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Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
03-30-2013, 05:04 AM
Post: #1
Moving to Hawaii in March 2014

We are a couple (both 25 years old) from Finland, planning a move to Hawaii next year. I have a few questions that I hope you guys could help me with Tongue

The main plan is, after reading a lot of conversations on the web, to fly there, search for a place to rent and settle down. After having a place to live in, we would try to find some work. Anything will do in the beginning. We are both educated (Nurse and Bachelor of Business) so hopefully we would later find something in our own specialities - many jobs seems to be listed in healthcare or am I wrong?

We are planning to save approximately 13 000 USD, to assure that we can afford living if we wont find jobs immediately. Do you think this will be enough, considering that the rent would max be 1400 USD per month?
We now live in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. The rent we now pay is approximately 1500 USD, and living here is, according to others, quite expensive.

I´ve done some research and it seems that Maui is the most expensive place to live. Oahu seems a bit cheaper, relying on some previous conversation. If we choose the Big Island, where would you recommend us to live? The most important thing when it comes to choosing where to stay, is that there is great surfing opportunities.

It seems that the best thing to do is to find a job while we are there. Is it "hard" finding work, if you are a decent hard working person?

We are planning on moving there for a couple of years (2-5), learn better english and get some working experience, meet new people and get new friends.
As it seems now, we have to apply for the Business and Travel visa, as non-immigrants. Does anyone know wich visa is the smartest for our kind of journey?

Do you have any tips and suggestions for us? What to make sure before moving..

I'm very thankful for any kind of help! Rolleyes
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03-30-2013, 05:36 AM (This post was last modified: 03-30-2013 05:40 AM by kaniamea.)
Post: #2
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Aloha emtas and welcome to our forum. It sounds like a nice plan. However, the main issue will be getting a visa. So I would recommend doing more research first regarding a work visa. With a travel (tourism) visa you're not allowed to work. The common work visa is called H1B, but to get this you first have to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. This is challenging because the employer basically has to be willing to hire you before even knowing you. Usually people with specialty skills get sponsored this way. Then there is the L visa which is for people who for example work for a company in Finland and then this company transfers them to the U.S. to work there for the same company (intracompany transferee).

So as I said try to research these visas and then the next step would be contacting possible employers. Getting an H1B visa is much easier if for example you study in the U.S. and then after you graduate you first do Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is a 1-year work permit. This way you can find an employer and the employer can get to know you and your skills. Then if the employer is happy with you, he/she may sponsor you for an H1B visa. But to get this visa from abroad without knowing an employer is difficult.

When it comes to Hawaii's cost of living, yes it will easily cost $1500 for a rental. The Big Island is more affordable, but it also has a higher unemployment rate. I would move to the island where I find work. So the first step would be: Find an employer willing to sponsor you, then get the visa and then lastly determine where exactly you will live.

Regarding your question if $13,000 is enough for 2 people. Well, hard to say. I think with that amount you could manage for about 3-5 months.

You may also want to research if your nursing degree is the same as the U.S. nursing degree. In other words, since this is in the healthcare field, sometimes degrees from other countries are not acknowledged.
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03-30-2013, 06:14 AM
Post: #3
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Thank you for your quick answer!

This was a setback in our plans, but I'm glad we still have one year to get the bits and pieces in to place. I have to look more closely at the visas.

Do you know, is it then possible to travel with the combined Business and Tourist visa, get employed and then change the visa to a work visa?
If the employer is willing to sponsor you after meeting with you. I would imagine it would be easier getting a job that way or am I just too optimistic?

(Where I have found info about the visas:
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03-30-2013, 08:49 AM
Post: #4
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Back to the previous questions, I found the answers to my questions on the embassy pages.
Seems that the only way is to find a sponsor from here.
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03-30-2013, 11:04 AM
Post: #5
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Yes, that's correct. You have to find the sponsor from your home country. And there is no combined Business and Tourist visa.
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04-01-2013, 05:58 AM
Post: #6
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Dear Kaniamea,

I still have one question. Can you please give me some links to the local job sites on Hawaii? We would prefere to live Kauai, but I'm open for all islands. It would help a lot to know the right pages to look from.

thank you so much for your helpSmile
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04-01-2013, 07:05 AM (This post was last modified: 04-01-2013 07:20 AM by kaniamea.)
Post: #7
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
The most popular website where people check for jobs is
This site is not Hawaii-specific (it is a U.S. site), but it is very popular everywhere. You can check for Hawaii jobs here: (on the top you can also search by island, so if you click on "kau" you get jobs advertised on Kauai). I just did a quick search for healthcare jobs on Kauai and this came up:
Also, you can check the classifieds on Kauai's news site ( here:
The main Hawaii newspaper is . So you can also check their classified section for jobs as well.
Regarding companies that have previously tried to sponsor people for an H1B visa, you can check this database and search for Hawaii companies:
One thing that you should mention when you apply for a job is that you're not a U.S. citizen and you need a sponsor for a work visa.
Since you said you're interested in improving your English, there are other countries that offer Working Holiday visas for 1 year, for example Australia and New Zealand. This might be an alternative. The U.S. doesn't have such a visa.
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07-07-2013, 04:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
I just wanted to comment on this last idea on considering Australia for a year - I'm originally from Australia, and especially for nurses it's much easier to get there and get a job. Here is the website:

I don't mean to discourage your plans for Hawaii, but obviously I love Australia and they make it much easier to work than the US does. You don't need a sponsor, especially in healthcare.
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07-09-2013, 04:02 AM
Post: #9
RE: Moving to Hawaii in March 2014
Well said, fairdinkum. I agree that it may be easier to get a work permit in Australia. They have a points system and for someone with a degree and other qualifications it looks like it's easier to get a work permit in Australia without needing a sponsor. In the U.S. you always need a company that sponsors your work visa. Or you have to go the investment visa route and open your own business. They are currently debating immigration reform in the U.S. and things may change in the future. But right now it's certainly not easy to find an employer who is willing to sponsor one's work visa if you're located abroad.
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