Moving to a new country isn’t easy. You’ll be leaving your comfort zone and adjusting to an entirely new place. If you’re from a country where English isn’t the first language, you’ll have to learn a whole new language. There are many things to do and know before you move to the United States. The following are just a few things you can keep in mind to help you get started.
You need a visa
This one is fairly obvious; you can’t immigrate without a visa. A visa is granted based on many factors such as studies, family ties, and most importantly, a job. If you’ve been offered a job in the US, your workplace should be sponsoring you for a visa.
While you’re applying for jobs or sorting your offers, you need to be extremely careful about scams. Any job offer that requires you to make a payment upfront regarding your visa is definitely a scam.
Translate your documents
If you’re moving from a non-English speaking country, your documents will be in another language. Therefore, you’ll need to have them translated before you come to the States to avoid any confusion in the immigration line or during applications for local documents. An easy way to do this is to use online translation services like the ones offered at RapidTranslate.
You’ll need certified translations for official purposes which you can get through notarized translation services at RapidTranslate.org. In these translations, an official will stamp the translation thereby guaranteeing its accuracy. Here’s a list of basic documents you’ll require to bring over to the US, as well as have them translated to English:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage or divorce certificate
- Work contract
- Driving license
- Medical certificates
- Visa documents
Healthcare isn’t free
When you go to a hospital for any medical issue, the first thing you’ll be asked about are your insurance details. Healthcare is not only not free, but it’s also expensive.
So if you’ve immigrated based on a work visa, you’ll need to ask your employer – usually, they provide it on their own – for health insurance. The downside is, this option is only for those who work full time in most companies. Everyone else will have to invest in private medical insurance.
Unlike other countries where employers are obligated to provide paid leave to employees, no such law in the US allows the employer to do so. So don’t plan any long or frequent vacations.
The work culture is quite rigorous and focused, and you might fall behind if you’re used to working at a slower pace. However, it depends on the employer as well. Some employers might like their employees to have relaxed working hours, and some might like longer working hours, also depending on the type of job. Like unpaid leave, there’s no law in the US regarding a set time of working hours.
Varying costs of living
Just like every other country, the cost of living varies among different areas. The cost of living in a city is higher than the suburbs or even different areas in one city. For example, in New York alone, you’ll find a reasonable two-bedroom apartment for rent in Queens. The same size apartment will be much higher in rent in the Upper West/Eastside area.
Before moving, you should look up websites and ask around the people living in the area about every detail regarding cost and safety. Nowadays, with social media, you can even join different online groups that discuss real estate, and you’ll have a better idea regarding the prices.
Credit is more important than cash
In the US, a credit score is everything. It determines how financially trustworthy you’re to auto lenders, mortgage lenders, and other financial institutions. The irony is since you’re new to the US and your credit score is 0, it’ll be somewhat difficult to obtain a credit card. How can you obtain a credit card if your score is 0?
Some credit companies look at more than just a credit score; they look at your past and current jobs, your financial history, and your potential. Therefore, you’ll have to do a lot of research regarding which credit company to affiliate yourself with to start building a credit score.
A lifestyle change
No two countries are the same; you’ll be adjusting quite a lot the first few months of your stay. There are a variety of cultures in different areas, and the lifestyle is different. If you’re moving from a city, you should choose a location with some hustle and bustle as adjusting to a suburban area will be more difficult.
Every state has different laws; you’ll have to thoroughly know all the laws before you move. For example, in most states, you have to clean your driveway of ice and snow, as they’re accident-prone.
While tipping is a universal culture, it’s highly appreciated in the US. The servers, bellhops, drivers don’t earn enough so they rely on tips. You’ll have to make it a constant habit to carry some cash around with you and tip these people. It’s not an obligation, but unless you want your server’s attitude towards you to turn cold, you’d want to tip them.
Part with the old, buy some new
Interestingly enough, you’ll find that buying things in the US will be cheaper than importing all your stuff from your previous country. There are many markets where you’ll find new and second-hand items. This trick is super helpful, as the electric sockets in the US are different from other places in the world. You’ll have to find adaptors for your electronics which can be annoying. This is why you should leave your things behind and invest in new stuff.
Most apartments or houses come with accessories such as blenders, microwaves, toasters, and so on, so unless you’re attached to your kitchen appliances, you can leave those things behind.
It’s not easy moving to a new country. You leave so much behind in terms of not only family and friends, but belongings and your comfort zone too. The US is a country with a lot of mixed races and different cultures, and finding your comfort level will be relatively easier than when moving to other countries. All you have to do before moving is lots of research regarding laws and policies, and you’ll have an easy transition.