3 Things You Need to Know as a Foreigner in the U.S.


According to the Pew Research Center, 1 million immigrants move to the United States every year. Now that’s a large figure to deal with on an annual basis, and as you’d expect, there are crucial things you need to know when you decide to settle in the U.S. The objective of this article is to inform you about some of these insights that ordinarily, you may not have considered.

  • No two states are the same

America’s landmass is about 3.8 million square miles, making it the third largest in the world.

This massive size is probably one of the main reasons you’ll not find two different states being the same. Regional differences range from accents to dialects, politics, food, and even religious preferences. The variations across all fifty states further lend credence to the belief that America is a melting pot of diverse cultures.

Furthermore, you’ll notice that no two state laws are the same.

For example, while cannabis is strictly illegal in Louisiana, it’s not the same in Oregon. The same applies to other laws on any subject matter. So, if in doubt about your options, it’s advisable to get proper immigration representation, lest you face drastic legal outcomes.

Fortunately, many law firms such as Nanthaveth & Associates offer such help, and you’ll benefit from an immigration lawyer free consultation.

In terms of weather, you’ll notice some intense variations as well.

For instance, Miami, Florida’s coldest month is warmer than San Francisco’s hottest month. Regarding occupations, it helps to know that shoe machine operators, actors, and agricultural workers are more in demand in California than in Washington D.C.

The latter is notable for high-tech occupations in computer science, registered nurses, and sales reps. So you see, even though all these states come under one umbrella to form the USA, no two can be regarded as the same.

  • Healthcare is not free

This is usually a shocker for foreigners moving from countries with universal healthcare.

Well, interestingly, the U.S. has a different approach to healthcare. Private medical insurance is a big deal here. However, the best way to get affordable health insurance is through an employer. Once you’re gainfully employed, the issue of healthcare won’t be much of a problem.

The only downside to this benefit is that it’s typically available for full-time workers and not part-time.

Moreover, should you or your close family need ambulance service, the medics have a legal right to ask for your health insurance details. As a tip, always carry on you an accepted insurance card everywhere you go. Health insurance is a multifaceted topic in the USA.

Either directly or indirectly, you’ll have to pay for any medical care you receive in America. Sometimes, you may be required to make payment after visiting the doctor, even with health insurance; it’s known as co-payment. For this reason, always ask for detailed information about the type of insurance you have.

  • You can’t work without a social security card

In the USA, a social security card is a critical element for every job. Besides, it’s a foundational requirement for all immigrants seeking to work legally in the U.S.

This card is the legal identification of your right to make a living in America. First of all, to apply for it, you need an authentic passport, birth certificate, and a permanent resident card. Your resident card is the same as the Green card entry stamp I-551.

It’s worth knowing that you can apply for your social security card at a U.S. consulate, depending on your home country. However, it’s a lot easier and more convenient to do it after arriving in the USA. You should also know that it’s legal to use a temporary home address (in the U.S.) in your application.

There have been situations where immigrants lodging in recognized hotels or guesthouses use that address to apply. However, when you move to another location, remember to update your details.

Indeed, the U.S. is a place of opportunities and explains why several immigrants move here every year. However, it’s useful and beneficial to be conversant with the laws and other critical matters that an immigrant will require.

As you work towards the American dream, avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law at all costs.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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