The United States of America (USA), is a highly developed country composed of a federal district, 50 states, five major self-governing territories, and various other possessions. It is one of the world’s ancient federation which is a federal republic and the ambassador of democracy. The country is the founder of many known international organizations such as United Nations, Organization of Monitory Funds and etc. A steady stream of immigration, notably from the 1830s onward, formed a pool of foreign-born persons unmatched by any other nation due to which the United States is also charectarized by an extraordinary racial and ethnic diversity.
Weather & Climate
Average temperatures of US’s spring months are 12 °C (53 °F) in March, 18 °C (64 °F) in April and 22 °C (71 °F) in May. The general state of weather is slightly unstable so by the end of April some areas may face temperature drop or even thunderstorms.
The summer period is considered the best time of the year and average temperatures are +29 °C (84.2 °F). Autumn is a truly universal season. Average air temperature in southern states in September reaches up to 25 °C (77 °F). By the end of November it usually drops to about 10 °C (50 °F). In winters, From December to February, the average temperature is from +8°C – -1°C.
Cost of living
US$ 1,100 per month (single)
US$ 794 per month (student)
US$ 4,045 per month (family of 4)
This average excludes house rent. They may vary with several factors like the number of members in a family, preferences and choices of accommodation.
Income Tax – Taxpayers fall into one of seven brackets, depending on their taxable income: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% or 37%. Because the U.S. tax system is a progressive one, as income rises, increasingly higher taxes are imposed. For singles, tax rate is 10% for up to US$ 9,525, 12% for US$9,526 to US$38,700 and 37% for income above US$500,000.
Capital gains tax – 20%, these are those paid on any profits made from the sale of an asset and are usually applied to stock and bond transactions. The capital gains tax rate has recently been raised from 15 to 20 percent.
Visa and Citizenship
There are four main categories of US visas:
- Non Immigrant Visa: for temporary visits such as for tourism, business, work, visiting family, or studying.
- Immigrant Visa: for people to immigrate to the United States. At the port of entry, the immigrant visa holder is processed for a permanent resident card (I-551, often known as a ‘green card’). Upon endorsement (CBP admission stamp) it serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year. A child with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa will automatically become a United States citizen upon admission to the United States and be processed for a certificate of citizenship (N-560).
- Dual intent visa: One that is compatible with making a concurrent application for permanent resident status, or having an intention to apply for permanent residence.
- Employment Visa: An employment visa may be described as a three-step process in most cases. First, the employer files an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting a particular type of category visa for a specific individual. If the employer’s application is approved, it only authorizes the individual to apply for a visa.The individual then applies for a visa and is usually interviewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the native country. If the embassy or consulate gives the visa, the individual is then allowed to travel to the U.S.
There are 5 main ways an individual can obtain residency and work authorization in the United States:
- Sponsorship by an Employer
- Sponsorship by a close Family Member in the United States
- The Diversity Visa Lottery Program
- Asylum & Refugee Status
The main types of temporary US work visas are the H1B, the L-1 and the E.
- H1-B Speciality Occupation VisasThis is a visa for people coming to the USA to work for a US employer in a professional-level position. Valid for 3 years initially, can be extended to 6.
- L-1 Intra-Company Transfer VisasThe L-1 visa is used to transfer workers from a related foreign company to a US parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch office. There are two types of L-1 visas:
- The L-1A for Executive/Managerial staff
- The L-1B for Specialist Knowledge staff
L-1 visas are issued for an initial 1 or 3 years. L-1A visas can be extended to a maximum of 7 years, while L-1B visas can be extended to a maximum of 5 years
- E Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor VisasThese are visas for the employees of companies registered as Treaty Traders or Treaty Investors (i.e. those which undertake substantial trade with, or have made substantial investment in, the USA.)E visas are now generally issued for an initial period of up to 2 years; they can be renewed indefinitely.
US$46,800 per annum
Average Salary (as of Q4 2018)
Technology, Health, Media, Consumer Retail
To stand a better chance, do look out for networking opportunities with companies that you are interested in, check out some of the online job portals or professional and trade associations.
Work permit process for foreigners
You need to fill out a one-page form, The form you will use to apply for a work permit is Form I-765, available for free download on the USCIS website. Most of the form is self-explanatory. Attach the photos, and documents proving you’re eligible.For that you’e to figure out that in which category do you fall and have to attach the documents as the proof. Attach the fee, You will pay by check or money order (not cash) if you mail your application. If you e-file, you can pay by credit card, debit card, or electronic transfer of funds from a checking or savings account from a U.S. bank and then submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.Either by mail or by “e-filing” (online, through a computer). But you’ll still need to mail in your supporting documents.
Make a complete copy of everything in your packet, even the checks, before sending it.
