Costs of Moving to the USA
It is important to be aware of the costs involved in moving from South Africa to the USA, so you can prepare. As this is a long-distance move, you will most likely need to ship your furniture. In order to ship your possessions, you will need to purchase shipping container space. A typical move from South Africa to the USA would probably cost around R84,000 – R93,000 for a shipping container. However, container shipping prices depend on various factors and there are many ways to save money!
Moving to the USA: What do you need to organise?
First things first, getting your visas organised should be taking a priority if you’re moving anywhere in the world. So, if you’re moving to the US you will need to think about first finding a job and applying for your visa. This section will explain to you how you can do this.
Visas for the USA
If you’re moving from South Africa to the USA permanently, then you will need to apply for an immigrant visa. In order to be eligible for this type of visa, you will need to be sponsored either by a US citizen or a prospective US employer. You must have an approved petition filled out on your behalf by your sponsor before you apply for the visa.
Here are the most commonly used visas for the USA:
- Immediate Relative & Family-Sponsored
- Tourism visitor
- Business visitor
For more information, visit the US Embassy and Consulates in South Africa website.
Work in the USA
The US has been called the land of opportunity on many occasions, therefore it’s no wonder that America is popular for expats! As we said before, if you’re moving from South Africa to the USA, you may need an employer to sponsor your visa, which makes it even more important to land a job out there! For more information, take a look at these guidelines for work in the USA. There are several ways in which you can find work. Here are some popular websites that are used to find jobs in the US:
Living in the USA
If you’re wondering what living in the USA is like, then this section will explain to you what the culture in the USA is like as well as the differences in the cost of living from city to city.
Cost of living in the USA
|Item||Cost in Cape Town||Cost in the USA|
|Average Rent per month for one bedroom apartment in the centre||10,736.49R||17,716.27R|
|Average Monthly Net Salary (after tax)||16,315.15R||42,813.80R|
|One Litre of Milk||12.94R||11.70R|
|Inexpensive Meal Out||120.00R||197.66R|
As well as the cost of moving to the USA, something to be aware of is the cost of living once you have arrived. Obviously, the cost of living in the USA will differ from city to city. For example, New York is going to be a much more expensive place to live than in the rural parts of Alaska. In the table above, you can see the average cost of living across the USA compared to Cape Town. For a better comparison of different cities within the US, check out numbeo.
Moving to the USA: Tips
In this section you will find a list of things that you should prepare before moving to the USA:
Healthcare in the USA
An important thing that you need to consider before moving to America is how you will organise your healthcare. Private health insurance is the most popular option for most US residents, however, the USA is slowly improving their public healthcare system. Below are some available options:
- Medicaid: mainly allocated to families with low economic resources. These programs are administered by each state, therefore 51 different programs throughout the country. It includes pregnant or disabled people, adults and children.
- Medicare: is intended primarily for those over 65 and are insured by the government.
Private healthcare is very expensive and is usually deducted from your salary automatically depending on what healthcare package you go for.
Education in the USA
This section covers everything to do with education in the USA. If you want to study in America or are moving to the US with children, then you probably would like to know what the US education system is like.
Compulsory stages of the education system include:
- Preschool: Pre-Kindergarten (3-5 yrs)
- Elementary School: Kindergarten to 5th Grade (5-11 yrs)
- Middle School: 6th to 8th Grade (12-14 yrs)
- High School: 9th to 12th Grade or Freshman to Senior year (14-18 yrs)
After children finish compulsory education after the age of 18, they can decide to go onto further education at university. Many have excellent reputations in the USA e.g. Harvard, Yale, Preston or MIT. The only downside to universities in the US are the fees, which are on average $35,000 annually.
Housing in the USA
You are only able to buy housing in the USA if you work there. If you’re planning on moving to the USA without a job first, then you will have to investigate renting property. Brokers are common in the US and it is popular to search for homes through these sites. Negotiation of the prices is also common and prices of 10% below the asking price is possible.
If you’re interested in looking online to get an idea of the different types of housing you can find, then these sites can help you: