Moving from the Philippines to the USA is a life-changing adventure! Before boarding that plane, plan carefully and prepare for a smooth transition to your new life!
I’ve done this journey and I know it’s not easy. In this guide, I’ll share essential things to do before making the big move.
Visa and Immigration Matters
Get the Appropriate Visa.
Before anything else, make sure that you have the necessary visa to enter and stay in the USA legally. You may need a tourist visa, student visa, work visa, or immigrant visa. Check the official website of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines for up-to-date information and requirements. Keep in mind that visa application wait times can be long. Book your interview schedule as early as possible.
Gather Required Documents.
As part of the visa application process, you’ll need various supporting documents, such as a valid passport, passport-sized photos, financial documents, and letter of invitation (if applicable). Prepare these documents meticulously to avoid delays or complications.
Understand Immigration Laws.
Familiarize yourself with the immigration laws and regulations of the USA. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as an immigrant or non-immigrant will help you navigate the system with confidence. There are immigration requirements in the Philippines as well. If you are going to the US as an overseas Filipino worker, you may need to go through a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS). You may also need to secure an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC).
Your preparations and stress paid off! You got your US visa; you’ve booked your flight; and you are moving to the United States for real! This is it!
But wait just a minute!
Before you start packing, you need to plan for these 5 things right after you land in America! Save this article or print it out because I will provide some practical steps that you can follow. If you have any question, feel free to comment below or message me at email@example.com.
This is it! You are going on a long trip to move to the United States. Moving to another country is always a big move. And if you’ve never traveled by plane for more than 6 hours before, then you need to pack in a lot of patience. In most cases, travel to the USA usually lasts for about 16 to 24 hours including the layovers.
Here are some tips to help make your trip to the United States more bearable.
Before the Trip
When you book your flight, decide on the seat you prefer: aisle or window seat.
If you are traveling with your family, try to sit together so you can easily manage the needs of kids. If you don’t have kids yet, sitting together with your spouse still makes the trip easier.
When I travel on an airplane, I usually prefer the aisle seat. If you need to go to the restroom, you can do so without any fanfare or inconvenience. You can stand up right after the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign after landing. You can get out of the plane more quickly. But if you’re on the aisle seat, you won’t have a chance to look at the clouds or the mountains the plane will pass by.
Many Filipinos consider the United States as the “Land of Milk and Honey,” and that if you had the chance to go there, your life will never be the same. If you just get there, you will be swimming in dollars and you can lift yourself and your family out of poverty.
Some Filipinos may have found that to be true. And even for those who do struggle, life in the USA tends to be more comfortable than life in the Philippines. The good thing about working and living in the US is that you earn dollars. And if you convert your money to Philippine Pesos, you’d get a lot! If you had $1,000, that would be equal to around PhP50,000, depending on the exchange rate.
Alas, you earn in dollars, you also spend in US dollars. And if you’re not careful, you also get into the consumeristic, materialistic lifestyle of most Americans.
You’ve been accepted for a job in the USA, you applied for and got your visa. You let go of many things that you own in the Philippines, now it’s time to pack your bag or boxes as you travel to the United States.
How much stuff can you bring?
Most airlines traveling to the USA will allow you to check two big bags or boxes that weigh up to 50lb or 23 kg. You are also entitled to bring 2 carryon bags. That sounds like a lot, but it really is not, especially if you are a family of three or more going to the USA.
Excess baggage fees are expensive! If your bag or box weighs more than 50lb or 23 kg, you will pay $75 or more! If you are bringing more than two checked bags, the third box will cost $200 or more! If you’re willing to pay that amount, I won’t argue with you.
Packing is a challenge. If you’re moving out of the country, you need to bring only the essentials and let go of anything you won’t need.
But as you start packing your things, you’ll start wondering where all those things came from. And then, you’d start thinking about which ones to bring, which ones to store in your parents’ house (if they let you), and which ones to let go.
It is tough!
There are a lot of things that are really tough to let go–the small clothes of your child, photo frames, books you love, appliances you’ve worked hard to pay for, and a million other things.
It’s not the price tag of these things that make it difficult to let go, but rather the emotional and historical value they represent in our lives.
Our things tell the story of our lives–they are the key to triggering our memories.
If you could only bring everything with you to the United States, why not? But it will be very expensive just to ship all those things from the Philippines.
So here are some tips that will help you pack or let go of your stuff.