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Moving to San Diego?

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San Diego at a Glance

Moving to San Diego

Due to its unique location of being right on the border of Mexico and the United States of America, San Diego has a lot to recommend it to expats looking to move to the West Coast. Get prepared for your move to San Diego by reading up on the city, its climate, US visas, and more.

From its reputation as one of the best year-round weather cities in the US, to its historical significance as the first part of California to be settled in by Europeans (earning the city the title of ‘birthplace of California’), Another advantage of the city is its relatively inexpensive accommodation when compared to other popular Californian destinations such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

About the City

Since it was first settled by Europeans in the mid-18th century, San Diego has gradually established itself as one of the largest US cities, with a population approaching 1.4 million. Around 25% of the city’s population are foreign-born, creating a welcoming and vibrant ‘melting pot’ environment for those moving to San Diego and looking to fit in.

The city is located close to the border of the Ajar California area of Mexico, and is also near Tijuana, which is a popular destination for San Diego residents and tourists. This proximity to Mexico has brought about a fusion of cultures in the city, and some of the most popular restaurants and most renowned foods in the area are of Mexican origin. Of course, another perk of being so close to Mexico is that San Diego boasts an enviable climate, with temperatures being maintained at around 20°C (70°F) year-round.

Visas for the United States

Any expats wishing to relocate to San Diego will have to comply with the United States’ immigration and visa policy. This requires that all expats and immigrants obtain a visa. Depending on what category this falls into, only a limited amount may be made available each year, e.g. around 140,000 employment-based immigration visas. In order to qualify for one of these highly sought after immigration visas, applicants will need to demonstrate that they hold the requisite skills, education, and experience to hold a permanent job in the city.

However, there are various other visa categories available, too, from short-term business visas and temporary worker visas to the famous Green Card Lottery. The application process for obtaining a visa may seem relatively simple at first. Would-be applicants need only to apply online or to visit the United States embassy in their own country. These are located in cities around the world and a full list of US embassies and consulates, including contact details, can be found online.

However, prior to applying, applicants will need to have with them a valid passport and any and all supporting documents; collecting the latter may take some time. Expats-to-be also need to be prepared to attend an interview at the embassy before securing the visa and a fee will apply, too.

The Climate in San Diego

One massive draw to all of California and the coast in particular, is the weather. While much of the rest of the country is ploughing paths through the snow on their driveways, San Diego residents are living it up on the beach, holding barbecues, and otherwise enjoying the almost year-round fantastic weather.

This doesn’t mean to say, however, that summers in the city are unbearably hot. In fact, the weather in San Diego is pretty consistent and stable throughout the year, with temperatures rising very slightly in summer and falling very slightly in the winter. On average, the coldest San Diego gets is around 10°C (50°F), and the hottest the city gets is around 25°C (77°). For those looking for sharply-defined summers and winters, then, the city isn’t ideal, but for those content with reasonably warm and sunny weather all the year round, San Diego is perfect. 

InterNations Expat Magazine