Immigrants who first come to the United States are often not sure what to expect. They arrive in a city that is completely foreign to them, and feel lost like a needle in a haystack. Things are never the way they seem in books or on television. While most O-1 visa and E-2 visa immigrants have their professional set up before they arrive, getting their personal life together might prove to be more complicated. Here are ten common troubles that new O-1 visa and E-2 visa immigrants might have when they first arrive to the United States.
When first arriving to the U.S. it is important for immigrants to start building their credit right away, so trying to get a mortgage, a car loan, or even a cell phone plan without a credit score is very hard. The first step, is applying for a U.S. credit card. If your bank in the your home country has a branch in the U.S. such as Citibank, they might be able to apply for one with them. Otherwise, you will need a social security number or a tax identification number in order as this is the most common form of I.D. used by the U.S. credit system. If you can get a co-signer it will lessen your chances of being denied. You can start with a secured credit card which means that you will have a certain credit limit on the card that you can spend. Whatever card you choose, it’s important that they report your payment history to one of the credit bureaus as that is how credit is established. You can also build your credit history when you pay your rent, but if you choose to go that route, be sure to always pay your rent on time.
If you are arrive to the U.S. with an O-1 Visa in the tech or sciences industry, then you are a highly sought after, skilled talent in your field and will likely find a high paying job in the Silicon Valley area. Other visas, such as the E-2 Investor Visa for founders will give you the freedom of establishing and investing in a business here in the U.S. However, if you are confused or conflicted about what visa best fits your needs, the easiest way to narrow down your options is to fill out the free and easy questionnaire on PassRight.com. Immigration specialists at PassRight can help you determine what visa you are eligible for right now and then help you track your immigration status as it progresses.
One of the biggest problems immigrants face is getting along with U.S. citizens who have been living in this country. There is a real disconnect in the culture because immigrants come here to work hard, while citizens often have a lot more free time to socialize and engage in other activities. Another reason for the disconnect is that immigrants don’t feel like they can put down any real roots until they get their Visa or Green Card. Unfortunately the process for both can take a while, putting the immigrant even more on edge that they might not be allowed to stay. Most large cities and educational institutions have organizations and places where you can meet other immigrants from your country or ethnic background. Finding people who you can easily communicate with will make the transition of moving to the U.S. much easier for you as they will be able to help you navigate some of the customs and nuances that are common in the U.S. or even just locally to where you are residing.
Everything from shaking hands, to certain gestures, applauding at concerts or even just smiling at strangers can be a foreign concept depending on what country you emigrated from or what your ethnic background dictates. O-1 and E-2 founders from different countries can make meaningful connections at work or work events where there is a common thread of topics to discuss. Audible books offer an array of literature by American authors and stories set in the U.S. that can also make it easier to connect to American culture and way of thinking. Many O-1 visa holders that work in the tech industry find it easier to adapt to their surroundings than immigrants who start restaurants and stay within their own micro culture environment.
A much talked about topic, the United States is home to many religions and while the U.S. Constitution allows for the freedom of religion, many people will look curiously at those who practice a faith unfamiliar to them. There are however thousands of places of worship throughout the country where foreigners of the same faith are welcomed and embraced. These places can also be a great resource for support and guidance.
Finding suitable housing can be difficult for immigrants who do not have established credit in the U.S. If there is someone that you can stay with while building your credit, or if someone can co-sign a lease, that will make it easier. There can also be issues of clashing cultures, languages and customs, especially if you live with a roommate or in close proximity to someone who is not familiar with your way of life.
Unless you arrive in a small town where everything is within walking distance, or a large metropolitan area such as New York City or San Francisco where public transportation is readily available, you will need to consider how you plan on getting from home to work or school or even to the grocery store. Buying or leasing a car is an option, but you will first need to get a driver’s licence and apply for car insurance, which can also be hard and expensive without the proper credit. There are also ride sharing companies available such as Uber and Lyft that have easily downloadable apps that you can get on your smartphone. While Uber Pool Rideshare can be a way for immigrants to meet, you will need to have a credit card to pay for these services.
When immigrants arrive in the U.S. they usually think of immigration attorneys only for their O-1, E-2 or other visas, however, there are other laws that might be unclear to them that they are still responsible for following. Traffic laws, gun laws, tax laws, and more are all legal issue that need to be considered and accounted for while residing and working in the U.S. PassRight can help immigrants with their legal needs, both before and after their arrival to the U.S.
Immigrants who are skilled in the tech field might think this is a redundant point. However, it would be remiss not to mention that electrical outlets in the U.S. are quite different than those in other countries. Therefore, upon arriving to the U.S. you will need to have the right adapter if you want to charge your foreign smartphone or tablet. It’s also likely that many websites you are used to visiting in your home country will look different here, especially if they are entertainment sites like Netflix. That is because their content is determined by various country’s content rights.
America is not only a melting pot of ethnicities but of their cuisine as well. If you go to France, you will mostly encounter French food. If you go to Mexico, you will mostly encounter Mexican food. But when immigrants come to the U.S. they will be surprised to see that their palates can be expanded by simply going a few doors, blocks or miles in either direction of their current location. This is particularly true for large cities, and can often be overwhelming when trying to plan a meal or a weekly grocery list or menu. Trying new foods is one of the most exciting and enjoyable things about living in a large U.S. city, and while some cuisines might appeal more while others less so, the food that is found here is a wonderful representation of the people and cultures that live in the U.S.
PassRight Can Help You
For a more in-depth immigration guide to moving to the United States or to get more information visit PassRight.com. If you are a foreign founder, find out the necessary steps to apply for an E-2 Investor Visa, or get more information on the costs for moving to Silicon Valley. Whatever your needs might be, working with PassRight means you will always have someone who is there for you and ready to help you no matter what kind of trouble or adventure you might find yourself in.