Average Rental per month
As with most countries, expats will need to sign a tenancy agreement which is known as a lease, and these vary between landlords but the paperwork is fairly comprehensive and they will usually have to pay an application fee.
Most landlords will also ask for references which an expat can get from their employer, and also proof of ID for which they can provide a passport or a driver’s license. Some landlords might also request a copy of the expat’s credit report which may be an issue for those who don’t have a credit history in the US, but it may be possible to provide one from their home country, particularly if they bank with a financial institution with a US presence such as HSBC or Citibank.
Expats should also appreciate that the lack of a credit history in the US may mean a landlord will demand a security deposit that equals two or three months’ rent.
However, a letter from an expat’s employer should help in this regard which will give details of the expat’s employment and ability to pay rent.
Once they have been accepted as a tenant, they will need to pay a security deposit as well as a month’s rent in advance. Most landlords are looking for tenants to sign a one-year lease but there are options for shorter leases from apartment communities offering corporate housing, for instance, though they tend to be much more expensive to rent.
Median House Price (Apr 2019)
At the point you find a property that you would like to make an offer on, the agent will undertake a Comparable Market Analysis which will inform your offer price. You will receive a Seller’s Disclosure report, which details all physical problems and defects that the seller is aware of. There is no legal requirement to disclose issues the seller is unaware of, so you cannot sue them for defects after purchase that they cannot reasonably have known about.
If the property was built before 1978, Federal law requires buyers to receive the following before being obligated under contract to buy the property:
• An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards, called Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home
• Any known information about the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building
• An attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, that includes a “Lead Warning Statement” and confirms that the seller has complied with all notification requirements
• A 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards, which may include investigation from a certified inspector. Parties may mutually agree, in writing, to lengthen or shorten the time period for inspection. The purchaser may waive this inspection opportunity.
An offer to buy a property is made in writing, which may be accepted or prompt a counter-offer. This stage can be repeated. At the point both parties are in agreement, the offer or the counter-offer which has been agreed will become the contract which is ratified, and you are now under a legally enforceable contract. The inspection period, typically 14 days, should be agreed in advance of contract acceptance, which is the point the inspection period starts.
The purchaser now pays a deposit, called Escrow Money or Escrow, into a Trust. The purchaser chooses the escrow office/account; it is normal, but not compulsory, for the title company doing the closing to hold the escrow. The title company is usually chosen by the party purchasing the title insurance. At closing, the Escrow will be removed from the Trust and paid to the seller as part of the purchase price.
A Home Inspection is carried out, paid for by the property purchaser and within the agreed inspection period. Any repairs needed can then be negotiated between seller and purchaser. These inspections will include lead based paint investigation, termite inspections, and Appraisal (valuation) of the property for the mortgage company.
All the processing checks for the purchase of your property takes place at the office of a title company. The ownership of the property and their right to sell is confirmed, and any outstanding claims against the property should be identified.
Some purchasers hire an attorney to undertake these checks, but most people don’t. Every state has a lawyer referral service, and you should expect your lawyer to be a member of the American Bar Association. Expats have additional legal checks to cover including proof of right to residency, and may feel more secure having their paperwork processed by lawyers. Different states have different rules about tax and inheritance, and if you own a property this becomes an important issue.
The process of transferring ownership of the Property and Title and the associated funds, will differ between States. It will often involve registration at the county court house, and becomes a matter of public records. It is best to use professionals local to the State where the property is located, so that the correct procedures and laws are followed.
It is mandatory to purchase home owner’s insurance for your new home, whilst private mortgage insurance is discretionary and may be a good choice for some households but not others.
Make sure you get a written quote from the removals firm in advance of the moving day, as they have been claims of firms demanding higher payments once the furniture is in their van. If you are moving from one State to another, a US Department of Transportation number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so you can check with them whether the removals firm is licensed. For moves within a State, requirements vary between state, county or local consumer affairs agencies.
Mobile Network Providers
Average Mobile Phone Bill per month
There are four major operators in the United States that offer nationwide wireless services. Two of these (AT&T and T-Mobile) provide service using the GSM standard, while the other two (Verizon and Sprint) primarily use CDMA. All four also operate networks using LTE standard for their 4G services.
- Verizon Unlimited Plan – $80/mo for unlimited data, minutes, and text
- AT&T Unlimited Data Plus – $90/mo for unlimited everything.
- Sprint Unlimited Freedom – $50/mo for unlimited everything.
- T-Mobile One – $70 for unlimited everything.
Internet Service Providers
Average Internet Bill per month
These are some of the internet providers in US
- Altice USA (including Optimum Online and Suddenlink Communications) AT&T Internet Services.
- Cable One.
