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When we decided that we were moving to the US everything was so unclear that we didn’t even know how to start. At that time I thought that a practical guide would be really useful and although there was a lot of information on the internet I had difficulties in finding what I was looking for.
This is how the idea of this guide appeared in my mind. I hope it will be a real help for anyone who has plans of moving to the US. I will try to include here all the information I wanted to find before our move, so I will divide this guide into several parts to explain all the necessary steps for this move.
If you have any questions about moving to the US that were not answered by the information in the guide I would be glad to help, so just leave me a comment here and I will answer it.
A short introduction about our move: We moved from Romania (Europe) to the US (California) when my husband got a job here. He came here first and after a few weeks, we (me and our son) joined him. We are now living in the Bay Area.
The first part of the guide is about the things you should take care of before moving to the US. There are some things that need to be solved in your home country and also some paperwork you need to fill in before moving here.
12 things to do before moving to the U.S.
Documents and visa
1. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months to be able to obtain the visa. The children must also have a passport, so make sure their passports are also valid.
2. If you need a visa (and probably you do) make sure you have the list of necessary documents for your file and you have them prepared on time. If you are moving to the US with a job, the company hiring you must take care of some paperwork you will need for obtaining the visa.
3. Get prepared for the visa interview. After you have all the documents for your visa file, you will also go through an interview at the American Embassy in your country. Be sure you know all the information regarding your move, be honest and give all the requested answers.
Leaving things settled in your home country
4. There are a lot of things to take care before your move. Make sure you are taking care of all the invoices that are issued monthly on your name (e.g. electricity bill, mobile phone bill etc). If you own a house or a car you could consider the idea of letting someone take care of them instead of you (and maybe even sell them later on) and this may require some legal documents signed in front of a notary.
5. If one of the family members is moving first in the US and the other join him later, you should consider the fact that if a parent is traveling alone with a minor child, he must have a power of attorney from the other parent that allows him to travel abroad with the child. (this is not valid for all the countries, but it’s better to check the regulations in your country)
6. If you have a driving license, make sure it is valid and accepted in the US. You will certainly need a car in the US and the driving license issued in your home country is valid here for a year, so it would be really helpful.
7. If you plan to move you pet too, make sure the pet has all the vaccines and documents that are required in the US.
8. In most of the countries, you are required to inform the tax authorities that you are leaving the country, so it would be useful to check their requirements.
8. Cancel all the unnecessary bank accounts, subscriptions and contracts you had in your home country.
9. Sell all the important things that you don’t plan to take with you or find a good storage for them.
Preparing for the move
10. If possible, buy your plane tickets in advance to get good prices. If you don’t have a place to live in the US, you should also book a hotel for a couple of days until you can find a place to move in.
11. It is important to make a travel insurance for your family because you won’t have any medical insurance in the first days, so it is better to be prepared for any medical issues that might occur.
12. Pack your luggage smartly. Most of the things you have at home can be easily found in the US, so maybe it is not necessary to take them with you. You should consider the costs of moving our things to the US, for some items it is cheaper to buy them directly from here and it is also easier for you because you don’t need to take care of the shipments.
I hope this first part of the guide was useful for you. I am preparing the next parts with information about the first steps after the move and I hope to publish it soon. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment.