US Immigration – Green Card Lottery Articles DV Lottery Resources Wed, 04 Apr 2018 07:25:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Immigration Policies: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump /articles/immigration-policies-hillary-clinton-vs-donald-trump/ Mon, 12 Sep 2016 04:49:00 +0000 America’s presidential candidates couldn’t be more different when it comes to immigration. Here’s a closer look at their viewpoints.

Immigration Legislation


Trump’s legislation plans focus on tightening up the borders and sending undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin.

  • Trump plans to build a wall across the US-Mexico border, and wants to make Mexico pay for it.
  • Trump’s been in favor of mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented living in the US. Though he recently made statements loosening this catch-all policy.
  • Trump’s proposed a few specific changes to visa policies that he says will make American citizens more marketable in the work force. He plans to increase wages of H1-B workers to incentivize employers to hire American workers. He’ll get rid of the work-study J-1 visitor visa, which he says will offer job opportunities to inner city youth.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s promised to introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a “pathway to full and equal citizenship” in her first 100 days in office. The plan promises to “fix the visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.”

  • The plan will end 3- and 10- year bars. These are time limits on when immigrants who leave the country due to illegal status are allowed to apply for re-entry.
  • There are several provisions that protect undocumented immigrants, including limited deportation plan as well as the protection of President Obama’s executive actions DACA and DAPA.
  • Clinton will devise a strategy to encourage more immigrants to naturalize (become US citizens).
  • She plans to uphaul detention policies, which have been criticized as inhumane.

Undocumented Immigrants


Trump’s been dubbed the anti-immigrant candidate in particular for his views on undocumented immigrants.

  • For most of his campaign, he’s touted a mass deportation plan to send all 11 million undocumented immigrants “back home.” But in a Fox News interview Aug. 26 he took a big step back, stating he would “get the bad ones out.” Undocumented immigrants who “contribute to society, have been law-abiding, have kids here” may be allowed to stay if they pay back taxes.
  • Trump’s proposed to eliminate sanctuary cities which shelter undocumented immigrants.
  • He plans to make E-Verify, an online system used by employers to verify identity and work authorization, compulsory nation-wide.
  • Trump’s also proposed to end birthright citizenship, saying it’s “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” This change would require a constitutional amendment.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s plan to handle the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants is heavily focused on a path to citizenship, rather than deportation.

  • She’s promised to introduce comprehensive immigration reform (with a path to citizenship) within her first 100 days in office.
  • She’s pledged to defend President Obama’s executive actions—known as DACA and DAPA—and to “do everything possible under the law to protect families.”
  • Her proposed plan for selective deportation is incredibly limited. “She’s putting forward the most radical immigration plan ever put down on paper by a candidate,” said Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies Mark Krikorian. “She has pledged to refuse to deport any illegal alien who has not been convicted of a violent crime.”

Border Protection


Like Clinton, Trump’s insistent on secure borders. Unlike Hillary, his policies have been criticized as xenophobic. Trump’s border protection policy is rooted in the infamous vow to build a wall across the Mexican-American border, for which he plans to have Mexico pay. In the same speech, he referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “drug-peddlers.” Since then, he’s suggested a ban on all Muslims.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton has stressed the importance of border protection, but said little beyond that. Her platform leans more on the bigger picture of immigration reform—which includes plans to protect our borders in the name of national security.

Important Immigration Organizations /articles/2013/08/important-immigration-organizations/ /articles/2013/08/important-immigration-organizations/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2013 21:08:05 +0000 Immigrants who are new to the United States will encounter several government agencies during the process to become a permanent resident, or green card holder.

Depending on what immigration process one may be going through one may deal with different organizations. Some organizations, like ICE, are preferably avoided during the process.

Work-based immigrants, for example, will have very slight interaction with the Department of Labor through the USCIS, whereas that part of the process is wholly absent from the Green Card Lottery.

Below are some of the more important organizations that immigrants may encounter.


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency that immigrants will most often encounter after they enter the U.S.

Applications for Green Cards and citizenship are to be submitted to the USCIS. There are offices for the USCIS all over the United States. However, it is suggested that if an immigrant needs to talk to an immigration officer that they arrange an appointment through INFOPass.


The Department of State (DoS) is the organization that visa applicants in other countries normally communicate with through their local embassy or consulate.

The DoS is the equivalent of many other countries “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” and is in charge of foreign missions.

Immigrants file their visa applications through the DoS.

The Green Card Lottery is directly administered by the Department of State.


