Without a doubt, the US remains one of the best countries to live, and continues to be the dream destination for millions of people around the world. According to the Pew Research Institute, the US has more immigrants than any other nation. Around 40 million people currently living here were born in other countries, and on average, about one million immigrants enter the country every year.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, could result in a lower number of immigrants for 2020 and even beyond. Moving to another country is never easy, and travel restrictions and a general air of uncertainty worldwide have made it even more challenging.
It doesn’t mean, however, that it can’t be done. If you can’t delay your move to the US or have set your heart on doing so despite the pandemic, these are some of things you need to do:
- Get updated information on travel regulations
Policies and rules on international travel change regularly, so it’s important to keep abreast of the latest developments. The following webpages provide critical information about traveling to and entering the US:
- CDC/Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States
With exceptions, foreigners traveling to the US from restricted areas may not be allowed entry into the country. Find out if your place of origin is affected by these restrictions.
- CDC/State & Territorial Health Department Websites
If you’re looking for information on travel policies by US state or territory, you can find the link to local health department websites here.
- US State Department/COVID-19 Presidential Proclamations
This page is updated with the latest presidential proclamations on policies governing the entry of foreigners to the US. These include the suspension of entry for holders of certain visas.
- US State Department/COVID-19 Visa Services and Restrictions
This page contains updated policies on visa services and restrictions due to COVID-19
- US Transportation Security Administration/ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Know about travel-related security measures and operations adopted by the country, including security checkpoints, passenger volumes, social distancing rules, and more. This infographic shows the protocols in place for traveling to and around the US.
Other helpful websites to check regularly include:
Do thorough research, and, perhaps, consult with the right professionals on how to get a US visa. There are quite a few visa categories for individuals seeking to move to the US. The right visa will depend on your purpose and status.
Do you plan to move to the country to work or to study? Are you a spouse of an expat, skilled employee, or student? Do you intend to immigrate and acquire US citizenship? Depending on your origin country, each visa category has specific requirements that could take some time to gather and complete, so it’s best to start early. See this page for information on US visas.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the State Department temporarily suspended visa services in US embassies and consulates around the world. As of July, 2020, however, a phased resumption of services has begun. Check with the US embassy or consulate in your area for updates, or visit the US Visas News page on the State Department’s website.
It’s imperative to plan for healthcare before moving to the US, especially in this time of the coronavirus crisis. If you have any existing health issues, it’s best to address them and arrange for the necessary procedures and treatments before moving.
While getting health insurance is not required in traveling to the country, it is highly recommended. Without insurance, you could end up saddled with a hefty bill should you require medical attention.
Getting health insurance in the US can be complicated. If you’re entering the country as a student, your school will most likely require that you obtain health insurance before you enroll, or they may automatically enroll you into their own student insurance plan. If you’re coming to the US for work and your employer is sponsoring your move, they can arrange to get health insurance for you, and may cover as much as 70% of your premiums.
However, if your company does not provide healthcare coverage, or if you’re moving to the country as a self-employed or unemployed individual, you’ll have to go through the process on your own. See this website to learn more about getting health insurance in the US.
COVID-19 coverage depends on your insurance policy. On their website, AHIP or America’s Health Insurance Plans, an association of insurance providers in the US, outlines their members’ general policies on COVID-19 coverage. Immigrants in the country can also get valuable information about COVID-19 assistance from the American Red Cross website.
If you’re moving to the USA, you also need to make the right housing arrangements and have one less hassle on your arrival. The experts at Viewpoint Realty International can help you find the right property and make your move as stress free as possible. Get in touch with the team at 727.584.7355 or viewpointrealtyinternational(at)gmail(dotted)com.