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Overseas Work Visas

If you are under 35 and an American citizen, AIPT (Association for International Practical Training) can arrange 12- to 18-month visas and work permits in nine countries through its Career Development Exchange Program. A contract with a sponsoring company in France was not enough to get me a visa on my own, but AIPT managed to do so in less than six weeks.

The program is most effective for those who find their own jobs, but those still looking can use AIPT's job search system. "There are jobs out there," says Alexa Brown of AIPT. "There are just no trainees applying for them."

Those who find their own jobs, as I did, should you know enough about the program to convince potential employers of its efficiency. Also, remember that most countries require you to pass through your local consulate before entering the country to work.

A Few Precautions

In many countries, a work permit through AIPT only allows you to work in one field. Although you can change employers, you can't change type of employment. Don't just grab a contract with the first interested company, thinking you can always change when you've found something better. You are responsible for informing yourself about the local labor laws. It's always a good idea to go over your contract with a friendly, knowledgeable native.

Those warnings aside, I have yet to find a more efficient and reasonably-priced way to obtain a work permit.

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