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Moving to Miami

What to Know if You're Moving to Miami

Wondering how to move to Miami? As opposed to some US cities, moving to this lively Florida city is fairly simple. The housing market is competitive, but newcomers should easily find a home within a few weeks. Likewise, in a city where over 50% of the residents were born overseas, expats should have no problem feeling welcomed.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Wondering what the relocation process to Miami is like? Our guide will go over everything you need to know before moving to the laidback yet bustling Florida metropolis. For example, everyone knows that one of the benefits of living in Miami is the warm, sunny weather throughout all four seasons, but have you heard of hurricane season? Hurricanes typically threaten the southeastern US coast in August and September, but the full season lasts from June until November. Miami residents spend these months with the notion that they could be forced to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Although hurricanes may be a disadvantage, there are many perks to living in Miami. Our guide will walk you through all that makes this city great and what you, your family, and even your pets can expect when making this city your new home.

When you are ready to move to Miami, consider enlisting the expert relocation help of InterNations GO! Whether you are moving to this Florida metropolis for work, retirement, or pleasure, we offer tailored relocation services to help you move and settle-in effortlessly.

Relocating

Every year the city of Miami sees thousands of local Americans and expats relocating to its metropolitan and surrounding areas.  Want to know why are they moving to this city, also known as the Magic City?

For starters, Miami is known for its nearly year-round warm, sunny weather. While temperatures do dip slightly in the winter months, causing most Floridians to overcompensate with fleece-lined, puffy coats, Miami residents can use flip flops almost every month of the year. Likewise, those who enjoy Latin culture or food will be especially thrilled to set up residence in this city, as it boasts such a large Latin community that it has been nicknamed the Capital of Latin America.

Still wondering why you should move to Miami? Read our overview to learn what you can expect when relocating to this US city.

Things to Know Before Moving to Miami

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of moving to Miami.

The Weather: Sunshine, Hurricanes, and Air Conditioning

The first pro/con balance of moving to Miami is the weather. On the one hand, the weather in Miami is perfect beach-going weather nearly every month of the year. Annual temperatures stay around 77°F (25°C) and can periodically drop to just 64°F (18°C) between December to February. This means Miami residents can enjoy outdoor activities year-round. However, with these warm temperatures comes the need for air conditioning and thus a high monthly cost for utilities.

Miami’s weather also has another disadvantage: hurricanes. Hurricane Season lasts from June to November. During this time, Miami residents live with the knowledge that the right size and strength hurricane will have them boarding up their homes and heading north for shelter.

Salaries: Low, But Not Taxed 

Salaries in Miami are not as high as what you can expect to find in other major US cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. The cost of living is not high either, however, Miami is still a big city with “big city prices.” This means you should not expect to come to Miami and save a ton of money. However, you can expect a comfortable way of life and not having to live paycheck-to-paycheck.

A balance to Miami’s lower salaries is the fact that Florida does not collect income tax. This means you can expect to keep more of your gross salary earnings than what you would if you worked in other US states, where income tax can go well over 10%.

So Much to Do, So Many People 

You will rarely be bored in Miami. Your days can be spent relaxing on the beach, trying out the plethora of multicultural eateries, or exploring the many cultural museums, galleries, and parks available. There are also plenty of water sports to take part in such as boating, kayaking, water skiing, and parasailing. Popular destinations like the Florida Everglades, Key West, and even Disney World and Universal Studios are all easy day trips from Miami.

With this never-ending list of things to do, however, comes hordes of people: both residents and tourists. Florida is a crowded state, and it is becoming increasingly popular. If you are looking for some solitude outside your own home, you might find this in the middle of the Everglades, but even this park gets quite crowded at certain times of the year. Areas like Miami and Fort Lauderdale are also mobbed during the US school system’s Spring Break period with thousands of university students flocking to the warm beaches.

Bugs and Traffic

Although not as infamous for its traffic as Los Angeles, Miami does have its fair share of congestion. This is partially due to the city’s lack of a truly expansive public transportation system, thus forcing most residents to use their cars on a daily basis. According to recent studies, Miamians spend an average of nearly 40 minutes stuck in traffic every day.

Like hurricanes, bugs are also an unfortunate way of life in Miami (and in much of the southeastern US in general). Florida is particularly well-known throughout the US for its massive creepy crawlers. Palmetto bugs (a type of cockroach) can be nearly the size of someone’s palm. Mosquitos and biting sand gnats are an everyday nuisance. Florida residents should carry insect repellent with them at all times.

For a more detailed list of what you can expect when moving to Miami, see our Living in Miami section.

Tips and Advice for Moving to Miami

Is it Hard to Move to Miami as an Expat?

Despite the usual hassles all foreigners have to overcome when applying for a visa to live in the US, moving to Miami is no harder than moving to any other US city. In fact, with the lower cost of living it may be easier.

One aspect that makes Miami an easy city for foreigners to move to is the large international community. It is not only expats living in Miami who are not natives to the city; even most American nationals living in this Florida city are not from there. This may help newcomers feel more at ease because they will feel less like an outsider than they would in other cities where more than half the population has lived there all their lives.

Home Finding

The housing market in Miami is competitive, but not so competitive that you will spend months looking for a home. Most newcomers to Miami find a place to live within a few weeks of arriving in the city. The average apartment rent in Miami is around 1,800 USD. You can find a cheaper price away from the downtown area and the beaches, but do not expect to find anything for less than 1,000 USD.

