The United States is the number one destination for people worldwide looking for a better life. Home to approximately 45 million immigrants in 2019, the country has a lot to offer, including career opportunities, plenty of living space, and an excellent education system.
There’s so much you can benefit from comparatively low taxes, high living standards to world-class education and promising job prospects. However, immigrating is a major decision and one that cannot be taken impulsively, but there are a few things you can do to make the process easier for yourself. Here are the top six tips you should consider before you pack up and leave your home country behind.
Get your documents in order
We cannot stress how important it is to have valid documents with you when you enter America. Many documents may also be in your native language, which is often the case for birth certificates. You’d need to get a birth certificate translation from a certified and reputable business to ensure it’s accepted by the U.S government. At the time of your arrival, you and each member of your family must have these documents:
- National Identification cards
- Valid passports and visas
- An international birth certificate
- Original English-translated marriage/divorce certificate if applicable
- Custody declaration if applicable
- Documents of your previous bank account, if it is still open
- Record of taxes
- Your resume and other articles required for job hunting
- Educational documents (original as well as their English translation)
- Report of academic credential assessment
- An international vaccine record for each family member
- Proof of job offer or contract, if applicable
- An international driver’s license
- A health certificate not older than 30 days if you’re bringing a pet cat or dog
- A photocopy of all those documents
Different states may also have their guidelines and may require additional documents. Check their requirements beforehand. Keep your documents in a safe bag or hand-carry. Avoid putting them in your luggage, or you’ll risk misplacing them. Also, make a scan of each and save them on a cloud account.
Get comfortable with the language
Knowing English isn’t enough to make a life in America. If you’re not comfortable communicating in the language, you’ll have a tough time settling in. This won’t be a problem for people moving from England, Australia, New Zealand, or any other country where English is the native language. However, some English words can have entirely different meanings in America, so make sure to learn those to avoid any confusion.
Don’t wait until you’ve landed in the States to start learning English. It would be best if you got comfortable with it in advance. You can do this by enrolling in an online or physical English course to get used to the language or look for an institute that teaches “American” English rather than its British or Aussie counterpart. The better you are at communicating in American English, the easier it will be for you to make friends, find work, or get an education in the USA.
Have your education credentials assessed
The education you received from any country besides the U.S. won’t necessarily be accepted in America. Every country follows its own academic structure, and it may or may not be in line with the way things work in the U.S.
That is why you need to make sure whether your qualifications are accepted in the U.S. Otherwise, you’ll have to get your educational credentials assessed by a dedicated body. While various bodies do that, make sure they’re registered with either AICE or NACES. Thanks to the internet, you can get your credentials assessed from anywhere in the world.
Whether you’re relocating to further your education or to seek employment, education credential assessment should be one of your first steps. The process can take a while, depending upon the country of your education. That’s why it should be your priority.
Start job-hunting before the move
If you’re relocating to the U.S., you’ll likely need a job as soon as you get there. It’s great if an employer invited you, or if you’re planning on starting your own business. But if that’s not the case, it would be wise to start working for your job before you move.
It would help if you started networking and reaching out to potential employers before you relocate. Learn what it takes for you to get your desired job in America. What do employers look for? What jobs are in demand? Are there any licensing or examinations involved in your field? Do your homework beforehand.
Learn about your accommodation options
If you’re planning to move to the USA permanently, you can’t hope to stay in a hotel forever. You need a place you can call home. However, hotels, motels, and B&Bs can be very convenient for you to stay while house hunting.
It’s highly unlikely that you bring enough money to buy a house as soon as you land. Renting an apartment or sharing a room are your best options while you work on settling down. Of course, you can rent a place over the internet before you fly to America. But your chances of getting conned are much higher that way.
This is where temporary lodging can be of great use. Get an affordable room at a hotel, BnB, or motel while you physically check out your housing options. This dramatically reduces your chances of getting defrauded. It’ll also make sure you’re not pressured into making a bad deal since you already have a place to crash if the deal isn’t to your liking.
Keep factors such as neighborhood, location, rent, and facilities in consideration when picking a house. If your residence is close to where you work, it will significantly cut down your transportation expenses. Of course, you may not strike gold with your first deal, so you need to be on the lookout for better options.
Don’t hesitate to get professional help
There are licensed agents and immigration lawyers always willing to lend a helping hand. The wealth of their information can significantly assist in your relocation to the Promised Land. However, be wary of scammers and con artists offering deals too good to be true.
Your best bet is to work with a licensed and recognized immigration consultant or attorney for your move to the U.S. While they may charge a tad higher than your average travel agent, the extra money is worth the peace of mind.
Following the tips above can set you on the right track of moving to the USA. It’s always better to be prepared, especially if it involves a significant life change like moving to another country.
Moving into a new country can sound very intimidating. But with careful planning, proper documentation, and thorough research, you, too, can make your American dream come true.