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Moving to the United States

The United States has always been a place that has inspired dreamers. Full of opportunity, wealth, and freedom, the U.S. is a country where dreams can be realized and a person’s wildest dreams can come true. Plus, since the U.S. is such a varied country in terms of climate, landscape and politics, it’s easy for people from all around the world to find something to love. If you’re considering moving to the U.S., here’s everything you’ll need to know to make the big move:
 
Preparing for Your Move
In order to live in the United States, the first thing you’ll have to do is comply with U.S. immigration and visa laws. To get this process started, you’ll need to start with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. With this department, you’ll need to start by filing a visa petition. Once this petition has been approved, the paperwork will migrate to the country’s National Visa Center at the State Department.
 
This the time at which all visa fees and needed documentation will be collected, so it’s wise to be prepared to present copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of income, anything else the State Department may need to approve the visa paperwork. This is also the section of the process during which visa interviews will be scheduled. For help understanding all of the ins and outs of this process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.
 
Bear in mind that, while the U.S. immigration process can be challenging, there are some unique situations in which the country will help citizens move to the U.S. in an expedited fashion.
 
These situations include but are not limited to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) (Which seeks to increase the number of Iraqi refugees living in the U.S.) and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which allows individuals from certain countries to stay in the U.S. for a period of time due to environmental disaster or war in their country of origin.
 
Regardless of what form of immigration or visa pursuit you’re interested in, one tool that can help expedite the process is InfoPass, a streamlined service that allows would-be immigrants to make an appointment with the U.S. immigration offices, thus bypassing long lines and wait times.
 
Finding Housing in the U.S
Rental housing makes up a significant portion of the American economy, and it’s relatively simple to find housing in virtually any city in the country. Here are some of the most popular forms of housing available:
•    Rented apartments. Rented apartments are prevalent, especially in the central cities. While the cost of a rental apartment will vary depending on location (more expensive in cities and less expensive in rural areas), it’s generally simple to find something that will work well with your budget. Unlike apartments in many parts of the world, American rental apartments can be large and, even when rented as “unfurnished” units, often include amenities like sinks, showers, washers and dryers, and cabinetry. If you have the budget for it, you may choose to look for a furnished apartment, which saves you the hassle of having to find furniture for your new place immediately upon moving in.
•    Rented houses. Rented houses are everywhere in America, and it’s simple for new citizens to find something that meets their needs. People with families can generally find single-family homes while individuals and families alike can search through options like condos, townhouses, and freestanding homes. Homes in America are in equal parts new and old, and prices will generally be higher in the city than they are in more rural areas.
•    Purchased property. If renting doesn’t sound appealing to you, consider purchasing a property. There are dozens of home purchasing assistance programs in America, and new residents of the country can gain support and guidance from government agencies when it comes to locating and purchasing a home.
While finding housing in the U.S. can seem intimidating, there are many resources available to new citizens looking to do just that. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development can help seniors, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities find housing in an area they love, so don’t hesitate to look into the housing programs available in the area you want to live in.
 
The Five Best Cities in the U.S.
If you’re moving to America, you’ll have dozens of fantastic cities and small towns to choose from. Your decision will depend only on where you want to be and what industry you’re interested in working in. To help you make your decision, here are five of the best cities in the United States:
 
1. New York
New York, New York is often considered the most iconic city in America. Once a hotbed of immigration through Ellis Island, New York remains one of the most passed-through and lived-in cities in the country. Currently, New York is the largest metropolis in the country, with upwards of 8 million residents, New York is a busy place with something to offer people from all walks of life.
 
Primarily regarded as a hub of creativity, art, music, food, and humanity, New York is a place where every new resident can find something to love. The city’s restaurants boast culinary fare from around the world while galleries like The Met and the MoMA house some the world’s finest art pieces. Situated on the banks of the Hudson, New York is a beautiful city that inspires awe in nearly everyone who visits it.
 
Known around the globe for its energy, award-winning public transit system, and diversity, New York is one of the best cities in the U.S. by far. Just be advised that rent in the heart of the city is famously expensive, and would-be residents may have to venture to the outskirts to find housing they can afford.
 
2. San Francisco
The hub of the United States technology scene right now, San Francisco is a quirky, progressive city with enough natural beauty and great food to keep anyone happy. Located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and known as the home of America’s iconic Beat Poets and many different racial and cultural movements throughout history, San Francisco is a fascinating city that’s famous around the globe for its art, culture, and beauty.
 
