Born Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger under the sign of Leo on July 30, 1947, it was 15 years before he did anything to warrant his presence in the United States. That is the year he decided to take up bodybuilding as a career and therefore became eligible for a B-1 visa, under which he was allowed entry in 1968. History does not record whether he had his eye on the mansion in Sacramento at 16th and H Streets at this time.
Under the terms of a B-1 visa, certain individuals, such as athletes in training, are permitted into the country but they are not allowed to receive a salary for their activities within the USA. It has been alleged that Arnie did earn a weekly salary somewhere in the region of $65 or $200 for talking to people about his fitness regime, but only the star and his migration agent know for sure.
Immigrants under the B-1 visa are, however, entitled to receive “actual expenses,” i.e., money for food and accommodation. Pumping iron is clearly hungry work. At 6’2″, he may well have needed an oversized bed.
In 1969, Arnie’s migration agent earned his keep once again and helped him secure an H-2 visa, which does allow the visa-holder to be gainfully employed. In this case, the period of employment must be temporary, have a specified end date and must fill an unusual need, like seasonal or cyclical work. The petitioner must also certify that no U.S. nationals will be adversely affected by international beneficiary’s employment.
Arnie worked as a bricklayer. Some people (meaning, his political opponents years later) objected to this line of work, saying it was a violation of the terms of his visa. Well, really. Construction work is obviously seasonal. How many bricklayers do you see slapping mortar and laying bricks on walls when it’s raining outside? California’s rainy season lasts from November through February and the dry season, when bricklayers can safely perform their duties, runs from March through October. See? Seasonal!
Arnie’s migration agent performed his non-seasonal job on the star’s behalf on two further occasions; once in 1974, when the bodybuilder-cum-bricklayer-cum-actor-cum-governor achieved permanent residence in the United States and again when he became a U.S. citizen in 1983.
In the run up to the 2003 California gubernatorial election, when affection for the lovable actor was running high, there was talk of immigration reform that would allow people born in foreign countries the right to run for President of the United States. This talk went very, very quiet in November 2005, when four ballot measures the Governor had sponsored were defeated in a special election which he himself had called.