moving to NY from Europe - feedback on Freelance rates?

Hi everyone,

I have some 7+ years experience at my back and I am about to start a short collaboration (approx. 9 months) with a studio in NY for some design work (interior & product in the same project).

The field is very specific and very few people in the world have such specialization, except some designers working at about 7 design consultancies spread around the globe. The task include also quite some management skills and a lot of travelling.

In this perspective, what would you suggest could be a proper hour rate request to the employer? Is the most fancy area in NY comparable with London when it comes to rates for freelancers and living expenses?

Furthermore, I understood that if the employer can prove that I have a specific profile not available on the market in the US he can speed up the process for the NON-immigrant visa - is this correct?

Thanks in advance for all of you who will be able to contribute with some feedback!


7 yrs experience.
NY city.
highly specialized skill set.


Your only real option is to get an H1-B like everyone else.

The Visa that you are referring to that allows people in faster because of specializes skills is the O-1, but you have to prove to the government at a US Embassy that you really are special in some way, normally by producing publications, awards, memberships, etc, that show you are a rockstar in your field. This is often used by movie directors and producers who need to travel around the world and US to make films.

(i) General. Under section 101(a)(15)(O) of the Act, a qualified alien may be authorized to come to the United States to perform services relating to an event or events if petitioned for by an employer. > Under this nonimmigrant category, the alien may be classified under section 101(a)(15)(O)(i) of the Act as an alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. > Under section 101(a)(15)(O)(ii) of the Act, an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he or she has no intention of abandoning may be classified as an accompanying alien who is coming to assist in the artistic or athletic performance of an alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(O)(i) of the Act. The spouse or child of an alien described in section 101(a)(15)(O)(i) or (ii) of the Act who is accompanying or following to join the alien is entitled to classification pursuant to section 101(a)(15)(O)(iii) of the Act. These classifications are called the O-1, O-2, and O-3 categories, respectively. The petitioner must file a petition with the Service for a determination of the alien’s eligibility for O-1 or O-2 classification before the alien may apply for a visa or seek admission to the United States. This paragraph sets forth the standards and procedures applicable to these classifications. (Paragraph (o) revised 8/15/94; 59 FR 41818 -41842)

Other than that there is the L-1B which applies to specialized workers for intercompany transfer. But to get one of these you must have worked for the company for a year at their European office and then request a transfer to the US office to work on a project. I know several architects who have this Visa and its really nice because they can pretty much do whatever they want including coming in and out of the country as needed.