If San Francisco is where you decide to set up shop, there are dozens of things you’ll enjoy doing within city limits. San Francisco boasts the Golden Gate Bridge and is known throughout the country for its hilly (43 hills in all) and foggy landscape. The entire city is shot through with cable cars, and travelers can easily take public transit anywhere.
 
When it comes time to grab a bite to eat, San Francisco promises not to disappoint – offering fare ranging from street food carts specializing in ethnic food from around the world to Triple-Michelin star restaurants dotting some of the city’s most in-demand neighborhoods.
 
Residents who decide to live in San Francisco will love the lifestyle but may have to work a bit harder to find affordable housing. Thanks to the recent explosion in tech industry jobs in the city, rental prices have soared, and it’s more difficult now than ever before to find a place to live within city limits.
 
3. Seattle
Another U.S. city known around the globe as a hub of technology, Seattle is home to companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Located on the Puget Sound, Seattle is a city that’s famous for coffee, seafood, art, and music. Home to iconic American Band Nirvana and known for boasting some of the most astounding art and music scenes in the country, Seattle offers all of the opportunity of cities like New York and San Francisco, with less of the expense. While the city is still far from cheap, rental prices here are slightly more reasonable, and it’s easy to spread out into neighboring areas like Kirkland to find a place that’s cheaper.
 
When you need to get into or around Seattle proper, it’s easy to hop on one of the city’s many trains or to utilize one of the many shared-ride systems, including Uber and Car2Go. If you do decide to live in the city, spend your days strolling through iconic Pike Place Market, eating in the International District, kayaking around the houseboat communities of Lake Union, or enjoying a tasty seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants on the Puget Sound.
 
4. Chicago
Known for being the home of American blues music, Chicago is a steady, sturdy city with its feet firmly rooted in American heritage and tradition. In addition to the many cultural and artistic attractions the city has to offer, it’s also one of the best places in the country for sports fans and art lovers. Boasting attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago and Wrigley Field, Chicago is a perfect place to set up shop if you’re interested in a city that offers a taste of the true America. Shot through with efficient public transit systems and home to some of the best financial and technical jobs in the country, Chicago is one of the most popular cities new citizens choose to live.
 
5. Minneapolis
Minneapolis, located on the prairies of Minnesota, is known for being one of the most exciting and innovative cities in the country right now. Famous for offering good jobs, high quality of life, and affordable housing all in one simple package, Minneapolis is a hub of technology, engineering, and professional careers. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River and offering good jobs, good universities, and beautiful green space and a highly walkable city, Minneapolis is a fantastic place to begin a new life in America.
 
The Weather in the U.S.
Like all places, the weather in the U.S. varies depending on region and season. Along the northern edge of the country, the weather is generally warm in the summer and cold and harsh in the winter. The west coast and the interior portion of the country both see wet winters and hot, dry summers and springs while the east coast sees ample snow in the winters and little moisture in the summers. The southern edge of the country is mild throughout the winter and hot during the summers.  The mountains of the country get snow in the winter while the coastal climates are wet and filled with rainforests or old-growth forests.
 
 Pros and Cons of Living in the U.S.
While the U.S. is a land of opportunity, it’s still important to understand the gravity of the decision to move there before you take the plunge. Here are some of the top pros and cons of moving to the country:
 
Pros
•    Good jobs. The U.S. has a thriving technology and science scene right now, and new residents who specialize in these fields are highly likely to find quality employment.
•    High quality of life. America offers amenities like good grocery stores and city parks in most areas. The country works hard to keep public spaces clean, and most parts are very safe.
•    Space. America is a vast country with plenty of space to spread out. Some states have fewer than one million residents, and it’s easy to find a small piece of land to call your own.
•    Large expat communities. America is a melting pot of people from different cultures and backgrounds, so it’s not difficult for new expats to find a group to blend into.
 
Cons
 
•    High cost of living. Certain cities in the U.S. are expensive to live in and, in some areas, crime can be severe. Because of this, it’s wise to dedicate plenty of time to your housing search before deciding on a neighborhood.
•    Expensive healthcare. America does not have a public healthcare system and medical bills here can be staggering.
•    Bureaucracy. Moving to the U.S. can be difficult, and the visa process is one that many new expats find difficult.
Moving to America: The Dream of Many
There are many reasons that moving to the U.S. is a goal so many people around the world strive toward. In addition to offering good jobs, a high quality of life, and beautiful open spaces, America is also an inclusive place that welcomes people from all backgrounds and walks of life.