
I would just apply (or show up, again, I don't know how the NZ/US travel works) as a normal short term visitor, learn what you could, and take it back home.
P.S. - I don't think the USA is particularly difficult about visitors from other countries (YMMV) after all - what would New Zealand say if someone from the US arrived wanting to be a unpaid labourer on some sort of communal farm project for a year?
Hi Ursula and everyone! Im from Colombia so my answer is based on my experience or the experience of my relatives that are also Colombian.
Im guessing that its easier for someone of newzeland considering the bad reputation of my country that thankfully is getting better over time.
You can stay in the us for a little less than 6 months on a tourist visa, when they ask you can tell them you are staying for a couple of month and are going to travel, around the states for a while and just have a tentative schedule, they wont say anything and give you permision to stay for 6 months, its kind of the regular visiting time granted ecen when you are just going for a month or less. They wont be any repercussions if you dont stay longer than the time they allow even if you say originally that you were staying for one or two months (my uncle does it all the time and he spends almost have the year in the states with a tourist visa with no problems)
The other alternative is applying for a J1 visa, which is a student/temporal worker (youll get a social security number). Im guessing you will need a letter from Paul and proof that you have a job in newzeland, and justify that you are applying to a special training in permaculture (or sustainable agriculture so it more palatable) in one of the leading farms in the states for a year.
If you get the visa you can stay no problem and even get a job legally. I worked for 2 months that way and had a friend that worked for a year.
Those are the options I see are viable, although I must mention,considering you are traveling with your kids its easier to get a tourist visa than the J1. And if they deny either visa they wont give you the other one. (I dont know if people from newzeland need a visa to travel to usa or if they dont, how long can you stay in the USA per visit.
I hope the information is a good starting point so you can take an informed choise.
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