Moving to the USA

Last updated: Oct 10, 2019

Do you have the American dream of moving to the USA? If you do, then this page can help you make that dream turn into a reality! Read on for tips and advice on everything that you may need to know, including visas, healthcare and what American culture is like. If you need help in finding a removal company to help you, take a look at our top 10 international movers list.

Immigrating to the USA

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 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
  • Employer Sponsored
  • Tourism visitor
  • Business visitor
  • Student

For more information, visit the US Embassy and Consulates in South Africa website.

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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 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:

Moving to the USA

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

ItemCost in Cape TownCost in the USA
Average Rent per month for one bedroom apartment in the centre10,736.49R17,716.27R
Average Monthly Net Salary (after tax)16,315.15R42,813.80R
One Litre of Milk12.94R11.70R
Inexpensive Meal Out120.00R197.66R

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.

Culture in the USA

Maybe you’re not entirely sure where you would like to move to yet. The US has several diverse cultures and each state differs from the other. Americans are by nature enthusiastic, friendly people. As the country covers a large surface of the world, the climate varies from state to state. California is warm for most of the year, whereas the state of Washington is usually on the colder side.

If you want to find out more about the culture in the USA, here is a list of ten things you should know about US culture.

Moving to USA

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.

Moving-to-USA

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:

What Next?

Overall, we hope that this page has helped you become better informed about moving to the USA.  You may find these pages to also be of interest to you: