So that’s it! It’s decided, you’re moving to the USA. It’s time to hike the soaring mountains, listen to country music in Nashville, explore the sand dunes of cape cod – and see the bright lights of Vegas!

But what’s the next step? There’s a lot to consider before making the big move. What will you do there? How do you get a visa? And the all-important question… which state sells the best hot dogs? (Find out at the end!)

Well, there’s no need to panic. All your questions will be answered in this guide to moving to the USA. Whether it’s for business, study, or an extended holiday, you’ll be cruising the open road in no time and living that American dream!


Why you should move to the US


American’s ‘can-do’ positive attitude

Americans are world-famous for being positive. You’ll be surrounded by enthusiastic people who believe anything is possible. This makes it a great environment to thrive. And great company to be in if you’re studying or at work.

There is a strong sense of community and plenty of people to lend a hand when you first move. Don’t be surprised by a warm, friendly smile in the street, plus America is famous for its customer service. You’ll be told to “Have a nice day” more times than you can possibly count!

It’s the land of opportunity

They don’t call it the American dream for nothing. The US regularly ranks highly as one of the best places to work in the world. It’s a great country for tech companies, and if you’re a wannabe entrepreneur or innovator, there’s no place like America!

Excellence in education

Now we’ve all seen the movies. Who wouldn’t want to experience American college life? But it’s more than just keg parties, if you’re looking for a world-class education, the US could be the place for you. There are over 4000 universities for you to choose from. Five of which are in the top ten in the world!


How to move to the US


Citizens of Spain who want to move to the States must first gain legal permission. This all depends on how long you want to stay and the path you want to take. Before you can start packing your bags, you’ll need to get all your documents in order and make sure you have the correct visa. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

1. Sponsorship by an employer

One of the ways to get permission is if an employer from the US can sponsor you. They will have to prove that there is no other person who is qualified or willing to do the job and show their financial abilities to pay you (Form I-140).

The employer completes the process for you, and once you obtain permission, it will allow you to stay permanently in the US. This status is called a green card. The process can take between 7 and 33 months, depending on your status.

Read more here.


2. Temporary worker visas

A Non-immigrant visa is a temporary visa that allows you to work in the US for a specific amount of time. Once the visa expires, however, you must leave the country.

There are many different types of work visas. They include one for people who work in a specialised field such as law, architecture, medicine, finance and business – H1. And another for people with extraordinary ability in the arts, sport and entertainment – P1.

Before you apply for your US work visa, your future employer must file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS (I-129 form). This is the most important document to get your work visa.

Read more here.


3. Student Visa

You need an F1 student visa if you want to attend an American institution. This includes high school on a foreign exchange or going to university as an international student.*

First, you must apply and get an offer from The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), and then you can apply for the F1 visa.

The Exchange Visitor Visa category also includes the role of au pair, camp counsellor, intern and teacher. For this, you will need a J1 visa, and you must have health insurance.

*Note for the Student Visa, you must be proficient in English, more about this below.

Read more here.


4. Tourist Visa

With a tourist visa, you can only stay in the US for six months. You cannot look for work, but this could be a great opportunity to travel around and brush up on your English at the same time. For this you will need the B2 tourist visa.

Read more here.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to submit your visa application – at least a few months in advance!


What you need to do to get your visa


For most of these visa applications here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Complete the DS1-60 application form
  • Pay the application fee
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 (if you are a student)
  • Schedule a visa interview
  • Prepare your documents (passports, copy of forms etc.)
  • Attend the interview

English Language Requirements


As a legal requirement, international students must prove their English language ability, and that they are able to speak and understand English. Two of the most common ways to do this are by taking the TOEFL or the IELTS. Then use this certificate in your application process.


IELTS at Oxford House


There are two types of IELTS exam: the Academic IELTS and General training. The Academic test is best if you want to study abroad and the General training is more suitable if you’re looking for work opportunities.

Here at Oxford House, we offer an 8-week IELTS intensive course to help you in preparation for the exam. New courses start each term and offer 4 hours of classroom time a week. We also offer an IELTS summer intensive course, which runs in July, August and September.

Read our blog – IELTS: your ticket to the World for more information on where the qualification can take you.

Good luck with your move!

We hope we’ve managed to help answer your questions…let us know if there’s something else you want to know.

Oh, and that all-important question about hot dogs? Well, it’s obviously the Big Apple (New York) of course!


Before you go


Prefer to move to Ireland? Check out our guide Everything you need to know about moving to Ireland.

Want to experience the great down under? We’ve got you! Read Maria’s story on Why you should move to Australia.

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Soaring (adj): high.

Cruising (v): to drive for enjoyment.

Thrive (v): to grow.

Wannabe (adj): a person who wants to be something else.

Keg (n): a small barrel of beer.

Willing (adj): to be happy to do something if necessary.

Green card (n): the document you need to live and work permanently in the US.

Intern (n): a person in training.

Brush up on something (pv): to improve your knowledge of something.


adj = adjective

v = verb

n = noun

pv = phrasal verb

Study English at Oxford House Barcelona

Interested in taking an English course at Oxford House Barcelona? Check all the different English classes we can offer you, or contact us for more information.

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