Moving to the USA

Planning to Move to the United States

Your immigration to the USA should be carefully planned. The biggest step of winning a green card is already behind you and now you’re finally getting ready to move. You may be wondering what to bring with you or the documents you need to translate into English – with the following tips, you should be more than well prepared!

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Preparing to Move to the USA

After finally winning the US Diversity Visa Program and recording your name on one of those green cards, it’s time for the most fun part of the Green Card process: moving to your new home! The better you prepare for your transport, the easier it will be to begin living in the USA. With this USA relocation checklist, you’ll learn what to do.

You should take care of the following early on:

Moving to the USA FAQ

  • Can I move to the United States if I didn't speak English?

    Worried about your English language skills? There are no language requirements to enter the USA. Of course, being able to speak and understand English to a certain degree is an advantage that makes it a lot easier for you to adapt to life in the USA. If your English language skills need a little improvement, it would greatly benefit you to start working on them and practice.

  • What about children concerning the English language?

    Children will learn English quickly in school and many state-subsidized schools offer additional courses for children who need special support. Children can also take “English as a Second Language” (ESL) course at school in place of the regular English lessons. Students who already have a certain level of English will participate in regular school lessons and receive additional support. It’s a good idea to look at after-school English programs for group or one-on-one lessons.

  • What about the elderly concerning the English language?

    Adults who don’t have English language skills can also apply for ESL courses. These courses are usually offered either by state-supported institutions, adult education centers, or private language schools. Colleges and schools in your area usually offer state or local government-sponsored adult education courses. ESL courses are often taught by volunteers from the neighborhood, so not only can you learn English but you can also make friends. The benefit of these courses is that they are cost-efficient or even free.

  • What documents do I need?

    There are some required documents and forms that you must bring with you when you move to the USA. It’s very important to bring all documents! We advise a lot on gathering all your important documents and translate them into English before moving. Once in the USA, translation of the documents may be difficult or may not be available from the US authorities.

    Important documents that you must bring:

    • - Your personal identity card and your passport.
    • - Obtain an international birth certificate (issued in English) for yourself and each member of your family.
    • - Bring the original copy of the certificate (s) of marriage or divorce and an English translation.
    • - If you are a single mother or father, you must bring the original custody declaration and an English translation.
    • - If you haven’t closed your bank account in your country yet, don’t forget to bring your important bank documents, including account number, transfer information, tax records and other important financial documents.
    • - Translate your job application documents (CV, cover letter, and job recommendations) Professionally into English.
    • - School transcripts, school and university certificates, and any evidence of further education with you – the original copy and an English translation.
    • - If you’re still studying or have recently completed a university degree, your credentials must be evaluated and recognized by an accredited organization.
    • - Visit your doctor before you go and get an international record of vaccinations for every family member and translate all important medical records into English.
    • - If you already have a job interview or employment contract, don’t forget to bring it with you.
    • - If you have a driver’s license, it’s recommended that you obtain an international driver’s license.
    • - Please note that all important documents and records must be translated into English!

    Tip: Make more than one copy of all your documents and put them in separate folders. It’s recommended that you carry the original documents with you in your hand luggage. You never know if a trunk or suitcase might get lost on the way.

  • What about electronic devices and furnishings?

    Many things differ in the USA, including electrical outlets and voltages. Electrical outlets in America are different and can only handle 110 volts. Most electronic devices require an adapter, which can sometimes be inconvenient. Some appliances like vacuum cleaners, coffee machines, hair dryers, microwave ovens, cookers, and washing machines are not adaptive or require an additional adapter. Maintenance of these devices may also be more expensive because spare parts may not be available in the USA. In conclusion: Leave your electronic devices at home and buy yourself new ones in the USA.

    You can leave most of your furniture behind, too. If you no longer need certain pieces of furniture, sell them or leave them behind. Most homes in America have a built-in kitchen and some have already-installed electronics. Most bedrooms also have wardrobes. So you can save time and effort and leave your large wardrobes behind.

    Battery-powered devices such as smartphones, laptops, and computers can be used without problems in the United States. All you have to do is buy a new charger with an American plug.

  • What about cars?

    It’s really hard to part from your car, right? This decision isn’t easy, we understand that, but it’s not cheap either. Here’s why you might want to leave your car behind:

    • - High transportation costs.
    • - American safety, shock, theft, and emissions prevention standards.
    • - The high cost of importing them to the USA and customs.
    • - USDA requirements to thoroughly clean the bottom of the vehicle with a special steam cleaner.
    • - According to US requirements, your vehicle may be modified, returned or even destroyed.

  • What about pets?

    Nobody wants to leave their best friend behind. It’s possible to take your pets with you to the USA, but you must follow certain instructions. For example, obtain a health certificate in English from a veterinarian that is no more than 30 days old. It’s important to keep in mind that every state has its own regulations. Please go through the regulations and then decide what’s best for your pet.

  • What about transportation companies and transportation costs?

    Once you have a good idea of what items you want to bring with you, you can start looking for a company to help you with the move. The more you want to bring, the higher the cost will be for sure. Some green card holders pack all of their belongings in one container and ship it, while others manage to pack it all in trip travel bags. Make sure to organize how you transport your belongings to your new home. Some people hire a company to move their boxes and some move their belongings themselves in order to save money. If you’re hiring a moving company they will handle customs on your behalf. Depending on how much you want to bring, it may be worth hiring a company after you compare prices and get estimates. Make your move as easy as possible by planning ahead.

  • What about housing or temporary residence?

    If you don’t have any family or friends in the USA with whom you can live, it’s recommended that you organize accommodations before moving to the USA. You can choose to rent or buy an apartment or house before moving in. Searching for an apartment in the US is relatively easy, depending on where you decide to live, and the rental rates are reasonable. Of course, housing prices vary greatly and housing in the most popular areas becomes more expensive.

    In the beginning, you should be flexible about renting your home or apartment on a monthly basis rather than signing a year-long lease agreement so that you could have the option of moving again in case you needed to.

    Alternatively, you can always live in a hotel room while searching for the perfect place to live. Many hotels offer discounted rates for longer stays. But keep in mind that you may not have enough space for all your boxes and contents in a hotel room.

    Tip: Storage depots are found everywhere in the USA and the rental rates are usually good. If you need time to find the perfect place to live then you should consider renting one.

Arriving in the USA

Once you arrive on American ground, you’ll feel right at home. However, new beginnings need a completion of some organizational things. You will have a few weeks before your new job, school, or child’s school year begins. You should use this time to explore your new home as well as get some bureaucratic matters done in the USA.

The following should be included in you to-do list:

Additional Documents

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US Diversity Visa Program

The United States grants 80,000 green cards to foreigners instead
of 55,000 this year. Don’t miss the opportunity to live the American dream.
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