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  1. #1
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    Default Australian looking to work in USA

    Hey, so my question is:
    Im currently a volunteer firefighter here in australia looking to make a career out of it.

    I understand the visa requirements and difficulties needed to move to USA, even to obtain a regular work visa opposed to a greencard.

    Im wondering if there are any fire departments out there that offer either work experience/internship type things for people like myself who arent legally allowed to work
    Id love to just experience firefighting in one of the larger cities, NY, Chicago etc..
    Im not sure how to go about this because of the legal process, unless there is a way to undergo training or even volunteer work.
    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
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    You can maybe look for some colleges/universities that may have in residence programs. I believe there are many on the east coast. Washington State used to have one, but that's gone now. There's one down in Central Oregon, I've heard of. you may be able to get a student visa and work around the issue that way...

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    Thanks mate, what do you mean by in residence programs?
    i think even the work visa is difficult to obtain from what ive read

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    You can look into exchange programs as well. Just hop on google and look into. Visas are relatively difficult to obtain especially work visas if I understand it right. Student visas and doing a fire science program here at a college in the states may give you some time to get a work visa. It will also give you the chance to see how the process works here, testing, the certs you may potentially need etc. I work on a major city fire dept and anyone that works anywhere, on any department can tell you how difficult it is to get hired on. It's worth it and if you want it bad enough and sometimes a bit of luck, you can get it. Do your research, call who you need to call, email who you have to email and get it done.

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    There are some universities/colleges that in exchange for a break in tuition pursuing fire science ask you to live in residence and work as a firefighter for their departments. They are kind of a dying breed, but as far as I know some still exist out there...As a commonwealth, you may have an easier shot at a big city in Canada than in the States...

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    The bottom line is that you are not going to get any kind of paying work as a firefighter, especially in the big cities where the competition for jobs is cut-throat for natural citizens, nevermind foreign nationals.

    As others have said, you can get volunteer positions within University Programs or non-scholastic live in programs, or even just as a member of a volunteer fire department. You will most likely have to obtain some sort of accredited training here in the US, of course. My own volunteer department has a member from Oz......Perth I believe. He is a very active driver/operator on the fire side and an active EMT on the EMS side of the shop.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Thanks for the info guys.
    Id be happy to volunteer, i would just love the experience
    Does he have a work visa (im guessing he does)

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh_123 View Post
    Thanks for the info guys.
    Id be happy to volunteer, i would just love the experience
    Does he have a work visa (im guessing he does)
    Don't know but I believe he's a citizen by way of marriage.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    The bottom line is that you are not going to get any kind of paying work as a firefighter, especially in the big cities where the competition for jobs is cut-throat for natural citizens, nevermind foreign nationals.
    I disagree. I am a foreign national. Got hired by a large city in Midwest 3 years after I moved to the States. This is still and forever will be the land of the opportunities. Every individual has to work hard to get this amazing career. By the time I made to the final interview I had EMT I 85, AASS, and a M.S. degree. I also had 10 years experience at a department in a spanish spekaing country. BTW I learned english here.

    I took the exam with 2000 candidates. All races. Some people think they will be granted to this career just because.

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    Yeah dude there is no "bottom line", if you can get here and into some type of fire science program and start knocking out your EMT as well you will find people that are willing to help you and point you in the right direction. This is a brotherhood and if it's something you're serious about you will get something. It may not be Chicago or FDNY but you should be able to get around and test. Once you're here you can start working on your work visa. Look at the guy on here who is a foreign national. We have a guy who is on the EMS side works as a medic who is from Australia.

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    Really don't know what to tell you about career departments, every department is different regarding hiring policies. Also its pretty competitive for people who are already citizens, I'd hate to see you take multiple flights back and forth to the US just to apply and test for a department that may never call.