Saying Miami’s housing market is competitive means that you should be prepared to act on a place fast. When you go to an apartment viewing, be sure to bring all of your necessary documents and a deposit with you. If you decide to think about a place you for even a day, it may already be taken.

For more about the best ways to find a home in Miami or the most popular neighborhoods, check out our section on Housing in Miami.

Moving to Miami with Pets

To move to Miami with pets, you first need to make sure you are able to import your animals into the US. Read our guide on All You Need to Know About Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets to the US for more.

When Searching for a Home

Not all properties will accept pets. Many condo associations and apartment buildings even have strict rules against pets in general, or specific breeds and exotic animals (such as snakes, lizards, hedgehogs, etc.). Your best option when relocating to Miami with pets is to find temporary accommodation first, and then take your time to make sure you find a place that not only accepts your pet(s) but is the best place for both you and them.

If you are concerned about your pet’s move to Miami, enlist the expert relocation services of InterNations GO! to ensure they have a safe and easy move from one home to the next.

Health and Safety 

When bringing your pet to Florida, there are a few health and safety precautions you should take. For starters: the heat. As noted, Miami (and Florida in general) are extremely hot places. If you are bringing a dog to Miami, it is important to carry water for them (and for you) during midday walks. If you plan on leaving your pet outside for a long period of time (such as when you go into a restaurant or grocery store), take note you will need to find shady areas where they can cool off.

Another heat precaution pertains to dogs’ paws. If walking your pet during the middle of the day, be aware that the asphalt and cement sidewalks can get hot enough to burn and blister paw pads. It is possible to buy shoes for your dog to protect their feet, or you will need to walk in areas with grass. Beach sand can burn under the midday sun as well, so this is not an ideal alternative.

Pets and Cars

Do not leave your pets in a locked car with the windows up. Temperatures inside shut cars in Florida can climb dramatically (120 F/49 C in just 30 minutes) and lead to organ damage or death. It is not against the law in Miami to leave your pet unattended in a car but be aware that it is not unheard of for passersby to smash car windows if they see an unattended pet inside.

Pets and Bugs

The last note about pet health and safety in Miami is to be aware of bugs, reptiles, or amphibians they might come in contact with. This is especially important if you bring cats and plan to let them roam outside. Florida is home to many poisonous animals such as the Bufo toad or blue-tailed skink. Both of these amphibians are toxic and can cause nerve damage or death if consumed or even bitten by a cat or dog.

Florida is also home to ticks, which can spread the incurable Lyme disease. Be sure to check your pet’s fur periodically to ensure these blood-sucking critters have not borrowed into their skin. If they have, try to remove the tick as close to the head as possible.

A tick can remain alive even without the rest of its body. If you think you have left the head, you can cover the area with a spot of nail polish as this will suffocate the tick. This method can also work on humans should you find yourself the unwitting host of a tick.

Keep in mind, a vaccination for tick-borne illnesses exist in Canada and some European countries, but not in the US.

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Visas and Work Permits

Miami’s population may be over 50% international, but that does not do anything to speed up the standard lengthy, and often confusing, visa and work permit process. Expats wanting to live and work in Miami, or anywhere in the US, should be aware that obtaining a visa can be difficult and not likely to get any easier in the future.

How do you get a US visa? There are several options. One is to be hired by a US company and have them sponsor your visa. Another option is to enroll at an American university. For more information on the requirements and documents you need to relocate to the US, please see our guide to US visas and work permits.

Applying for a US visa is time-consuming and complicated. InterNations GO! offers visa advisory services to help you through this process and get you on your way to living your expat dream.

Living In

What is it like living in Miami? It is like a day at the beach: great weather, a coastal location, and general laidback vibe. This US city is ideal for expats looking for a slower pace of life, but still entrenched in a major metropolis.

At its core, Miami is two things: a beach town and a Latin community. Much of Miami’s population is descendent from countries in Latin America or directly hail from it. In fact, a knowledge of Spanish will get you just as far in this city as the English language. This heavy Latin influence also means that some things in Miami work differently than in other US cities. For example, it is common to kiss people to the sides of their cheek when greeting them rather than the typical American handshake. You will also find many Latin restaurants, clubs, and grocery stores throughout the city and surrounding areas.

If you want to know more about how to live in The Magic City, check out our guide to Living in Miami.

Working In

Just like with other aspects of moving to Miami, working in the city is competitive. However, if you are flexible with your salary and type of position you are willing to accept, it is possible to find a position within a month or two.

If you want to know about getting a job in Miami, one of the best ways is to work with a recruiter. Expats in the tourism, transport, or manufacturing industries will find the greatest amount of opportunities, but so will those in education or entertainment. Thanks to its heavy international influence, expats with experience in the South American market will be especially sought after as will those with bilingual capabilities.

Expats interested in being self-employed while living in Miami will find the same amount of opportunities as you will in any other US city. Miami has many resources and support networks for entrepreneurial expats, but the first and hardest step will be procuring a US visa. There is no such thing as a self-employed visa in the US unless expats are able to provide a substantial financial investment. For more, see our guide to Visas and Work Permits in the US.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Updated on: April 08, 2020
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