Preparing for Your U.S. Arrival

While moving to a new country is the culmination of a dream, it can sometimes feel overwhelming due to the unknown and unexpected. If you are a nurse preparing for your move to live and work in the United States, you may have questions like the following:

  • Will they let me in the country?
  • Will they question my stay?
  • How long will they take to process me as I have another flight to catch?
  • Who will be there to pick me up?
  • Where will I live?

Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Upon arriving in the United States at the Customs and Immigration checkpoint, remember to answer all questions truthfully just as you did at your embassy interview. Keep answers short and to the point, and answer only the questions that you are asked. The interview typically only lasts 10-20 minutes. The wait time in line is much longer, so it is recommended to allow about three hours between flights (if you have another destination to continue your journey). You will also need to make sure that the officer sends your information to the Social Security Administration in a timely manner.

Other things to remember while waiting in line are to keep your distance from other passengers and only approach the immigration officer when called. If you have children, keep them and all luggage close to you while you wait. Traveling with children during long flights can be stressful so it is important to keep calm and plan ahead. Bring enough snacks, toys and entertainment for younger travelers, and wear comfortable clothes and shoes to make your trip more bearable. If you have infants, it is important to remember that child passenger safety laws in the U.S. require them to travel in car seats. Please bring a child seat in case you have to request a Lyft, Uber, taxi or rental car from the airport to your future housing. Most airlines do not charge a fee to bring a car seat.

If you own a smart phone in your home country, it is recommended to bring it with you to be able to text, place emergency calls or request a vehicle over Wi-Fi. Most international airports in the U.S. offer free Wi-Fi.

Once nurse candidates get close to their travel date, their designated HealthStaff Case Manager will provide them with the necessary information and resources to complete additional requirements that can only be done in person upon arrival. While tasks such as going to the Social Security office, obtaining a driver’s license, arranging your permanent housing (depending on your healthcare employer’s contract), etc. are the candidate’s responsibility, your HealthStaff Case Manager is available to assist you after your arrival in the United States.

Applicants should carefully consider several factors as you evaluate your permanent housing options. Please keep in mind that price, distance from your workplace, distance from children’s schools, availability of public transportation and ability to purchase a vehicle are important considerations. Again, your HealthStaff Case Manager can provide information about this process.

The United States is a multi-cultural country made up of people from different ethnicities, religions, languages, etc. Being open-minded, tolerant and respectful of others and the law will ease the transition to a new country.

Your arrival in the U.S. is only the beginning of your American Dream. We wish all international RNs arriving in the United States success and prosperity in every aspect of your new life.