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Moving to Silicon Valley?

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Silicon Valley at a Glance

Moving to Silicon Valley

With its diverse cities, warm climate, and welcoming residents, Silicon Valley attracts people from many educational and cultural backgrounds. This guide briefs you on the most important aspects of preparing your move to Silicon Valley.

Rent and proper prices vary across the area, but due to its size and diversity there is something available for all requirements. However, housing does not always come cheap, and a study by Zillow Real Estate Research lists the average house value as being more than 1 million dollars.

About Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is a collection of cities rather than one metropolis. The largest and most important city is San Jose, which is home to over one million people and is the tenth most populated place in the United States.

Nicknamed the "Capital of Silicon Valley", San Jose is noted as being an affluent place with a high cost of living. While it may not be as internationally famous as Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is equally important as many of the world's leading technology firms call it home.

Some 27.3% of San Jose residents identified themselves as white in a 2012 American Community Survey. The largest demographic are Hispanics with 33.2%, closely followed by Asians. The latter make up 32.8% of the population, which is a much larger percentage than in most American cities. Some 2.8% of residents identify as African-American and the remaining 3.6% are split across various ethnicities.

The wider Santa Clara County area has a population of 1,762,754 and is 50.9% white, 31.8% Asian, 26.6% Hispanic or Latino, 2.6% African American and 0.6% Native American.

The Climate in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley enjoys an average of 301 days of sunshine each year, but average temperatures vary across the region due to location and other geographical factors. Gilroy, for example, sits to the south of the area and benefits from the Pacific Ocean moderating its climate. San Jose, meanwhile, has mountains on three sides of its boundaries and has a more arid climate with less rainfall.

Towns closer to the ocean and the Bay Area typically have highs of 31°C (88°F) and lows of 16°C (60°F), while regions further inland can see temperatures soar past 32°C (90°F). Between 1981 and 2010, the highest recorded temperature in San Jose was a scorching 43°C (109°F).

The southern Santa Clara County lies close to the San Andreas Fault and earthquakes are common. However, most are too small to be felt and there has not been a major one since 1989.

Visas for the United States

Expats hoping to move to Silicon Valley are required to obtain a green card or visa prior to entering the country. Both allow the holder to live and work in the States, but a visa is only a temporary document while a green card allows permanent residence.

A person's eligibility is dependent on a number of factors, including the need for specific work skills, education and employment history. To obtain a visa, you are required to visit the US embassy in your home nation and provide the relevant documentation. You can find out more about the different visa categories in our section on Visa and Administration in the USA.


InterNations Expat Magazine