1. Specify your objectives
2. Have a Plan – You should have a ten year plan and a near term 3 year plan
3. Work your Plan
Seems simple right, you are even thinking you should get you money back! Remember one thing, we are born without any document then at birth we are issued with a birth certificate. We then discover that we have parents, who too are expected to have a trail of documentation to prove their existence! As we grow up we get baptism certificates, school reports, school and college certificates, national identity cards, drivers licences, work experience, we built networks of family, friends and acquaintances and finally we also get passports to travel. It takes time to gather the necessary documentations and networks that make us who we are. As we get more documentation and built networks, society gives us respect due to our station in life with them. Considering that you applied and worn the US Visa, you have an established place in your society.
I would like to let you know that moving from one society to another involves starting to get your documentation, built your networks and establishing your station in life from scratch! When you hop into a plane in your home country to the USA, the only document that is recognized is your passport, all the others either have to be verified or replaced by you and there is NO US GOVERNMENT welcoming party waiting to hold your hand!
To apply and win the VISA, you must have obtained and given a US friend, relative or contacts address. If you are of a certain age, you may have fogotten how it is to live in someone else house, now brace yourself, you will need to live in someone else house for at least three months – consider that! It not that you or your host are bad people, its that each one of us has their ways and want things done a certain way, you may have to play second fiddle!Even if you have money to start, you will still need to live with a host to gain residency in a state to enable you rent an apartment or buy a house!
Your plan, your persistence, your house and your ability to built networks will determine how well you do in the USA. I would recommend that you keep your plan to yourself but work it, every interaction in the USA is a negation, everyone wants something from it, know what you want and know what you can give and what is a deal breaker! Everything is possible in the USA, you just need to work at it and don’t listen to those who say its impossible to paraphrase Ford, “If you thing you can …. and if if you think yo cannot.. you are right”
You need a host, please ask them about their school district if you have school going children!Public schooling in the US, is local, where you live or settle will determine the kind of public schools your kids go to – choose your hosts wisely!You would think that this is obvious to immigrants because in their home countries, residential areas are very distinctive by income class but because the USA is presented as all well developed people are fooled into believing that any place in the US, is good enough!
In all former British colonies including Kenya, no professional practices without a licence:- After your law degree, you must go to Law School, after your nursing cause, you must sit for the nursing licence examination, After finishing your accounting degree, you must sit for the Accountancy examination!the list goes on you cannot practice as an Engineer or Architect without passing the professional examination for the jurisdiction in which you live.Keep this in mind before someone tells you that your academic qualifications are not recognized in the USA! You will need to get your Academic qualification verified by any member of http://www.naces.org/members.html NACES® is an association of independent, private credential evaluation services, whose members serve persons who have completed part or all of their education outside of the United States and who are seeking further education, professional licensure, immigration to or employment in the United States.
Considering that you are still reading, you must be serious about relocating! You should know that that the USA is not one jurisdiction, each state regulates academic and professional practice hence just like a Kenyan Lawyer cannot just show up in a Rwandan Court, most licences are State specific hence you should pick your host wisely looking at the state requirements. Each US State has a website that gives information on what the requirements and processes of practicing a specific profession are, please take time while still in your home country to research and start the process. It is not the the USA does not recognize foreign qualifications, its is that those foreign qualifications need to be verified and then the individuals need to obtain licences for the jurisdictions in which they want to practice!
Let us look at what you may want to do up to this point. Take sometime to think and reflect, setyour objectives, determine what you would consider success then make a plan. Talk to yourhost and find out about their school district, like it or not, at the end of the day, its the family you bring up that will determine whether society determines you a success or not, give yourself a chance, choose your host well! Look at your academic and professional qualifications, have your academic qualifications verified and make a point by point process of getting licencing in the jurisdiction you choose to settle.Your spouse needs to do the same, and the children will need school or college transfer documentation. College transfers will have to be verified like academic qualifications, school transfers are local, be ready to smoothly negotiate! School starts in September, We would highly recommend relocating from the tropics in the summer to enable you and the family acclimatize as the winter sets in,Plan to relocate between May and August.
