The 5 Minute Guide On How To Emigrate To America

Published: 10 Oct at 11 AM
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Filed: Emigrating,USA
Check out this handy guide that summarises the important information you should know for immigrating and settling in the United States of America.

Visas


There are several types of visas for foreigners based on the purpose of their visit. Short-term visas for travel, business exploration or study are fairly easy to arrange with the right documentation and financial security. Citizens of most developed countries can get a tourist visa without much hassle. Obtaining the prized Green Card, however, is another matter. The main US government visa website is very useful for information and advice determining which visa is best for you.

Because so many people want to emigrate to the United States the process is notoriously difficult and the waiting period very long. For those with an American spouse or family member the process is not difficult. There are also many annual visas awarded to people with special skills and work experience in certain fields that have a shortage of labour. The US uses a point system to categorise long-term visa applicants based on a number of factors including level of education, nationality and work experience. But for the average person with no desirable skills, family connections of considerable cash to invest in America it will be a long and frustrating process to get a permanent resident visa.

The first step in the process of any long-term visa is to submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for a family relation or I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) for skilled workers with a job offer. Once the petition is approved by the USCIS it will go to the National Visa Center (NVC), where your application will get in line with everyone else in your category. This step is the longest part of process because the US only allocates a certain number of each kind of visa per year. Any missing documents or false information will greatly lengthen the process. When your immigrant visa number becomes available you will be notified by the NVC and you can apply for the long-term visa and prepare for your emigration to the US. All the steps in this process are explained at the US immigration website.

Money and Costs


The costs and practicalities of living in the United States are not as daunting as other developed countries. Certain exclusive resort towns like Aspen (Colorado) and popular cities such as New York and San Francisco are very expensive for basic living expenses. But in general, the average American town has reasonable property rentals and food costs. Basic utilities that need to be paid include electric, gas, water, internet, cable tv and cellphone service. Getting set up for the first time can cost a lot, so emigrants are advised to have plenty of cash available when they arrive.

All residents of the US get free public schooling from kindergarten through high school. Opening bank accounts, dealing with insurance and getting drivers licenses are straight-forward affairs if you have the proper visa paperwork. Little can be officially accomplished without a passport or US drivers license in the US.

Moving


One of the most challenging aspects of emigrating to the US is the physical move itself. Unless you are planning to arrive with a single suitcase in hand, you will need to arrange for a professional moving company to ship your household goods. There are many companies that provide this service and handle all the red tape and documents associated with US customs. This is one facet of emigrating best left to the professionals. Firms like International Movers will provide a quote and other helpful information.

Property


America has a very liberal property market. For those with enough cash it is easy to purchase a house or apartment with little restrictions. Bank mortgages are the most common method of buying a house, usually requiring an established source of income and a down payment of around 20 per cent of the property price. Real estate agents are typically used as middlemen for property transactions. They help buyers find the right property, handle all the paperwork and receive a small commission of the sale price for their work. Websites like Realtor.com can help you compare property prices around the country.

Renting is a house or apartment is also a common option for those without the means or desire to own property. Rental units such as individual homes and apartments are found in almost every town in the country. Rental rates vary depending on the city and location within the city, but there are usually affordable housing options in every town. Rental leases are typically for one year and require a deposit equivalent to one or two months rent along with the first month’s rent to move in. Renters typically pay for the utilities themselves and will receive their deposit back when they vacate if they complete the lease period.

Education


Despite all of its perceived wealth and power, American has one of the world’s poorest education systems. Every child receives free public schooling from kindergarten (age 6) through high school (age 18), but the quality of the education varies widely from state to state and even from school to school within a single district. The only alternative is home schooling your child yourself or enrolling them in a private school. There are some excellent private schools in the country, but their tuition fees can be more expensive than university.

The one area where America does excel is in its higher education facilities. American universities perennially rank among the world’s very best, with names like Stanford, Harvard and MIT attracting the best and brightest from around the globe. Even at the lower end of the scale, American state universities are excellent. Every state has at least one or two, and the quality of instruction is very good value for money. The one issue facing many emigrant students is the language barrier. English is the only language of instruction, and international students must pass the TOEIC English proficiency exam as part of their admission. There are also excellent community colleges in America that focus on older students and those seeking specialised training instead of a more traditional holistic university education.

Language


English is the official language of American business, media and governance. But it’s not uncommon to hear Spanish and, increasingly, Mandarin Chinese in many urban areas of the country. Due to the rich diversity of culture and large populations of immigrants from around the world, virtually every language is spoken in the United States. Naturally, in the largest cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago it’s common to hear other languages spoken on the streets. Every major American city has distinct ethnic neighbourhoods with large proportions of recent emigrants. When you are in these districts it’s often the case that Chinese is used more frequently than English in Chinatown, and Hindi more often in Little India. Language schools teaching English like Kaplan International are common in major cities only, helping newly-arrived emigrants and visiting students pass the TOEIC exam or the US naturalisation test.

Careers


Despite the difficult job market that exists in America at this time, there are still several fields that are in high demand. People with experience and training in fields like engineering, computer technology, gas and oil exploration, and health care can expect a much easier time finding a job that suits their needs. It is predicted that during the next decade America will have a shortage of nurses and other medical technicians, along with engineers and other science-related jobs. Logistics and operations is another booming sector as warehouse management continues to grow each year. Accountants are also always in demand, as are people with solid managerial experience.

