Once legal permission has been obtained to move to the United States, there are a few key steps that should be followed before the move can be made successfully. Moving can be stressful even within one’s own country and relocating a family and personal belongings to a new country is not an easy task to undertake. While making an international move can be difficult, certain challenges can be avoided with the proper amount of planning and research.

Step One: Finding a place to settle

The most important aspect of any move is the ‘where’. Before any concrete plans can be made, an immigrant should thoroughly research the state, county, and city in which they want to settle in. Every region of the United States offers residents different environments and no two regions are the same. When immigrants think about New York, they may picture bright lights, sleepless cities, and fast-paced urban culture – and they wouldn’t be wrong. However, New York is a large state and even connecting boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens, can be vastly different in layout and feel and each can be suited for different types of people. In order to be sure that you will be comfortable in the area that you choose to move to, come up with a few needed characteristics (quiet neighborhood, close to schools, near grocery stores, etc) and search for cities that contain neighborhoods that match your criteria. Once you have narrowed down your list, plan a visit to the potential city and neighborhood in order to explore and confirm that your research concerning the area is correct. If you are satisfied with what you find and believe you have found the neighborhood or city that best suits you and your family, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step Two: Finding employment

Employment and schooling are two of the most important factors when deciding on a permanent residence for an immigrant family. If employment has already been located by all working-age members of the family, then much of the difficulty that can be faced during the early stages of a move can be avoided. Once you have decided on a location, for example, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you can use various websites, newspapers, and employment agencies to locate jobs in relevant fields within Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. A job can often affect one’s desired location, and vice versa, however, it is best to find employment that involves an easy or short commute and is not more than an hour away from the location of choice. The job search should begin anywhere from six months to three months before the move is scheduled.

Step Three: Finding a good school

Many immigrant families move to the United States with school-aged children and are in search of top-notch academic programs and schooling. Once you have located the area that you desire to move to, you can begin researching nearby schools and programs that are in a commutable distance from your intended neighborhood of residence.  A number of public schools in the United States offer public school transportation via buses to children within a specific distance from an institution. This service can often be an asset to new immigrants who are still learning their environment and may become another deciding factor regarding the location in which the family settles. In addition, some school systems are better than others and can, therefore, be at a higher level of consideration than lower-rated schooling zones. After a school is chosen, be sure to research enrolment dates, any associated fees, dress codes, and other necessary rules and regulations attached to the school.

Step Four: Finding a house

After concreting the location, apartment or house hunting should begin as soon as possible. Finding good housing, especially in a great neighborhood, can be challenging if left as a last-minute task or afterthought. Locating suitable housing can take weeks or months of searching and may occasionally be the most frustrating aspect of the move. Housing is an important necessity for any move and the search for a housing situation that fits your budget, location, and amenity requirements should begin at least six months before your move. A budget should be created to establish how much money can be spent each month on rent or mortgage and utilities, and this budget will help guide the search for appropriate housing. Ensure that your exploration of possibilities includes un-furnished and furnished spaces, rules regarding pets and smoking, and lease or purchase agreement fine print.

All in all, an international move can be exciting and life changing, once done the correct way. To prevent any unnecessary setbacks or delays, ensure that care is taken in researching every aspect of your move and that you are fully prepared for your relocation.