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Moving to Orange County?

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Orange County at a Glance

Moving to Orange County

With a diverse expatriate community, great schools and fantastic weather, moving to Orange County in California is a dream come true for many. Discover how to make the best out of your move to Orange County with this guide, from visas to accommodation.

About the City

The 2010 census showed over 3 million people residing in Orange County, making it one of the most populated counties in California, and the sixth most highly-populated one in the United States. If you are thinking of moving to Orange County, with its wealth of sandy beaches, wineries and tourist attractions then there are a few things that you’ll need to know.

Southern California is known for its temperate climate. With the lowest ever temperature on record a brisk -6°C and a winter average of 18°C, there will be plenty of opportunities to make the most of the ‘outdoorsy’ lifestyle the locals are famous for.

Visas for the USA

In order to capitalize on this stunning scenery and miles of beaches, you will need a visa. The US has a number of options, and if you are relocating due to work commitments or family ties, then you’ll be alongside the majority of applicants.

A green card holder, for instance, can apply for an immigration visa for a spouse or (unmarried) child. A US employer can apply on behalf of a non-national, and there are five preference categories for companies sponsoring immigration visas, the majority of which require exception skill, masters training or experience of a particular profession. If you are being sponsored by an employer, your spouse and any children under the age of 21 can apply for immigration visas alongside you.

Temporary worker visas, on the other hand, are typically easier, but still not necessarily easy, to obtain and allow for limited stays. In our dedicated Extended Guide to the US, you can read up on the various types of nonimmigrantion as well as immigration visas, as well as learn more about the application process.

Finding Accommodation

Finding accommodation in the county is as much dependent on your needs as the type of lifestyle you intend to lead. The three largest cities in the county are Anaheim, an industrial center, Santa Ana, 10 miles from the coast with an impeccable safety record, and Irvine, an affluent planned city with a number of highly regarded schools. If you are looking for a metropolitan lifestyle, expect to pay an average of 1,600 USD in rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, rising to 2,900 USD a month for a family-size, three-bedroom apartment; an approximate 600 USD premium on similar apartments outside of the city center.

If you would like to settle outside of a city, there are a number of suburbs in Orange County with plenty to offer young professionals and families. Perhaps one of the most renowned is Newport Beach, noted as one of the cleanest beaches in the county and famous for its many restaurants and fantastic schools. If you are looking for an inland town, Aliso Viejo is an excellent option. This compact town is easy to navigate and is ideal for young families, boasting 21 parks.

InterNations Expat Magazine