There are also a number of career fields that are currently oversaturated in the US. It can be very difficult to find jobs in creative fields like advertising, design and art as these positions are based on talent and experience more than training. Sales and marketing will likely continue to be strong job sectors, but excellent English skills are required for many positions that involved working with the public. The US government has special visas for skilled workers, explained on their website.

Business


America is one of the easiest countries in the world to start a new business. There is a lot of regulation, red tape and paperwork involved to get a business going. But once it has been approved the only thing to deal with is the required taxes. Many people simply buy an established business to avoid dealing with the boggle of government paperwork, or hire a specialised lawyer to handle the red tape end of things. There are excellent business opportunities in America for those with an inclination for hard work and independence. There are several investor visa options explained on the government site.

Health


There are very few health risks or contagious diseases to worry about in the United States. Minor diseases like hepatitis are common, as are mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus. But these are isolated occurrences and present little real threat to residents.

Healthcare in the United States is among the best in the world, but it is extremely expensive for those without health insurance. Most Americans get their health insurance cover through their employer, paying a small supplement each month from their paycheck. Those without cover from their workplace are strongly encouraged to purchase their own healthcare insurance from one of the private companies like Blue Cross. The cost to simply visit a doctor can be hundreds of dollars, and any stay in hospital will likely run into the thousands of dollars. America is not a place where you want to get seriously injured without solid medical insurance coverage. Healthcare is arguably the biggest social issue facing the country at this time.

Culture


America truly is the world’s melting pot, a nation of diverse people and the myriad traditions, cuisines and ideologies they bring with them. The country was founded on individual rights and equality less than 250 years ago. Tolerance is a guiding principle of American society, allowing people to be open about their religion, sexual orientation and opinions. English is the official language in the US and Christianity the predominant religion.

Americans pride themselves on being welcoming, open-minded and opinionated so the only guiding social etiquette is simply being polite and respectful of other people’s lifestyles. American cuisine has no distinct boundaries, as it has been shaped by the many cultures who founded the nation and continue to immigrate here. Even small towns have Asian and Mexican restaurants, while cities offer a near-complete spectrum of global cuisine.

Americans are entrepreneurs and inventors, capitalistic and consumers. The nation has created the music of blues, jazz and rock, pioneered the sports of baseball, basketball and NFL football, and continues to push the envelope of art forms. Major retail names like Apple, Microsoft, Nike and Ford were all forged in America. Many more are likely to emerge in the future.

Living


Living in the United States is fairly easy to manage for newly-arrived emigrants. Basic services and needs are easy to find, typical simple to set up and have plenty of variety. Property rentals are available in even the smallest towns, and high-tech services such as internet and mobile phone coverage blanket the country at reasonable rates.

There are expat communities in every city of note, helping new arrivals get settled in and offering an established networking community to work and socialise with. Like most countries, professional sector jobs can be difficult to find as the competition is fierce at the moment. But there are always entry-level jobs in the service industry, construction and manufacturing available in most towns.

The only difficult aspect to living in the US is healthcare. It is notoriously expensive and complicated. Those without healthcare insurance from their employer should pay for private coverage because the costs of a visit to hospital for even minor issues are extremely expensive.

Since the US is such a large country its climate covers the whole spectrum. Florida is subtropical, while Texas, Arizona and southern California enjoy warm weather all year round. The rest of country has a typical four-season climate. Winters are typically cold and snowy, while summers tend to be hot and humid. The Pacific Northwest region experiences rain almost yea round, while in the deserts of Utah and Arizona it rarely rains at all.

Travel & Leisure


Americans love to travel but they rarely leave their own country. With some of the world’s top national parks like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the Smokey Mountains there are public destinations for outdoor recreation in every state in the country. Most Americans enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping. But simply driving the car to a quaint resort town like Mendocino (California) or spending the weekend in buzzing Las Vegas (Nevada) are also popular travel excursions.

The car culture of America is pervasive, so most people drive when they travel. An excellent interstate highway network is supported by miles of solid rural roads that make it easy and enjoyable to get anywhere in the country. The most popular form of public transportation is flying because the US is a vast country and its cities are separated by hours of driving time. Domestic flights, however, are far from cheap. The most affordable form of public transport is the Greyhound bus system, providing reliable long-distance coach service to every corner of the country in fairly comfortable conditions. Sadly, the Amtrak rail system in America is weak and impractical for most trips. There are a few scenic rail routes that are enjoyable, but Amtrak is infamous for its delays and other problems.
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Comments » There are 3 comments

Ashvir Singh wrote 5 years ago:

America really does appear to be the place to be. The only thing of concern seems to be their healtcare system. But America has got so many things going for it, it is almost negligeble. Don't forget that America has one of the highest Gdp per capita's (in PPP). So in most cases you will be able to afford healthcare.

Dave wrote 5 years ago:

Excellent article, but the points on healthcare are exaggerated. A simple visit to a Primary Care, or Family Physician is typically less than $100.00. Of course there is the old standby if you're broke... Go to an emergency room. They are required by law to treat you regardless of your ability to pay. Where do you suppose all those homeless types in San Francisco go when they get a sniffle, or an STD? See! We do have "free" healthcare in the US.

Fabio wrote 4 years ago:

The article is wrong related to the USA official language. Although English is the major language, it's wrong to say it's USA official language, which there's no such an official one.

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