The United States of America (US) is one of the best locations for anyone looking to move for whatever reason. Amazing weather, an abundance of job opportunities, great healthcare, and so many other activities. There are 50 states in the US, with each having its own unique identity and cultural significance. It is the world’s most diverse location with people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It also has the greatest economic power as well as military. Also, what’s great is the fact that there are so many locations to choose from based on your choice of lifestyle – fast paced or slow and easy. If you’re looking to make a move to the US anytime soon, the following information would make it easier for you.
Making a move to any new location requires you to seek for a new job. The US has one of the best employment rates in the world, and there are countless opportunities regardless of what job you might be in search of. As a matter of fact, if you’re moving to the US now, you are in a bit of luck, with employment rate growing to over 60% in 2018.
Known as the “land of opportunities”, people move to the US for jobs in a bid to improve their skill set, earn more money, and to build a new life. With so many cities and states in the US, it is important for you to know which suits you best. For example, Washington, D.C is known for having the most job opportunities. It is also home to a lot of great pubs, restaurants, parks and awesome sight seeing spots. Seattle, Washington is a vibrant city and is home to Amazon, Tully’s, and other hip and artsy locations.
15% of the working population in the US is made up of foreign workers and expats. Your education level plays quite a big role when securing a job in the US. If you’re conversant with English and have a degree, you have a greater advantage at securing higher paying jobs.
Visa and citizenship
The US Immigration Guide offers different ways for foreigners to obtain immigration visas as well as citizenship in America. Before you become a permanent citizen, it is important that you have a visa first. There are several types of immigrant visas and different ways to apply for them. Typically, to obtain a US immigrant visa, you would need to be sponsored by a relative or an employer. Your relative will have to be a permanent resident of the US or a green card holder, while your employer must have provided you with employment. The most common way to gain an immigrant visa, however, is through a relative.
Getting an immigration visa, via a relative
A person can obtain an immigration visa via a relative in the US. This process only applies for an immediate relative and not extended, hence you can only place a petition for an immigrant visa for your wife, husband, and children under 21. This process does not apply to other family members like a mother, father, brother or sister. Once a petition by the relative who is a green card holder or a permanent resident is approved, the relative in question can apply for an immigration visa immediately. He/she would not be added to a waiting list, but will be attended to immediately.
Employment-based immigration visa
As a foreigner, you can get an immigration visa if your employer is willing to sponsor you. Your employer will turn in a petition for you and file an application for labor certification. He/she must be willing to offer you a job before your application for a green card or immigration visa can be approved.
Investment based green card
Green cards can be attained by foreign nationals if they make an investment of over $1,000,000 in a business venture or $500,000 in a high scale business. The second option will only be considered if the profits that would likely be made can amount to over $1,000,000 when added to the invested money. In situations like these, a foreign national would not require any sponsor, as he can apply for a green card alone.
The green card lottery
Another golden opportunity for foreign nationals to gain access to the US is through the US Green Card Lottery. Over 50,000 people have gained access into the US through this method. To qualify for the green card lottery, you must have at least 2 years working experience in the last 5 years, and be a high school graduate. Your past work experiences must also require some form of training as well.
You can learn more about the process involved by checking out the US Immigration Guide here.
The healthcare system in the US is arguably one of the most advanced in the world. The US invests a lot of money annually on healthcare and have put together means to ensure that everyone is catered for. Having said this, medical costs in the US tend to be higher, as healthcare is provided by private clinics and hospitals. There is also the case of medical inflation, which pushes the general prices of healthcare up.
As such, it is advisable that you purchase a health insurance plan for yourself as this ensures that your bills will be covered and catered for. Some global health insurance plans you might want to consider are: IMG Global Medical Insurance, Cigna Global Health Options and GeoBlue Xplorer Health Plans. In some cases, the beneficiary might be required to pay high or low amounts alongside the insurance deductibles to foot the bills.
Cost of living
Typically the cost of living in a specific location should be compared to how much a worker earns annually. According to the US Census Bureau, the average annual income of a person with an advanced degree is $72,824. For a comprehensive breakdown of the cost of living in the U.S, be sure to check out Numbeo.
The US Education System is rather direct and straightforward. Students in the American education system attend primary and secondary schools for a total of 12 years before getting a higher education. These years are referred to as grades, with the secondary school divided into two parts called junior high and senior high school. Upon completion of the 12 years of schooling, students then move on to get a higher education by attending college or university.
The American higher education system is divided into 3 specific levels: Undergraduate, Graduate in the pursuit of a master’s degree, and Graduate in pursuit of a doctorate degree.
The undergraduate level of the higher education, simply refers to the fact that a student hasn’t obtained a degree yet. The first two years of this level require students to “test the waters” by learning a wide variety of courses. This will help them ascertain which course they would like to major in. You can either decide to do this at a community college or at the University.
Pursuit of a master’s degree
A graduate programme in pursuit of a master’s degree usually takes up to one or two years depending on the course of study. For this programme, you might need to take some exams like LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or MCAT. The completion of a master’s program usually requires a student to write a long research paper known as a “thesis”
Pursuit of a doctorate degree
Obtaining a doctorate degree in America takes as long as 3 years for local students, and 5–6 years for international students. Similar to the master’s degree programme, you will be required to prepare a doctoral dissertation. You might also be required to know how to read in two different languages and take an oral test based on your dissertation.
The US has a well-developed transportation network which makes getting around easy. The public transport network is well-connected and easily accessible within large cities like Boston, Chicago and New York. You may choose to get around by the subway/metro, bus, or even cabs.
For interstate travel, there are typically a few options. If you own a car, driving is definitely a good choice as it gives you the flexibility of time when planning your journey. Intercity buses like the Greyhound or Megabus are cheaper alternatives if you are making short to mid-length journeys from one state to another. For longer distances, most people would choose to travel by train or domestic flights.
Mobile network providers
There are several US network providers that are more prominent and used by the majority of the population. The top two most used networks are Verizon Wireless and AT&T, and they account for two-thirds of the mobile users in the US. T-Mobile and Sprint have a fairly extensive coverage and user base as well.
The US uses a Federal system which has been in play since 1913. There are over 12 regional federal reserve banks in the US that help with the supply of money and other policies implemented. The banking system is one of the most regulated systems in America, which is why these 12 banks were created for the purpose. Opening a bank account in the US is easy and hassle free. All you need are:
- Full name, address, telephone number, school address, and school phone number.
- Valid Passport
- I–94 Card
- I–20, DS-2019, or I–797 Approval notice
- A secondary form of Identification; driver’s license, or school ID.
Once you have these available, you can open either a checking or savings account. A checking account allows you to frequently make deposits and withdraw from your account. The savings account is more suitable for long term deposits. If you’re an international student, it is recommended that you get a checking account.
With all of this information provided, you should be able to settle in your preferred city just nicely. The US is an amazing place to live in, so you will definitely enjoy your stay.