Most of the government and public service organisations in the US, do business online and are very surprised at walk in business, hence the internet should be your friend as you plan to settle and work in the USA. Those trained as nurses should visit the national council of state board of Nursing https://www.ncsbn.org/171.htm for details on how to transfer their licences.We highly recommend reading of the attached Migration Policy paper attached to this article. Professional Certification in the USA takes time because due to the decentralised federal system, no single structure is responsible for professional certification in regulated occupations.
We are running ahead of ourselves! To this point, its safe to assume that with all the possible things that we have told you that may be in the way, you are still determined to leave all your friends, relatives with their support network, your old occupation and venture to the USA. Now you will need to confirm with your host to ensure that your travel does not conflict with their schedule. Yes, that word,SCHEDULE, will not have to form part of your vocabulary! In the US, time is a very important resource that is scheduled to within 15 minutes, not 6 hours!Your host will have to fit your travel plans in their schedule because they need to pick yours faithfully from the airport when you land stateside!
When you arrive stateside, remember other than your passport, all your other documentation will need to be replaced, verified or reconfirmed. You source document is the Permanent Residence Card (Green card) but it will be mailed to your USA address about thirty days after your arrival. In the thirty to forty five days of waiting, you will have to watch TV and acclimatize yourself with “English”, yes you will have to learn ‘English’ , I know you are reading this but being able to communicate in written English does not mean you know spoken English, just get over it and learn to listen and speak English, the TV will be your friend!
Your host will have to find time to take you around. You will realize that the US is a very race conscious society, for better or for worse you will be know first, by the complexion of your skin before your name, ability to pay, your education and standing in life in that order! You will be well advised to know that everyone in your new country manages by exception, the first exception is the complexion of the skin! Identity politics is big business in the US, do not do and say anything unexpected! One other thing you will need to learn very fast is that Justice in the US is democratic, which means that an organised and civilized mob is in-charge! Frightened yet? you should be, it will do good for you!
When your green-card arrives in the mail, you will need to go to your local Social Security Office and apply for Social Security Numbers(SSN) for yourself and family. In the period of waiting for the greencard, you should have made some friends to suppliment your host who can provide a ride to the Social Security office, after you apply for the SSN you will need to head to the Department of moto Vehicles to get the driving manual because you need to start cracking on your driving skills theory, yes you will need to read for a written driving test before obtaining a permit to drive on the local roads! I know you may have had an international driving permit but you need to localize. You SSN will arrive in the mail within fifteen days, while you watch TV, there those advertisers who claim to be able to issue credit cards that will built you credit. They are lying through the teeth but for now, pick one of them, you will need to ask them for more information. Give them your name and address, they will mail this to you and therefore provide you with a second letter mailed to your address proving you live there!
To this point,may be at day 45 after you arrived stateside, you should have:
- Waited for 30 days for arrival of your of green card in the mail
- When your green card arrives, you will need to go to the Social Security office to apply for your SSN
- Your SSN should have arrived in the mail within fifteen days
- Go to the DMV to apply for your driving licence having read for and passed both theory and practical driving
- Check for and apply for school admission for your children
The US School system is different from from your home country. The majority of american children attend public schools, public schools are grouped into majority grammar schools and a few vocational schools, a few are Charter Schools(Choice schools) the rest are just public schools. There are several private schools available to those willing to pay. We shall assume that you are relocating and want you children to attend public schools.
Each public school building is basically three schools in one:
- General Education School
- College Prep School
- AP (honour) School
You will need to place your children into the AP School, you will get lots of push-back , you will be told that foreign students don’t know English, you will be told that your people do not need maths, you be pushed towards psychology and social sciences but you will remain firm and get your children into the sciences and maths stream of AP! It will not be easy but you did not move your family all these miles to be railroaded into working at 7Eleven!
At this point in time you have been in the USA for more than three months, you should have all the papers required for getting a job, nothing is free and you need yo get a revenue generating activity and your welcome at the hosts is about over, you need to move on! In the US people are valued for their ability to pay their bills not their education, education is just one strength towards being able to pay your bills! So get out they find an RGA and work your plan, check on the academic verification and occupational certification, pay your bills and work your plan.
Now you know, hope you read this before arriving State side, good luck. Contact us with questions, we charge for our time.