The United States is known as the land of opportunity. Moving there is a dream of many people across the world, who want to improve their lot and make their own way in the world, but moving there can also be daunting, due to its sheer size and a way of life that is different from many other places in the world. Of course, the size of the country is also what makes it such a prosperous place to live as a citizen by birth or an immigrant to the area. If you want to live in the USA, there are a few things you should probably know first.
Living in America as a Newcomer
Living in America as a newcomer from another country will undoubtedly change your life. You’ll find so many opportunities to live, work and socialize with a diverse population consisting not only of born and bred Americans, but also Italian, Puerto Rican, Mexican and Chinese communities, all of which thrive in the country and many of whom travel to the USA to study and become experts in fields as diverse as medicine and the arts.
The cost of purchasing real estate in the United States is fairly low in comparison to other developed nations like the United Kingdom, but they are more expensive than many places too – something which is mitigated by the fact that you can earn a very good living in the United States if you put your mind to it. You should be aware that, if you want to live in a major city like Los Angeles of New York, you might have to pay a bit more for the privilege.
Education Image source
The United States is home to some of the biggest and best educational institutes in the world. No matter where you live, you will surely have heard of the likes of Harvard and Yale, which are the cream of the crop in higher education. However, there are a number of other international colleges and universities which are less elite and which offer high standards of education to people of all abilities from nations all over the world.
One of the possible downsides of living in the United States is that healthcare can be very expensive. This means that you absolutely must have comprehensive medical insurance in place, should you decide to live there for a long period of time. If you cannot show your insurance documents, and you don’t have (hundreds of) thousands in the bank, you may not be able to obtain the treatment you need, or if you do, you may end up significantly in debt.
The Cost of Living
Before you make the final decision to move to the United States, you should consider the cost of living, so that you know where you stand and how much money you will need to get by and live to the standard you would like.
How much your everyday expenses will set you back depends on, to some extent on which part of the U.S. you choose to make your home. Living in large cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, will cost you much more overall than living in a smaller rural location, for example, but on the whole, you can also expect to earn more in these areas too, depending on the job you do.
According to a recent survey, the most expensive places to live in the States include New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, whereas Portland, Oregon and Winston-Salem are the most affordable.
Wherever you live in the United States, providing your work hard, you can expect to have a good standard of living, because it is one of the richest countries in the world, after all. The country also benefits from an abundance of land, which helps to keep rental costs low and the cost of buying your own property very reasonable, especially outside major metropolitan areas.
Food in the United States is extremely affordable, and many citizens eat out most days due to the low-cost large portions you can pick up at any diner, restaurant or fast food joint. Groceries are also very affordable unless you’re buying organic, artisan products, which can be quite expensive.
The cost of standard everyday clothing, appliances and utilities are also extremely affordable, which means that, even on a modest salary, you can live quite well. The only thing that could put a fly in your ointment is the cost of medical insurance and medical bills, as mentioned above, which could take quite a chunk of your salary.
Although there is no official language in the United States, you will find that English is the most commonly spoken by the country’s people and their officials, However, due to the large amount of immigrants from places like Mexico, you will find that a fair number of Americans also speak Spanish.
The United States is so vast that different parts of it experience very different weather conditions throughout the year. Florida, for example, is almost always hot and sunny and Alaska is never going to be anything other than cold and sunny, whereas Seattle is known for its grey and rainy weather. This means that you can basically choose to live in any climate you want when you move to the US, just by conducting a little research.
Careers for Immigrants
Whatever your skill level or desire, there should be a job for you somewhere in the United States. Employers in the country value hard work and loyalty over almost anything else, but for a lot of positions, a university degree from a recognised institution would be extremely beneficial to your job search.
The biggest problem you are likely to come across when looking for working in the United States is that you will need to obtain an appropriate work visa before you can legally obtain employment in the country.
The present levels of unemployment in the USA have made it tougher to obtain a work permit, which means that you might need to find an employer willing to offer you a job and sponsorship before entry. You might also want to get in touch with Hacking Law Practice, who are experts in immigration into the USA, and who could help you with your visa application.
Currently, the best opportunities for work in the United States are in the technology field, where there is sustained growth and a real need for skilled workers, so if you have a degree or experience in a technology related subject, you might find it easier than most to gain entry.
Niches like engineering, biomedical research and life sciences also have a lot of demand for professional employees, so if you’re looking to come to the United States at some point in the future, studying in these fields could help your case significantly.
Life in the USA
If you make it to the USA, there are a number of quirks and regulations that you might not know about, but which are extremely useful for integrating into your new community quickly. Here are a few of the most important:
Residents of the USA must legally remove ice and snow from the area directly in front of their properties themselves, or they could be sued for any injuries that result everyone must do this unless they have a building caretaker who is responsible for such issues. In many places, they must also sweep the street too.
Most rental properties do not allow you to make copies of your keys and you must seek express permission from the landlord if you wish to do so.
Many states allow drivers to turn their vehicle right at a red light when no traffic is approaching. If you simply stop and ignore this, you could make other drivers angry, so it is worth finding out about this before you hit the road.
It is illegal to overtake a school bus when it has parked to drop off children. If you do overtake a school bus in such circumstances, you could receive a large fine.
If, after reading the above information, you still wish to move to the United States, it would be wise to read up as much about the country and its laws and regulations as possible. You will particularly need to look more closely into the process of obtaining work visas and citizenship if that is something you would eventually like to obtain. This guide is particularly useful for that purpose.
You may also find it useful to visit websites and forums for expats and immigrants to the United States, who have blazed the trail before you. They are often the best placed to help you with any problems you face and reading their stories will no doubt give you new issues to consider that you had never thought of below.
Take your time, research and prepare for your impending move and your new life is sure to get off to the best possible start.