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The United States

Moving to the United States

This international superpower consistently ranks as the leading destination for global migration. A nation founded by European visionaries and built by the hands of immigrants — the United States of America is pressured with an enduring responsibility to maintain its identity as the land of liberty, and fertile soil for economic opportunity.

For those who dream the American dream, the New World awaits.

Reasons to Move to the United States

Motivations for immigrating to the United States of America are as diverse as its population. Throughout this multilayered country, one encounters deeply entrenched communities that have maintained cultural identities and call the United States home. From asylum seekers to fifth-generation families, it is not surprising if you have family or friends residing in the New World. Perhaps you are looking to reunite; build a better future for your family; expand a business or invest? Whatever the reason may be — social, political, or economic — relocating to the United States of America presents an equal number of opportunities as it does tangible challenges.

For purposes of obtaining a visa it does not matter whether you aim to make New York or California your next home, immigration pathways and visas for the United States are enforced at nationwide levels (i.e. federal): Namely through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DoS).

As number one for GDP per capita in the world, the United States boasts high rates of economic mobility. This means the country has a robust economic framework, such as highly accessible credit-systems and financing for both individuals and businesses. There are also social resources in place to help its residents experience an increase in personal wealth during their lifetimes.

People relocate to the United States for a diverse range of reasons. Like the black and white images evoked during the era of Ellis Island, people look towards the United States for better opportunities for themselves and their families. Many more immigrate to flee political instability. Whatever your reasoning may be, read on to understand why Lady Liberty still welcomes those who aspire to migrate to the New World.

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Health is essential for quality of life — the United States has no shortage of healthcare, offering world-class quality healthcare in all respective areas. Albeit this comes at higher costs than its European counterparts; nonetheless, the United States is a powerhouse when it comes to healthcare with its well-developed public healthcare system and world’s finest doctors. A complex system of laws and policies ensure unabridged healthcare safety. Moreover, the United States leads the world in the output of medical sciences research.

Financially, a government single payer approach is mixed with private insurers, though there is growing support and progress towards revamping high market costs.

World Class Cities

Do you dream of living in a world-class city? How about a city that may not even feel like the United States; or maybe one that is rooted in fiber-optic cables and shaping the future of the world? Perhaps you are really craving a good old American city – a taste of that Southern Hospitality or hard-edge industrial spirit. In fact, the United States has something for everyone, as each and every city is certain to cater to different motivations and reasons for relocating.

New York, San Francisco, Austin, Miami and Washington D.C. — these places can attest that the United States fabric is composed of bustling cities with some of the most diverse populations in the world.

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If you are going to relocate then why not choose the world’s most iconic destination — New York City? If you are driven and determined to make it (or have already made it) and desire an extraordinary and inspiring city, you may find yourself in the Big Apple. Some say you can live a lifetime in a day in the City that Never Sleeps, as there is no shortage of places to explore, people to meet or interests to discover. Home to the New York Stock Exchange, Broadway, birthplace to the United Nations, and so much more, this dynamic city has a competitive job market for the best and the brightest. In fact, more billionaires live here than anywhere else in the world, along with over 380,000 millionaires. While there is extreme wealth, more than 60,000 homeless sleep on the streets of NYC on any given night.

Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City (some experts say 800) — making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Boasting the world’s largest harbor, NYC is the city of immigrants. Alongside this culture comes an abundance of delicious international cuisines. Fortunately, to be a New Yorker one must walk fast and often, so you are sure to balance out the consumption. Although there is ample public transportation and owning a car is not recommended, be prepared to do plenty of walking in between stops.

Be sure you have the budget to live here because this famous city comes at a high price tag. New York City consists of 5 Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island — Manhattan being the largest and referred to by locals as “the city.” Between the five boroughs are hundreds of neighborhoods, each with its own history and stories. Find the neighborhood which speaks to you the most to ease your transition, as living here is likely to need an initial adjustment. Before long you’ll fall in love with this monumental city and become a New Yorker constantly reminding yourself if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.

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How to Immigrate to the United States

Tourist and Temporary Business Visa’s last up to 90 days and do not permit paid employment. If your country maintains reciprocity with the United States, you may be able to enter freely without a visa for a tourism or business visit and you have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Passport holders from countries outside of the participating Visa Waiver Program must secure a Visitor Visa (B1/B2) in advance. To reside and work in the United States you must obtain both a visa and work-authorization (i.e. Employment Authorization Document or EAD)

Overall, there are two main pillars of U.S. visas: immigrant and non-immigrant.

  • Immigrant-Based Visas: Visas that fall under the "immigrant' category lead to Permanent Residency (i.e. Green Card).
  • Non-Immigrant Based Visas: Visas that fall under the "non-immigrant" category generally provide an opportunity to live and work in the United States.

Below we've provided a snapshot for some some overarching immigration categories to the United States of America:

Obtaining A Green Card for the United States

The United States provides immigrant visas based on family ties, employment, adoption, special immigrant categories, and the diversity visa.

A permanent residence card in the United States (i.e. Green Card) allows you to live and work permanently in the country. Applying for a Green Card varies depending on individual situations. Green Card eligibility categories may consist of:

  • Green Card through Family
  • Green Card through Employment
  • Green Card as a Special Immigrant
  • Refugee or Asylee Status
  • Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
  • Victims of Abuse
  • Green Card through Registry
  • Other Categories

Once a Green Card is obtained there are strict conditions to maintain it. Successfully maintaining a Green Card could result in the eligibility to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Undeniably, United States citizenship is one of the most coveted in the world. U.S. citizens and passport holders enjoy significant travel freedom, choice of residency in any of the 50 States or additional U.S. territories, and social services, among other benefits. There are four fundamental ways to acquire United States citizenship:

  • Citizenship through birth, anyone born within the United States or U.S. territories is automatically granted U.S. citizenship
  • Citizenship through acquisition, when a child is born outside of the United States to a parent who is a U.S. citizen (conditions apply)
  • Citizenship through derivation, a parent naturalizes any children they have under the age of 18 and residing within the U.S. may automatically gain citizenship
  • Citizenship though naturalization, the process of someone born outside of the U.S. who voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. Naturalization generally occurs is in the case of: (a) 3 years as a permanent resident who has lived in marital union with a U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years; or (b) Qualifying service in the U.S. Armed Forces

Working in the United States

Not all visa holders are permitted to work. Depending on the visa-type, this will provide the legal-basis for whether the visa-holder is authorized to work and obtain a salary within the United States.

The U.S. offers both temporary and permanent resident permits. If you have a permanent residence permit specifying you can work — a green card — or a work permit, you can hold a job amongst many other benefits. Work eligibility depends on the visa category and in some cases the dependent (i.e. spouse or children) of a main applicant is also be permitted to work. For this, you should file for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) separately.

Overall, those interested in securing a visa to work in the U.S. will quickly discover that the country offers a variety of categories for to explore and apply for.

Get Help With Your Move to the United States

So, how to get to the Land of the Free? This diverse and widespread nation is truly a land of opportunity with endless amounts to offer, however, navigating U.S. Immigration regulations can be daunting and complex.

Find support in your journey through Relocate. Dig-deeper into important topics for immigrating to the United States, and connect with qualified Advisors who can confidently address your U.S. immigration needs.

Get Started. Get Going. Transcend Borders.

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