Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when you are bringing along your family. As a healthcare professional, there are several things you need to know when moving to the United States with your family. In this blog, we will discuss budgeting, how the U.S. school system works, how family members can move to the U.S. with a parent or spouse who is on the EB-3 or H1-B visa, using your company’s resources to familiarize yourself with the local culture, and wellness tips for a family adapting to life in a new country.
Preparing for a Move to the U.S.: Budgeting
Moving to a new country can be an exciting endeavor, and it is essential to be prepared financially. We generally advise our healthcare professionals to begin saving as soon as they sign their contract with us, with a goal of saving approximately $5,000-$7,000. As you prepare to move to the United States, it is important to consider the following expenses:
Housing is likely to be the most immediate expense when moving to the United States. You will need to pay a security deposit and first month's rent upfront, which is typically the first and last month of rent. It is important to research the cost of living in the city where you will be living and adjust your budget accordingly. Consider the size of the apartment or house you will need, as well as the location and proximity to your workplace.
Furnishing Your Home
In addition to the cost of securing housing, you may need to purchase furniture and home goods when you arrive in the United States. This can include items such as a bed, couch, table, and kitchen appliances. You may also need to purchase dishes, towels, and other household items. Consider purchasing items secondhand or from discount stores to save money. You can also look for online marketplaces where people sell their used furniture and home goods.
Transportation costs can vary depending on where you live in the United States. You may need to purchase a car and pay for gas and insurance. In most areas of the U.S., you’ll want to have your own vehicle for transportation. Alternatively, you may rely on public transportation such as buses or trains. Research the cost of transportation in your area and adjust your budget accordingly.
Groceries can be expensive in the United States, especially if you are accustomed to a different cost of living in your home country. Consider shopping at discount grocery stores or buying in bulk to save money. It may also be helpful to meal plan and cook at home instead of eating out at restaurants.
Consider moving your family after you’re settled into your new home
Many of our healthcare professionals have found it beneficial to initially move to the United States alone in order to save money and get established. Once they have gotten settled into their jobs, life in their new city, and have a steady paycheck, they have then had a smoother transition moving their immediate family members over.
By considering these expenses and adjusting your budget accordingly, you can ensure that you have enough money to cover the cost of preparing for your move to the United States. It is also important to have some savings set aside for unexpected expenses or emergencies.
U.S. School System
The U.S. school system can be different from what you are familiar with in your home country. The school year typically runs from August to May or June, and students attend school Monday through Friday. There are three levels of education in the U.S.: elementary school, middle school, and high school.
To enroll your child in a local school district, you will need to provide proof of residency, such as a lease agreement or utility bill, and your child's birth certificate and immunization records. Some school districts may also require additional documentation, such as academic records or a transcript from your child's previous school. It is important to research the specific requirements of the school district where you will be living.
Public education in the United States is free for all children between the ages of 5 and 18. However, there may be additional costs associated with primary education, such as school supplies, textbooks, and extracurricular activities. Private schools are also an option, but they can be expensive and may require an application process.
It is important to research the school district where you will be living and determine which schools are the best fit for your children. Some factors to consider include academic programs, extracurricular activities, and the school's culture and values. Your engagement manager can also provide you with information on local schools and help you navigate the enrollment process.
By understanding the U.S. school system and researching your options, you can ensure that your children receive a quality education and have a smooth transition to their new school.
Moving with Family Members on EB-3 or H1-B Visa
If you are moving to the United States on an EB-3 or H1-B visa, your spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to accompany you. Your spouse may also be eligible to work in the U.S. with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). It is essential to research the visa requirements and work with an immigration attorney to ensure that you and your family members have the proper documentation to enter and live in the U.S.
Using Your Employer and Community as a Resource
When considering which organization you want to be your employer, it’s important to examine the kind of support they will offer.
Healthcare professionals who work for Conexus have access to an engagement manager who offers on-the-ground support throughout their entire contract, helping them adapt to their new homes and connect with others in their community. As part of the Conexus community, our healthcare professionals also have access to a support system of other international nurses and medical technologists who can provide advice and share their experiences.
Wellness Tips for a Family Adapting to Life in a New Country
Moving to a new country can be stressful for both you and your family members. It is essential to take care of your physical and mental health during this transition. Some wellness tips for adapting to life in a new country include:
Stay connected with family and friends back home
Join local clubs or organizations to meet new people
Take time to explore your new city and try new things
Stay active and exercise regularly
Practice self-care and take time for yourself
Moving to the United States as a healthcare professional with your family can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By budgeting, understanding the U.S. school system, researching visa requirements, using your employer and community as a resource, and taking care of your physical and mental health, you can make the transition smoother for you and your family.
If you’re ready to start your career as a U.S. nurse or medical technologist, we would be honored to help you navigate the process. Learn more about starting your journey today.