    However if you are interested in a volunteer/work experience I would highly recommend looking into joining a department in Prince George county Maryland. Its right next to Washington DC so you'll get the city experience you're looking for. Many departments in PG county have "bunk in" programs, basically in exchange for your time they give you a place to live at the firehouse. The state Maryland also has a tuition reimbursement program for volunteer firefighters(not sure if this applies to non-citizens). I have a few friends who lived at Hyattsville FD and loved the experience, and I beleive they've accepted non citizens before.

    http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov...s/default.aspx
    http://www.hvfd.com/join/live-in-program/

  12. #12
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    Austin FD TX has several foreign nationals. I know two. One was a member from my old dept. back in South America. The other one came from New Zealand. I am in Oklahoma.

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    I also know a guy from Chile who was in that resident firefighter program in Virginia I believe while he was attending graduate school or medical school.

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    Also, I heard San Francisco has several guys too. In fact I remember watching an interview a couple of years ago about a gal from England or somewhere in the whales who made it here to join the FD. The last academy in Santa Monica CA also had a british guy who was a firefighter there and now is here.

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    I honestly think that the higher education and life experience you have, the greater chances you get to get hired by large FDs. That will get you on top of today's average candidate who has EMT and a fire science degree. Master the interview portion of any process And you will get hired as long as you are legal and have the right to work here. No matter Where you are from. Show them you are a competent and professional individual.

    As the brothers stated on here, check local entry requirements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPCFire View Post
    Yeah dude there is no "bottom line", if you can get here and into some type of fire science program and start knocking out your EMT as well you will find people that are willing to help you and point you in the right direction. This is a brotherhood and if it's something you're serious about you will get something. It may not be Chicago or FDNY but you should be able to get around and test. Once you're here you can start working on your work visa. Look at the guy on here who is a foreign national. We have a guy who is on the EMS side works as a medic who is from Australia.

    As for the states goes, i dont even know how id be able to participate in even volunteer work without a work visa, because my visitor visa only allows me to stay for 90 days..

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    Quote Originally Posted by somebuffyguy View Post
    Really don't know what to tell you about career departments, every department is different regarding hiring policies. Also its pretty competitive for people who are already citizens, I'd hate to see you take multiple flights back and forth to the US just to apply and test for a department that may never call.

    However if you are interested in a volunteer/work experience I would highly recommend looking into joining a department in Prince George county Maryland. Its right next to Washington DC so you'll get the city experience you're looking for. Many departments in PG county have "bunk in" programs, basically in exchange for your time they give you a place to live at the firehouse. The state Maryland also has a tuition reimbursement program for volunteer firefighters(not sure if this applies to non-citizens). I have a few friends who lived at Hyattsville FD and loved the experience, and I beleive they've accepted non citizens before.

    http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov...s/default.aspx
    http://www.hvfd.com/join/live-in-program/


    Thats exactly my problem, i dont want to fly all the way there just to apply...
    then again i couldnt even apply without a working visa (which im sure i cant even get in the states..)
    As for volunteering, would i be able to do so without a work visa?
    Last edited by Josh_123; 03-07-2014 at 01:35 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by enginetercera View Post
    Also, I heard San Francisco has several guys too. In fact I remember watching an interview a couple of years ago about a gal from England or somewhere in the whales who made it here to join the FD. The last academy in Santa Monica CA also had a british guy who was a firefighter there and now is here.

    San fran would be awesome, but then again id need a working visa

  19. #19
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    Student visa? Fire science programs are offered by many, many colleges and universities. That may be your route. You would be able to stay here longer I would think. There probably isn't an easy solution to your situation but being able to be in school may give you some time to figure things out.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh_123 View Post
    Thats exactly my problem, i dont want to fly all the way there just to apply...
    then again i couldnt even apply without a working visa (which im sure i cant even get in the states..)
    As for volunteering, would i be able to do so without a work visa?
    Really not sure exactly what you need to volunteer, best advice I can give is contact them and ask. I know they've taken foreign volunteers before, just not sure what kind of paperwork is required.

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