To move from Europe to the US is a dream, above all if the reason is a dream job. However, no matter how great your relocation package is; or how amazing the position and the company are, there’s always a list of annoying things you will encounter in the process. And they are mostly annoying because either you didn’t think about them or you did and even though there is nothing you can do to avoid it.
1) Home appliances don’t work.
The standard household voltage in Europe is between 220-240V. The voltage in the US is 110-120V. After checking one by one every appliance at home, I think that the only thing I can take with me is my hair straightener. Everything else I have to sell or donate.
2) You need to leave important stuff behind
Your company and the relocation package will tell you what you can and you can’t take with you to the US. But as preview, let me tell you that a standard relocation package won’t let you take your garden/plants; nor your wine cellar nor your liquor; nor your pool table; nor your exercise equipment; and of course they won’t let you take any food (it does not matter that it’s a delicacy). So you’d better start cleaning your larder.
3) Your relocation is (at least) a two-month process.
If you have never been relocated before, this might help you. Relocation equals to a week of planning + a day of cleaning + a day of organizing + a day of packing. Transport: usually takes 50 days from Europe to the US. And you’ll need temporary storage from day 51 if you haven’t found a place yet.
This means that you’ll need at least two-month of temporary accommodation in a hotel/serviced apartment in your new destination. Keep this in mind when you negotiate your relocation package and when you are packing your bags.
4) You need an international (or translation) version of your relevant docs.
You are moving out of Europe, so make sure you take with you at least the birth certificate of each of you in the family; the international marriage certificate and your police records. If you have none of these documents, you’d better go to your consular office or to your civil registry office. These admin procedures take time, so plan well in advance.
These documents are basic for any visa and work permit in any country on the world.
5) You do not have a credit score in the US.
When you move to the US for the first time, it does not matter that you are a good European citizen who has never missed a pay of his/her taxes, rent and who is a good driver and has never got a parking ticket.
Your credit score in the US is inexistent. You do not have a US credit card and you won’t probably get one until you have deposited your first salary (best case-scenario: two weeks after starting the new job). The US banks, the insurance companies, the cell-phone carriers and the landlords don’t know you and they don’t trust you. You will need to make a lot of payments upfront or with you European credit card (I hope you have a good deal on international cash withdrawal and payments).
What other annoying things you found when moving to the US from Europe?