Thousands of immigrants are arriving every year to USA from various countries from all over the world. All these new immigrants come to this fantastic country with golden dreams in their eyes so as to make their sweet home here. These immigrants have to mould themselves fresh, right from the beginning as their living pattern and standards were altogether different in their home countries. This changeover is slightly easier for the younger generation but it is really difficult for the aged immigrants, as they have been used to the living conditions of their original country. I have myself migrated to this country before about 2 years at the age of 56 years and hence am aware of the problems to be faced by a new immigrant in this country. I have tried to give brief tips that shall prove extremely useful to the new immigrants.
1. Arrival in USA- The immigration officer stamps your passport at the USA airport only, bearing your alien registration number (green card number). Once this stamp is put, you have become an authorized USA resident. The sealed cover containing all your visa documents, and medical reports including your chest X-ray, handed over to you by consulate office in your home country, will be checked by the immigration officer at the arriving airport. Hence, please arrange to keep these documents handy with you in your hand baggage so that you can present them during the immigration process. You will be required to give your fingerprints also at the airport. It is suggested to check the detailed postal address of your sponsor so that your green card and the social security card are received safely by you without any delay. It takes about 2 weeks for receipt of these important documents. However, if you wish, you may start looking for a suitable job. But you will be able to start your job only after receipt of your social security card.
2. Orientation of USA- You will have to take a good rest in the initial days of your arrival to overcome jetlag effects. In the meanwhile, try to keep couple of Ist class mail letters received in your name at the official address of your sponsor. A welcome letter from INS and letters enclosing your green card and social security cards shall fulfill this requirement. Once these mail letters are ready with you, you have to approach the nearest MVA office to get your permanent state identity card issued. MVA will charge a nominal fee of $20 for issuing this very important document that you shall need at all times in USA. A small application form will have to be filled in by you. MVA officers will also arrange to take your photograph.
This card will be received by you at your residence via USA mail services may be within around one week. Familiarize yourself with the weather conditions here. You must try to explore all near-by area during this period, familiarizing with the area you are going to live. The public transport systems and schedules along with the normal food habits of Americans also may please be studied during this period. Once you are ready with your green card, social security card and the state I/D card, you can start your job. The job hunting is generally done through the word of reference from your sponsor or friends/relatives. Online job hunting can also be done.
3. Financial settlement- the next important task is to open bank accounts in your name at the most convenient and reputed banks.You will need your state I/D for this purpose. You may open both savings and the check-in accounts with at least 2 banks so as to have flexibility of operation. Try to operate through online banking thereafter so as to avoid physical trips to the bank. Keep your online passwords only with you and do not reveal it to anybody. The bank will also issue the suitable credit card to you for your use. This must be taken and used as much as possible. The cash transactions are kept minimized in USA and must only be resorted in case of extreme need. The identity thefts can also occur. So, never reveal numbers of your social security card, green card, bank account, credit card etc. to anybody. Some unknown phones will keep on coming asking for such details, in the context of winning some prizes etc. Always ignore such calls.
4. Driving license issue- You will have to issue learning license first by appearing in the entrance exam, conducted by the MVA authorities. The small booklets to prepare for this test are available through MVA office or also, online on website of MVA. While issuing this license, your vision test will also be taken. Once you pass through both these tests, learner’s permit is issued to you that is valid for one year. You have to practice driving thereafter on the basis of this learner’s permit with a full fledged driver sitting besides you. You can appear for the final test of driving after about 3 to 6 months of the date of issue of learner’s permit, depending upon the state you are living.
5. Cultural settlement- Start celebrating all the American festivals as and when they come. Try also to understand basic theme and the reasons for celebrating a particular festival. Also, try to make some good friends and mix around all people you come across. This country is now your home and all people staying here are your brothers and sisters. Keep on watching American TV so as to familiarize yourself with the spoken American English. Always make sure to carry your state I/D, driving license, credit cards, and at least, the Xerox copies of the green card and the social security cards. You must also get your library card issued at the nearest county library by showing your state identity card. This will be of immense help to you during your stay here.
6. Health/Medical issues- If you have not come with the suitable health insurance policy from your original home country, buy suitable policy after studying various offers online or through leaflets. The reasonable health insurance for $100,000 is available at an estimated premium cost of $100 per month in the age group of 50 to 60 years for nonsmoking persons. Some of the employers also provide health insurance policy through the company. Keep your insurance policy details with contact phone number of your insurance company always handy so as to contact them immediately in case of any emergency.
You will have a very pleasant experience of settling in this fabulous country that provides equal opportunities of growth to one and all. You will start loving this country soon on immigration and shall be proud in saying so.