- Charter Communications
- Comcast High Speed Internet
Public Transport System
US$121 per month
Average Public Transportation Cost
Some large cities in the US provide different methods of public transportation, such as buses, taxis or trains. However, in most places, public transportation is poor. The frequency of stops is less and they are not well connected. You will have to rely on your private car for transportation in most cases. Most people either travel with their own cars or ride-sharing services in US.
Ride sharing and taxis
Taxis and Uber/Lyft are available. However, bear in mind that these companies may not be active in smaller towns.
Intercity Transport System
There are many different ways to get to various states. They include flying, driving, buses, Rails, Taxi, Uber or Lyft. The most economic way of intercity transportation is Lyft.
Overseas Driving License Laws in Each State
District of Columbia
Driving in United States
Driving in the United States is a frequent occurrence, with the majority of Americans using private automobiles as their primary form of transportation to their workplace. Each state has the authority to set its own traffic laws and issue driving licenses, although these laws are largely the same and licenses from other states are respected throughout the country. Americans drive on the right side of the road. There are numerous regulations on driving behavior, including speed limits, passing regulations, and seat belt requirements. Driving while intoxicated with alcohol is illegal in all jurisdictions within the U.S.
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
- Telephone 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.
There is no universal healthcare. The U.S. government does not provide health benefits to citizens or visitors. Any time you get medical care, someone has to pay for it.
Healthcare is very expensive. If you break your leg, you could end up with a bill for $7,500. If you need to stay in the hospital for three days, it would probably cost about $30,000.
You will get most of your care from your “primary care provider” (PCP). After you buy health insurance, you can choose a PCP who is part of your insurance company’s network. Your new PCP could be a nurse practitioner or a physician. You will see your PCP when you need a physical exam or lab test, when you are sick, or if you need care for an ongoing condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
You will usually need an appointment to get medical care. If you want to see your PCP, you will need to call your PCP’s office to make an appointment. When you call, you need to explain why you need the appointment. If you are sick or hurt, you will get an appointment very soon. If you just need a routine physical exam, you might have to wait several weeks or even a month.
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.
The American education system offers a rich field of choices for international students. There is such an array of schools, programs and locations that the choices may overwhelm students, even those from the U.S. As you begin your school search, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the American education system. Understanding the system will help you narrow your choices and develop your education plan.
Primary and Secondary School
Prior to higher education, American students attend primary and secondary school for a combined total of 12 years. These years are referred to as the first through twelfth grades.
Around age six, U.S. children begin primary school, which is most commonly called “elementary school.” They attend five or six years and then go onto secondary school.
Secondary school consists of two programs: the first is “middle school” or “junior high school” and the second program is “high school.” A diploma or certificate is awarded upon graduation from high school. After graduating high school (12th grade), U.S. students may go on to college or university. College or university study is known as “higher education.”
1. State College or University
A state school is supported and run by a state or local government. Each of the 50 U.S. states operates at least one state university and possibly several state colleges. Many of these public universities schools have the name of the state, or the actual word “State” in their names: for example, Washington State University and the University of Michigan.
2. Private College or University
These schools are privately run as opposed to being run by a branch of the government. Tuition will usually be higher than state schools. Often, private U.S. universities and colleges are smaller in size than state schools.
Religiously affiliated universities and colleges are private schools. Nearly all these schools welcome students of all religions and beliefs. Yet, there are a percentage of schools that prefer to admit students who hold similar religious beliefs as those in which the school was founded.
3. Community College
Community colleges are two-year colleges that award an associate’s degrees (transferable), as well as certifications. There are many types of associate degrees, but the most important distinguishing factor is whether or not the degree is transferable. Usually, there will be two primary degree tracks: one for academic transfer and the other prepares students to enter the workforce straightaway. University transfer degrees are generally associate of arts or associate of science. Not likely to be transferrable are the associate of applied science degrees and certificates of completion.
Community college graduates most commonly transfer to four-year colleges or universities to complete their degree. Because they can transfer the credits they earned while attending community college, they can complete their bachelor’s degree program in two or more additional years. Many also offer ESL or intensive English language programs, which will prepare students for university-level courses.
If you do not plan to earn a higher degree than the associate’s, you should find out if an associate’s degree will qualify you for a job in your home country.
4. Institute of Technology
An institute of technology is a school that provides at least four years of study in science and technology. Some have graduate programs, while others offer short-term courses.
National Public Holidays include:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Day
- Washington’s Birthday aka President’s Day
- Easter Sunday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
- There’s no official language
- US uses 18% of the World’s energy.
- The United States invented the internet.
- At some point, 1 out of every 8 Americans will work for McDonald’s.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do tip for good service
- Don’t assume that you can smoke anywhere
- Be punctual, always
- Don’t use american slang
- Do obey traffic rules
- Statue of Liberty
- Grand Canyon
- The Super Bowl
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