Moving to America is the dream of millions of people across the globe. No, we’re not being narcissistic Yankees. Close to 1.5 million people immigrate into the U.S. every year.
Are you planning on becoming one of them?
If you’ve set your life’s goal on chasing the American dream, there are some steps you have to take.
In this guide, we’ll fill you in on the seven things you have to do
1. Do Your Research
Are you planning on attending college in the U.S.? Are you moving to America to provide a better life for your family?
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then you likely already figured out what city you’ll live in. But don’t let that stop you from researching your new home! Go online and find out everything you can about schools, housing, and the city’s culture.
If you haven’t pinpointed a city yet, this is your opportunity to learn about all 50 states. From sea to shining sea, the U.S. has something for everyone.
Use your current interests and goals to find the place that’s perfect for you.
2. Plan a Visit Before Moving to America
Thanks to the Internet and social media, you have access to videos and images of almost every town in America. But nothing compares — or prepares — you for life in the U.S.A. until you visit.
Once you narrow down where you’d like to live, or know when your classes/transfer begins, plan a trip to visit. While you’re here, get a feel for your new home and surroundings. Make a list of the things you’d like to do or see when you finally move.
3. Apply for a Visa
There are 150 different visas to choose from, so choose wisely. The U.S. Department of State provides a handy tool to help you file for the right one.
Make sure you read all the appropriate information on obtaining a visa. You don’t want a simple mistake costing you your dreams of moving to America.
4. Find Housing
While you’re on your visit, look around at the kind of housing in the town. You may have to stay at a hotel or Airbnb at first. This will buy you some time to prepare for more permanent housing.
There are many sites that will help you find rentals. Keep in mind, even if you’re granted your visa within two weeks, there could be other hiccups delaying your arrival.
If you do find permanent housing on your visit, make sure you explain your situation to the landlord. Let them know the time difference between your origin country and your new home.
Why is this important? It explains why you’re not answering your phone or calling back right away. It may be 7 pm for them, but that could be 3 am for you!
5. Set Up a Bank Account in the U.S.
The United States is a melting pot, but not when it comes to currency. America only uses the U.S. dollar. Set up a bank account so you’re not paying crazy fees!
Plus, you’ll need to pay for your food, housing, tuition, and incidentals. Don’t forget if you plan on working, you’ll need a U.S. bank account for your paycheck.
6. Move Your Belongings
Take what you can in your suitcases but understand you will have to leave some things behind. You can bring your vehicle to the U.S., but it may not be worth it.
Figure out what’s important to you and what you can get in the U.S. or live without.
Look into international movers or couriers. If you’re moving from the U.K., read more now about this process. It may be easier than you think.
7. Familiarize Yourself with American Laws
Finally, American laws are different from the ones you’re used to. Not knowing the basic laws may result in a bit of a culture shock. Research the most important laws you’ll need to know — like alcohol consumption age, gun laws, etc.
Make sure you have all the required documentation for getting into the U.S., too. You don’t want to get turned around or held at customs because you forgot anything you needed.
Are You Ready for Your Move?
Moving to America is exciting and, at times, a bit scary. If you prepare yourself ahead of time, you’ll have an easier time acclimating to your new surroundings.
If you plan on getting a job in the U.S., but don’t know where to start, check out our education and career blog.