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Your checklist for moving to the United States

With a little preparation, you can take the headache out of moving to the States and have a smart, stress free move.


Coming to terms with leaving friends and family behind and wrapping up loose ends to prepare for your move leaves little time to deal with the admin stuff of moving abroad. Some items, like redirecting your mail, are easier than others — like opening a bank account in your new home country. With a little foresight and lots of lists, your to-dos don’t have be daunting.

Even if you consider yourself a laid-back traveler, it’s worthwhile to give our lists a once-over before you move to the United States — because we all forget things in the excitement of a life-changing decision.

Things to know before you arrive

  • Learn the weather of your destination – you’ll want a nice umbrella, sunscreen, or both – depending on where you land.
  • Tipping is customary, and ranges from 15% to 25% of the cost of the bill (including tax) based on the level of service.
  • Get a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) so you can work and pay taxes as a foreigner.
  • Learn which public holidays your employer recognizes (not all holidays are required to be observed).
  • The emergency number for the US is 911.
  • Know your clothing and shoe size in the US system, so when you’re out shopping you can find pieces that fit.
  • Prepare to convert from the metric system to the Imperial System for weights & measures.

Living in the United States as a newcomer

Read more on this topic

  • Guide to moving to the USA Get the checklist on how to legally and permanently move to the States, from starting a business, going to university, getting a bank account and more.
  • How to apply for an E-3 visa A complete guide of how to apply for an E-3 visa. All that you need to know if you are planning to work in the USA.

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    seirraJune 13, 2019

    HI, I have a boyfriend that lives in the uk. he asked me to marry him and he wants to move to Indiana. what will he need for a visa.

    • Default Gravatar
      BellaJune 14, 2019

      Hi Seirra,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      This page is actually a great article and guideline to start your search for the right information when it comes to moving to the US. In regards to visa, this page will give you information about the US visa that’s right for your boyfriend. You may also visit the US embassy or visit their website for further information.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

  2. Default Gravatar
    JamesFebruary 27, 2019

    Moving to The USA and have some furniture and personal item to take there. Do I need documents listing what I am moving?
    Do I need to deal with a broker on moving things?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 2, 2019Staff

      Hi James,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You would most probably be needing to declare the things you are going to bring to the US. Depending on how many pieces of furniture and personal items you are bringing with you, you would need a shipping container or something smaller.

      Using a broker would depend on you. Sometimes, a broker can save you a lot of time, but it may come with an additional expense.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  3. Default Gravatar
    bigSeptember 28, 2018

    i am looking to move to the U.S from Scotland.
    My father and sisters live there. how hard or easy would it be for me to move and work there. I have seen so many different things on the internet that I don’t know what’s true. I would like to move my wife and son as well but at a later date. please help

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 2, 2018Staff

      Hi big dog,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      This page is a great place to start your search for the right information when it comes to moving from Scotland to the US. Please review this page. You can have the confidence that the details on this page are helpful and accurate.

      Now, the difficulty of getting to the US and working in this country depends on your personal situation and how well you are able to meet eligibility requirements and proper documents. If you want to know more, you may visit the US embassy in Scotland or visit their website.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  4. Default Gravatar
    SandileAugust 9, 2018

    Hi my name is Sandile
    Me and my wife wish to move to US .
    Reason been we feel not safety in South Africa in last 3months we experienced 3 house breaking and the last one was to bad that we list our 8 year old son so anyone with helpful information please help

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesAugust 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Sandile,

      Thank you for leaving a question. I understand that you want to move to the US due to security concerns. You may want to read this article we have specific to newcomers who wish to reside in the United States. This article will give you an overview of what documents you need and processes you may need to complete should you wish to move to the US.


  5. Default Gravatar
    LethaboJuly 26, 2018

    How to get a citizenship for moving to the United States afrter turning 18 ?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloJuly 26, 2018

      Hi Lethabo,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Children can be or become US citizens through their parents. Children can automatically become United States citizens, even if they were born outside of the United States. In addition, a United States citizen parent can apply for the naturalization of his or her children. To know more about this matter, please go to THIS government website.


  6. Default Gravatar
    JackJuly 1, 2018

    What if I want to join the Military?
    And what about Air Soft guns, Do I need to declare them?

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoJuly 9, 2018

      Hi Jack!

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Should you wish to join the military, here are the basic eligibility requirements.

      To join the enlisted ranks, in general you must:

      Be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder
      Non-citizens must speak, read, and write English fluently.
      Non-citizens must currently live in the U.S.
      Be in good health
      Be 17 to 40 years old (different branches have different age requirements)
      View a chart of age requirements by service
      Have a high school diploma (some branches will accept a GED)
      Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test

      You can bring over airsoft guns (sport purposes) but you would need an ATF Permit. For more information, you check this page.

      Hope this helps.


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