Moving to a new country is probably the most exciting thing in the world. Whether you do it for study, work or to relocate your startup, it’s a new world to discover, and a lot of work to get ready. Lets get started with 10 tips we have collected from friends and members as they landed in Silicon Valley with new projects, dreams and experiences. Here are the top 10 tips before traveling to the United States.
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10. Understand your visa and limitations
There are multiple visas depending on your goals. Tourist visas are easiest to get, but they restrict your stay and work. Most study visas limit working hours and require full commitment to the program. If you’re moving for a job in the US, your employer will probably take care of most problems, but make sure you check the time span and limitations for your significant other or any family moving with you.
If you want to relocate your startup or found your own company, there are many options for you. Learn about these options in our events with immigration lawyers.
9. Start the process far in advance.
Once you decided on the best visa, start the process as early as you can. The US especially has a lot of requests so it could take days, weeks or months depending on your country, time of year and type of visa. Even before getting your visa, start planning your trip. If you are moving for work or study, make sure you have all the documents needed.
8. Fly smart and early
We all know the TSA takes their job more seriously than any other customs in the world, so make your (and their) life easier. Get to the airport early, hopefully you checked-in before getting there. Dress comfortably and avoid zippers, clips and all metal objects in your clothes. This is great for the security check and even better for sleeping in the plane.
7. Once you land, get your papers in order
You are now in a new country, where all your previous IDs, cards, and basically your whole wallet is useless. If you are coming to work, make sure you get a Social Security Number immediately. Most cities in the US are not friendly for pedestrians, so if you’re driving make sure to get an international driver’s permit. Another document you might want to get immediately is an American credit card. This will help you build credit history, making all future endeavors in the US much easier.
6. Don’t book long term stays from abroad
Having your own place to land in a new city is great, but sometimes it’s better to land a transition place before deciding. Once you get to your destination, go out and discover the city. There is no better way of finding a place than to go around, see the neighborhood, see the houses and decide on the one that feels right, not the one that looked nicer on a website.
5. Get travel insurance before getting real insurance
Like buying a house, insurance is something you want to spend some time thinking about. To protect your first weeks, we recommend getting short-term travel insurance, immediately looking for a long-term replacement in your city.
4. Understand your finances
Tax season just passed, but that’s no excuse to slack on your financials. Before travelling, understand the tax laws for your city and remember that everything you buy will be 10% – 20% more expensive with taxes and tips. Remember to tip!
3. Learn to move around
As we mentioned above, driving is the most practical way of getting around most cities, but if you like to walk, stop and enjoy the view, there are multiple options. Public transportation is usually the hardest to figure out, but once you know it, it’s the most affordable way to move. Before you travel, find out how the public system works and make sure to check if ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft are available.
2. Be aware and smart
This is general advice to travel around the world. You will find evil anywhere you go, and the best chance of avoiding it is keeping your eyes open and your logic skills active at all time. There is no need to develop trust issues, just use common sense and avoid walking with your smartphone in your hand through a dark alley, small things like that.
1. Stay at Startup Basecamp
We can’t write a list of the top tips for coming to the US and not include staying at our co-living, co-working spaces. Actually, if you stay at Startup Basecamp, you don’t really have to worry about this list, we have you covered!
Now that you know how to prepare for your trip, join other world travelers in Startup Basecamp.
This post is one of our initiatives to bring Silicon Valley to you!
Together, we are dedicated to providing you with many opportunities so you can make the difference! We want to help you increase your odds of success in launching impactful startups that can solve the problems of today and create the jobs of tomorrow.
We hope you take advantage of this powerful knowledge and enjoy it as much as we do.
Guillaume de Dorlodot,
Startup Basecamp Co-Founder.