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Moving to the US

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to the US

Understand the process of relocating to the US by reading our practical guide on moving to the US. We discuss the requirements you need to meet and the steps you need to take for your transition. From determining what visa you need to your first encounter with the US tax system, our guide covers all you need to know for a successful move.

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

Whether you have just started thinking of how to move to the US or it has been your lifelong goal to live out the American dream, this guide is the perfect step towards your journey. We answer all the questions that arise when preparing for your move.

How hard or easy it can be for you to move to the US depends on plenty of factors. What you do for living is one of them. If your profession allows you to qualify for a specialty occupation visa, your immigration process may be fairly straightforward; however, it will still take time.

Another one of the things to know when moving to the US is that each of the 50 states can be seen as its’ own separate country with different culture, traditions, and even laws. That is why, when thinking of what you need to do when moving to the US, consider the regulations specific to the state you wish to relocate to.

Still wondering why you should move to the US? Job opportunities and affordable real estate are just some of the benefits of moving to the US, a melting pot of cultures.

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relocating

Relocating

Start your process of moving to the US by familiarizing yourself with US customs laws. This section of our guide covers the basic rules of bringing alcohol, tobacco, and food into the country, as well as the importation of any medication you might need during the first few months.

Another important point to note when shipping household good to the US is the distinction between household and personal effects. Your TV and camera are classified under two separate groups of items and knowing which belongs to which will make your moving process smoother. Storing your household goods should not be a problem in the US as the country has plenty of short- and long-term storage options available.

Once you have figured out which items you are allowed to bring into the US and which you need to find storage space for back home, you should start looking into your medical situation. The US requires for all people that wish to stay in the country for an extended period of time to go through a thorough check-up conducted by a local US embassy-approved physician. There is also a list of required vaccinations you have to get before entering the country.

Even more rules apply if you wish to move to the US with your pets, especially if your pet is a dog or bird. If that is the case, you might need to spend a few months preparing your furry or feathery friend for the big move. Regulations for cats, reptiles, and rodents are less rigorous, as long as their breeds are not prohibited altogether in the country.

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visas-work-permits

Visas & Work Permits

If you are wondering how to get US visa and work permit, know that one of the most popular US visa types is H1-B. This is a visa for workers who qualify as representatives of specialty occupations. Teachers, engineers, medical professionals, and IT specialists are amongst these professions. However, do not worry if you do not meet the requirements for this visa, as there are other options that might suit your situation.

While you might consider eligibility as the priority when applying for a US visa, make sure you budget for the inevitable visa costs as well. Filing specific forms, mailing them out, and even the production of the document itself has a fee which can add up to a few hundreds of dollars.

When it comes to staying in the US for longer, there are a few factors that will help you qualify for a permanent US visa. Family, employment, or sheer luck might get you a chance to settle in the US for ten whole years. However, going through the permanent visa application process itself might take you quite some time as well.

Find out all you need to know about visas including eligibility requirements, family visa equivalents, and length of time your documents allow you to stay in the country by proceeding to the full guide on visas to the US.

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housing

Housing

When thinking about your housing options in the US, you first need to decide whether you wish to rent or buy accommodation. Both choices are equally viable here; however, the approach to them differs.

If you opt to live in one of the big cities in the US, renting an apartment or a house is usually the best option available. This is typically the preferred choice of many expats who do not know how long they will be in the country as well.

If you are sure you wish to stay in the US for a longer period of time, consider buying a house here. Homeownership is popular among foreigners as there are few eligibility requirements one needs to fulfill in order to qualify.

Once you have decided how you are going to obtain your housing, you can choose the location and the type of house that is most suitable for you. Looking at the average rent and house prices might help you decide with this.

No matter if you choose to rent or buy, you will most likely have to deal with US utility companies. Find out more about how to set up your utilities, what to expect from your bills, and many other housing-related practicalities by reading the full article on housing in the US.

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healthcare

Healthcare

Calling the US health system complicated is an understatement. Billions of dollars are spent on it each year by both the government and individuals, yet it still seems to be a headache for many locals and expats that live in the country. Additionally, the laws regulating the system are in a constant state of change which adds to the general feeling of confusion. However, we aim to clarify most uncertainties by introducing you to the healthcare and health insurance system in the US in this section.

To start off, public healthcare does exist in the US but it is not universal. That is why having private health insurance is vital if you wish to avoid high medical bills. The good news is that most employers do cover health insurance bills for their employees. Still, the plans they provide are not always sufficient, so you might need to pay for additional coverage.

There are also pros and cons further down the line. For example, your health insurance provider will help you find a doctor, but also will limit the choice of professionals you can see.

Giving birth in the US is likely to be a good experience with professional medical staff attending to all your needs; however, the price of this luxury can make one go bankrupt.

Learn to navigate your way through the most expensive healthcare system in the world with the help of our guide’s healthcare section.

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banks-taxes

Banks & Taxes

Money is an important part of US culture. That is why it is not a surprise that many banks are quick to accommodate anyone who wishes to open a bank account in the US.

The US is home to a lot of the world’s best banks, offering the most suitable bank account options to clients no matter if they are locals or non-residents living in the country. However, no matter your residency status, you will need to be in the country to open a bank account there.

Once you get to the US and make your first purchase you are bound to notice one significant detail: The price that is on the price tag does not correspond to the price you are charged at the counter. This might be your first encounter with the US tax system that, most likely, will not be the last.

The good news is that tax rates in the US are fairly low. Want to know how much taxes are exactly? Read our banks and taxes section of the guide.

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education

Education

It is the US school curriculum that might encourage parents to choose a local international school instead of a typical public one for their expat children.

The school system in the US is split into preschool, primary, middle, and high school and is followed by undergraduate, graduate, and further degree programs in higher education institutions.

The biggest problem in the US education system right now is the cost of higher education. Many students that wish to study in universities cannot afford to choose schools that best suit their abilities and if they do, they end up with a large student debt after graduation.

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working

Working

Work is taken very seriously in the US. Employees do not typically take more than two weeks’ vacation per year and working overtime is so common it is an essential part of the business culture. Americans often put their careers as their main priority and the same is expected from expats who come to work here as well.

On the plus side, the rewards are usually worth it. The average salary in the US is high for a skilled worker and if you land a job that is in high demand, you can expect to receive enough money to live better than comfortably. However, government-provided social security is rather limited.

Setting up a business is the only way of becoming self-employed in the US and while for locals it is generally easy, foreigners might struggle with obtaining the right visa that would allow them to work for themselves.

Still wondering how to get a job in the US? Proceed to read this section for more information.

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country-facts

Country Facts

Is it expensive to live in the US? It depends on the prices you are considering and what you are comparing to. For example, groceries are usually more expensive than in many other Western countries. On the other hand, fuel is significantly cheaper, which is very important to one of the cultural phenomena of the US –– driving.

Driving in the US is such an important asset that some states legally allow 14-year-olds to operate vehicles. Driving is often taught at schools and is a highly demanded skill for most job postings.

The driving culture might be one of the many reasons why public transportation in the US is so underdeveloped. While the big cities of the country enjoy safe and reliable public transit such as metro and buses, when it comes to interstate travels, the US leaves a lot to be desired.

Apart from the cost of living and transportation options, the country facts section of our guide also introduces you to the practicalities of the country, such as emergency phone numbers and celebrated public holidays.

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Updated on: June 27, 2019
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