moving to the us

Moving to the U.S.: How to Plan Ahead

What if you weren’t properly prepared for the biggest move of your life?

Many who are moving to the US, including those with E2 visas, are not actually as prepared as they need to be. Unfortunately, many won’t realize they aren’t prepared until something goes wrong!

But that doesn’t have to happen to you. We put together the ultimate checklist to help you prepare for your move to America. Keep reading to learn about everything you need to prepare for before the big day!

Learning the Language Ahead of Moving to the US

Some of our tips for moving to the US are more straightforward than others. For example, one of our best tips is to try to learn as much English as you can before moving to America.

There is no legal requirement that you master English before moving, of course. But you will find it easier to arrange housing, find schools, and even order food at a restaurant if you speak some of the primary native language.

And “some” is the keyword there. You do not have to become perfectly fluent before moving to America. But regularly using apps and tutors to learn as much English as you can gives you an advantage after you have moved.

Researching Local Schools

It’s possible that you are simply moving to America on your own. However, many with an E2 visa decide to bring their spouse and children. And if you are going to bring your children, it’s very important to research local schools before you make the move.

With the E2 visa, you can send your children to either a local public school or a private school. With public schools, you must sometimes use a particular school in your local area, so carefully choosing where you move can help provide your child with a better education.

Regarding the classes your child takes, it is important to gauge how well they already speak English. If they are learning the language or have already learned the language, you may wish to enroll them in standard English courses (which offer a mixture of grammar, writing, and literature). If they are still struggling with the language, though, you may be able to enroll them in English as a Second Language course instead.

Bring the Right Documents

Any kind of major move means making sure that you bring the right paperwork. And this is especially important when you are moving out of your country and moving to America!

Arguably your most important documents are your personal identification card and your passports. Without these, you can neither leave your country nor enter the United States.

You should also bring international birth certificates for yourself and any other family members who are moving. And if you are married or divorced, it is important to bring original copies of your marriage or divorce certificates.

As for other documents, it is important to bring your tax records, educational records, and any documents related to the business you are starting if you are using the E2 visa.

Finally, bring your medical records and vaccine records…in a post-COVID world, vaccine records are vitally important for anyone who wishes to move to the country!

To Pack or Not to Pack

So far, we have focused primarily on things like the research you need to conduct and the paperwork you need to gather before the big move. But there is another major obstacle ahead of you: actually moving your possessions from one country to another!

It is difficult to decide what you will bring to America and what you will leave behind. But take it from us: one of the best things you can do before the move is to strongly consider what is worth taking with you or not.

For example, you may be tempted to pack all of your clothes, toiletries, and other essential goods. But the simple truth is that you can buy replacements for all of this once you arrive in America. And in many cases, the cost of buying new items in the United States may be cheaper than the cost of importing your old items.

So, what should you focus on bringing? We recommend concentrating on items that are very expensive (or impossible) to replace and items that have a lot of sentimental value. As for everything else, it is worth leaving these things behind and replacing them once you arrive in America.

Finding Electronic Adaptors

One thing you will definitely need to bring is your different electronic devices. This includes things like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

While it’s important to bring these items, it’s also important to bring electronic adaptors. That is because American outlets are shaped differently and only have 110 volts. 

In some cases, you can fix the issue by buying electronic adaptors. In other cases, you may need to buy a separate transformer to get things working.

Our advice? We recommend bringing as few electronics as you can, sticking with “must-have” things like phones and laptops. Once you settle into America, you will be better off replacing your electronic equipment altogether instead of constantly trying to get the old equipment to work with new outlets.

Moving to America: The Furniture Situation

Chances are that your current house is full of furniture. Needless to say, it is difficult to move all of that furniture from one country to another. But what are you supposed to do with furniture you cannot or will not move?

At this point, you probably know what we are going to say: if the furniture is valuable (like a rare antique) or has sentimental value (like your mother’s favorite chair), it may be worth finding a way to move the furniture out of the country.

Otherwise, we recommend leaving everything else behind. You can always buy new furniture in America. Furthermore, you can rent a furnished home or apartment and not have to buy new furniture for a good, long while.

