Summary of Tips
- If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Test the waters: mention that you use an agent/contracts and note their reaction.
- Use an agent: a husband, trusted friend, trusted Arab; a man in particular will be more of a safeguard.
- Call the Consulate of the Overseas country and find out if public belly dancing is even legal there. If not, they're hiring you for 'private' dancing...
- Make sure you get a ROUNDTRIP AIRTICKET paid for and sent to you before you leave. Never accept/use a one-way ticket. Check to make sure the return reservation is confirmed before you leave. Make a copy of the ticket and leave it with a friend at home.
- Get a signed, notarized contract that states weekly salary in US dollars, plus: private room in reputable hotel, amount/length of shows, at least one day off per week, and renewal clause must include mutual option or better still, your option.
- Make sure you can leave that country at your will. For instance, is your Male sponsor's permission needed? If so, you may not be going anywhere.
- Upon arrival, check into the nearest US Embassy or consulate; ask to speak to an official. Tell them why you're there, leave copies of your passport, contract, location, etc., and ask if it's ok to "check in" every 2-3 days (say your family worries and asked you to, if necessary).
- Never, ever give your passport to a "boss"/"agent". If it needs special stamps, go with them DURING THE DAY, in the open, to whatever office. Tell your US Embassy "connection" where you're going and ask if it's really necessary.
- Unless you've made the personal connection, don't ever assume the US embassy or consulate will help you if there's trouble.
- Traveling to the overseas location with a trusted male person, to whom you're legally bound will simplify dealings in some countries (i.e. Saudi Arabia--where one would never get a regular dance gig, by the way).
- Before leaving, let trusted friends know your plans and where you'll be staying in detail. If you don't return on time they can alert authorities, post on the Internet, etc.
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Last Modified: 15 Jun 1997