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Moving to the USA

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: Expats who want to move to the USA should do a lot of homework and carefully organize their efforts as they move through the immigration process. This article and the other resources linked will help you develop an understanding of how to accomplish this.

Expats in the USA - Moving to the USA

Expats who wish to know how to move to the United States will find a lot of useful information below.

1.) Basics For Moving to the United States

Familiarize yourself with the United States and make sure it's a good fit for you. Relative to many other countries in the world, it is an expensive place to live, but there are excellent opportunities for hard working, resourceful people.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a glossary of immigration terms that should prove very helpful as you navigate through the immigration process.

If you wish to immigrate to the United States, you need to familiarize yourself with the immigrant visa process. More on that below.

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2.) Organize Vital Documents and Records and Obtain Those That Are Missing

You will need to make sure that you have documentation for you and everyone in your family that will move to the United States. These include:

Birth Certificate(s)
Marriage Licenses/Divorce Records
Passports
Medical Records
Educational Records

You will likely need to be able to prove that both the father and mother consent to any child leaving your country, and also be able to establish this with authorities in the United States as you enter.

Make sure any expiration dates on your documents meet the requirements of your country and those of the United States!

3.) Visas and Work Permits for the United States

If you are moving to work in the United States, it's likely the HR department or another employee of the firm will do most of the paperwork for you. You should pay very close attention to what they tell you and read all of the materials they provide you. Ensure all of the information you provide is accurate, and that it is accurately recorded by your employer.

Even if they are doing most of the work, you should still familiarize yourself with the paperwork and documents necessary to secure the appropriate visa(s) for your situation (and that of your family members).

The United States allows roughly 140,000 Permanent Workers (and their spouses and children) each year who want to work in the United States.

These Employment-Based opportunities are divided into 5 categories:

First Preference EB-1
Second Preference EB-2
Third Preference EB-3
Fourth Preference EB-4
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Green Cards and Permanent Residence in the United States.

4.) Expats Should Learn English in the United States

If you are moving to the United States, you should begin to learn some English as soon as possible. While there are hundreds of languages spoken in American homes, English is still the unofficial language of the United States. Settling into daily life will be FAR easier, and you'll have more opportunities to succeed in the U.S. if you can speak English.

5.) Interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy

As part of the U.S. immigrant visa process, you will have to attend an interview after your case qualifies.

The U.S. State Department offers some tips on how to prepare for your interview.

6.) International Moving Services

You'll want to carefully consider that moving from one country to another is expensive, so you'll need to assess your needs and budget and decide what you can and cannot bring with you when you move to the United States. If you're working for a company that will be paying for your moving and shipping costs, you may be able to bring more to the United States than others might. The right international moving and relocation company will provide guidance on any specific instructions you'll need to consider regarding where you're moving from.

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7.) Assess Your Finances and Obtain Financial Services

International banking and financial services are an important aspect of moving to the United States. Expat Finance can make or break your relocation, so it's an important area to research before, during and after the move!

Depending on your particular location and situation, an international bank or a local bank may make the most sense for you. In addition to banking and investments, the expat tax ramifications.

The Cost of Living in the United States is more varied than one might think. Some communities that might look very similar at first glance can have a huge differential in terms of what it actually costs to live there.

In the United States, there are federal, state and local tax rates that can significantly impact the cost of living both in the country and the state and community you choose. This can be sneaky in terms of how it all adds, up so you'll want to use an expat tax professional to make sure you're not caught by surprise at the end of the year.

It's critical for you to develop an accurate understanding of all the financial implications of life in the United States, so be thorough doing this research.

8.) International Auto Shipping

If you plan to move your automobile from your home country to the United States, you should know that there are federal and state regulations to consider. It's best to work with an International Auto Shipping company to ensure you don't experience unnecessary expenses or delays.

In addition to shipping your car to the United States, there are leasing and sale options that are worth considering.

However, if you are attached to your car and/or you need to bring it with you, consult an auto shipper with experience bringing them safely and lawfully into the United States.

9.) Buying or Renting to Live in the United States

Buying property or renting property in the United States is again highly dependent upon where you live and your budget.

If you have the option, it's a great idea to come and do research in the U.S. rather than online. You can obtain a short-term tourist visa and stay at a hotel or find a place to stay on the airbnb USA network.

In cities, people generally live in apartments, condominiums ("condos") and co-ops.

If you rent an apartment, you'll pay monthly rent. Terms of the lease vary depending upon where it is exactly you're looking to live. You may be required to pay first and last month's rent and a refundable security deposit as a hedge against any damage caused over the period of the lease.

If you purchase a home, you should absolutely use the services of a licensed realtor.

10.) Medical Examination

A medical examination is part of the U.S. immigration process. You must complete - schedule and attend - the examination BEFORE your interview date(s).

You must receive the examination from an authorized physician. You can find the list of physicians through this list of U.S. Consulates. Click on the name of the city where you will have your interview.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Jan 17, 2019

First Published: Jan 17, 2019

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Moving to the USA

Expats who want to move to the USA should do a lot of homework and carefully organize their efforts as they move through the immigration process. This article and the other resources linked will help you develop an understanding of how to accomplish this.

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