Understanding Pet Protocols

Are you bringing a pet (such as a dog) with you when you move to America? You can certainly do so, but it requires you to bring some additional paperwork.

Exactly what paperwork you need will depend on the state you are moving to. In most cases, you will need a health certificate for the animal written in English and from a month or less before you move to the country.

This is a safety precaution. While nobody minds if you bring a pet to the country, it is important to make sure the pet is safe!

Picking a Moving Company

At this point, you should have decided which of your possessions you will be bringing to the United States, and that means you need to select a moving company that you can trust.

After you have picked the right company, you need to remember that the more they move, the more it will cost. If you are trying to save money, packing less and bringing fewer things with you is the easiest way to do it.

No matter how much (or how little) you bring, make sure the moving company can handle any customs declarations. And try to organize everything you want to move well ahead of time in order to make the act of moving your things easier and more efficient.

Your Pre-Flight Checklist

Eventually, you’ll be ready to board the plane for America. But before you get on board, it’s important to review your pre-flight checklist.

Make sure you have your visa and passport with you. For important documents, it is good to bring spare copies, including ones that have been translated into English.

This is the time to purchase travel insurance if you feel it will be necessary. And make sure that everyone who needs to have your address in America has it.

Almost everybody moving to another country ends up forgetting something on their way out. Make sure you study our guide carefully up to this point so you don’t forget anything important!

Arranging Housing

Obviously, moving to America involves finding a place to live. And when it comes to finding a place to live, you have many options available to you.

The easiest method is to temporarily stay with friends or family members that are already living in the country. If you have this option available, taking advantage of the option will give you more time to find the perfect place of your own.

If you can’t move in with friends or family, you should consider renting a home or an apartment that lets you pay by the month. Most rental contracts are 12 months, but getting a month-to-month contract gives you additional time to find a home your whole family will love.

As we said before, this is also a chance to rent a furnished home or apartment rather than an unfinished one. We particularly recommend this course of action if you are moving little to no furniture to America.

Getting a Social Security Card

Once you are living in America, applying for a Social Security card should be a very high priority. Not only can immigrants apply for these cards, but you usually must have one in order to do important things like open a bank account.

Some immigrants prefer to apply for this card through the United States consulate in their home country. Honestly, though, it’s far easier to just apply through your local Social Security Administration center after you move.

As an added bonus, the staff at these centers can help you out and answer any questions you may have. Just don’t forget the documentation: you will likely need to provide a birth certificate, passport, and any paperwork related to your American residency.

Your Driver’s License

One popular question people have after moving to the United States is whether they will need to get an American driver’s license. And the answer to this question is “it depends where you move.”

In most states, you don’t need to get an American driver’s license right away. Instead, you can use a license from your own country for up to a year. And depending on where you live, there may be enough public transportation options that you don’t really need a license.

But keep in mind that in America, a driver’s license is the primary form of identification. While you can also use different forms of photo identification for most things, taking the test and getting an American driver’s license may ultimately help you save a lot of time.

Your Health Insurance

If there is a “downside” to moving to America, it would be the health insurance. Once you start navigating the American health system, you may find the whole thing very confusing!

For example, you will need to pay for pretty much any visit to the doctor. And various medical procedures can be very expensive. You can mitigate the costs with health insurance, though health insurance itself is very confusing.

Basically, you will need to take out health insurance for yourself. And when you are opening a business as part of your E2 visa, you should explore healthcare plans that you can offer to your employees as part of their service for you.

Make sure to take the time to research different health insurance plans and find the one that is the best fit for your needs. 

A Bank Account and Credit History

After you move to America, it’s important to open a bank account. But you often cannot do so until you have a new address, a Social Security card, and the usual paperwork such as your residency information and a form of picture identification.

Typically, you need at least between $25 to $100 USD to open an account. After you have a bank account, you can apply for things like credit cards and credit lines.

Obviously, you don’t want to end up in major debt. But building up a credit history over time will make it easier to do things like buy a car, buy a house, and even get loans for your business.

Your Next Move

Now you know what to take care of before and after moving to the US. But if you want to do so using an E2 visa, it is important for you to start a successful business.

Here at Advanced Franchising, we make it easy for you to open a successful franchise and start your new life in America. To see what we can do for you, just contact us today!