So, you’ve decided to move to the United States (US). You’ve heard great things about it, and you’re excited to start afresh and try out a completely new continent.
Moving to another country is never easy. Aside from packing up everything you own and transporting it thousands of miles, there are a lot of additional things that you need to take into account before you move. Visas, work permits, accommodation, bank accounts…You’re going to have a lot on your plate.
To make things a little easier, here are some of the most important factors to consider before you make your move to the US.
Deciding on a State
The United States of America is a large country with 50 different states, and no two states are the same. Each one has its own laws and regulations, and life in one state can vary substantially compared to the next. From the cost of living to the culture to the weather, make yourself aware of what to expect before you commit to a location.
Getting the Right Visa
When moving to the US, you need to get a work permit or a visa that allows you to legally work in the country. If you want permanent residency, you’re going to need a green card or a sponsor.
Applications for visas take several weeks, so this should be one of the first things you do when you decide to move to the US. If you’re unsure of the exact conditions and requirements for a US visa, contact the embassy of the country to gather more information. You must make sure that you apply for the correct visa, otherwise, you may not be allowed to stay in the country.
In order to successfully move to another country, you’re going to need to fill out a lot of paperwork. You may require the following documentation to apply for your visa or green card, open up a US bank account, or apply for any job.
- Visa documentation
- Academic certificates
- Bank statements
- Medical insurance certificates
- Vaccination certificates
Failure to provide necessary forms could lead to delays in your move.
Getting a Sponsor
If you decide to continue living in the US after your visa has expired, you must have a green card to qualify for a sponsorship. Your sponsor is responsible for supporting you financially, and they provide a guarantee that you are legally able to work while you live in the US.
A sponsor is generally your US employer who completes permanent labor certification ads, also known as PERM advertising. This involves your employer performing several tasks, including placement of immigration ads for your job role and displaying that no other US workers applied for your current position to the DOL.
If you’re moving from a place like the United Kingdom, where healthcare is predominantly free, you might be shocked when you are sent a hefty medical bill after some treatment you received. Different medical treatments can cost a lot of money in the US, but you might be able to get them subsidized through your employer. This is generally only available to full-time employees, though.
You should aim for health insurance before you receive any form of treatment while living in the US. Your insurance provider will cover most, if not some, of the costs associated with your medical procedures and medications.
Whether you plan on staying in the US for months or years, you’re going to need somewhere to live. Depending on the state you’ve chosen to move to, you can be looking at a range between hundreds or thousands of dollars a month for accommodation. Most areas have plenty of options, including condos, single-family homes, and multi-family homes. If you’re moving on your own, you may also want to search for lodges or cheap hotel rooms that you can rent long term.
When organizing accommodation in another country, it can be difficult getting an idea of how nice the housing and its surrounding areas are. Ask the landlord to send photos and videos of the exterior and interior of the property, and do your own research using Google Maps and other online resources to view the place before you send over a deposit.
Although it’s not a big deal in many countries, tipping is almost a necessity in the US. Whether you’re paying for a meal or being escorted to your room by a concierge, you are expected to tip the workers. Usually, around 15-20% of the bill is expected. Of course, tipping is optional, but expect a frosty reception from the employees if you decide not to leave one.
With the United States being so vast, transportation is an important consideration to take. One state can be hundreds of miles from the next. This is unlike places like the United Kingdom, where one city is just a short drive away from the next.
When you’re choosing a place to live, make sure you research the local transport systems. Are there railways nearby? How good are the public transport links? This is particularly important if you’re going to be traveling to your workplace. If you have a car, you will need to check where the nearest highways are.
If you don’t already speak English, you need to consider how you will learn some of the languages. Even if it’s just the basics to start with, knowing some key phrases so you can effectively communicate with the locals.
By considering the above factors, your move to the US will be much simpler. Although it can take weeks, if not months, to organize everything prior to your move, once you’re there, you’re all set to have the time of your life in a brand-new country.