An agent from Customs and Border Protection is often one of the very first people that immigrants encounter when they enter the United States. Customs agents examine the items that are brought into the United States and, to some degree, the people.

Customs agents are also responsible for protecting the borders from illegal crossings and other potential issues that may arise at the border crossings.


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) part of the Department of Homeland Security is a department that most immigrants are not too happy to come in contact with.

ICE is responsible for investigating problems in immigration and customs and is a law enforcement agency.

For many immigrants, contact with ICE means that they are at risk of being removed, or deported.

That is why it is so important for immigrants to ensure that their applications are filed to the best of their ability and as accurately as possible. Fraud is not treated lightly by ICE.


The Internal Revenue Service is the United States mechanism for collecting taxes.

Taxes serve to fund public programs and governmental agencies (however, uniquely enough, the USCIS is barely funded by tax revenue).

Immigrants in the United States and they must pay taxes on their income. In order to do this they must obtain Social Security Cards through the Social Security agency (SSA).

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How to Get an Immigrant Visa for the U.S. /articles/how-to-get-an-immigrant-visa-for-the-u-s/ /articles/how-to-get-an-immigrant-visa-for-the-u-s/#respond Wed, 14 Aug 2013 20:10:35 +0000 What Is an Immigrant Visa?

An immigrant visa is a document given to foreign residents that gives them permission to come to a U.S. port-of-Entry to apply for entry and a Permanent Resident Card.

Although one might be able to obtain an immigrant visa that does not necessarily mean that they are automatically allowed into the United States, but it is a step in the right direction.

A Permanent Resident Card is the documentary proof that an immigrant has the right to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

Permanent Resident Cards are colloquially called green cards because of their distinct color.

Why Do I Need an Immigrant Visa?

Without an immigrant visa one will not be able to live or work in the United States.

A foreign resident who lives in the United States without permanent residency is considered out of status and ineligible for a number of benefits. Being out of status also makes it very difficult to get a good job.

Which Visa am I eligible for?

There are a few different kinds of immigrant visas. Each of these pathways have their benefits and draw backs. Before applying for a green card one should first look carefully into the different pathways to see which the best option for them is.

Every individual has a different case and will have a different pathway depending on their situation.

Below are the general categories for immigrant visas. Keep in mind that each category has a set of immigrant visas to it.

  • The Green Card Lottery – An option for potential immigrants who do not fit into the other categories. 50,000 visas are granted to people around the world through this program. They are randomly selected from a pool of eligible registrants. Registration occurs in October of every year.
  • Family-Based Visa – Relatives of permanent residents and citizens in the United States may be able to apply for this variety of visa. Relatives who are closer in relation to citizens of the United States (such as children or spouses) are given higher priority than other relatives. Cousins are not considered eligible for this visa type.
  • Employment-Based Visa – Many visas are granted to immigrants to fill a job in the United States. The process for obtaining this visa type takes a great deal of co-operation from an employer who must sponsor the immigrant. Wait times are generally rather limited for work-based immigrants.
  • Refugee Status – An immigrant may be able to obtain a Permanent Resident Card if they are able to show that if they were to return to the country of their origin it would result in undue persecution of that person.

Apply for a Visa!

Regardless of what kind of visa one wants, the first step to getting it is applying for the visa.

  • Green Card Lottery applicants register in the lottery in October
  • Family-based and employment-based immigrants petition the USCIS with a sponsor
  • Asylees or refugees apply for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident
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I’m Undocumented in the US. Can I apply for the Green Card Lottery? /articles/im-undocumented-in-the-us-can-i-apply-for-the-green-card-lottery/ /articles/im-undocumented-in-the-us-can-i-apply-for-the-green-card-lottery/#respond Mon, 05 Aug 2013 21:53:29 +0000 Overview

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for a Green Card through the Green Card Lottery. Although they may be able to apply during the registration period, they will eventually be disqualified when they apply for a visa.

Undocumented immigrants are people who are in the United States without proper immigration documents justifying their presence in the country.

There are two general varieties of undocumented immigrants:

  • Those who entered the United States without first obtaining a visa and
  • Those who entered the U.S. with a visa, but that document expired before they left the country.

For more information see our blog about what undocumented status is.

How the Green Card Lottery Works

The Green Card Lottery is an annual Green Card giveaway designed to diversify the numbers of immigrants coming to the U.S.

A Green Card is a type of visa that allows a person to come to the United States to live and work for as long as they want. Certain conditions must be met to maintain this status, however.

Green Card holders can eventually apply for citizenship. Citizenship is the ultimate goal for many Green Card holders in the U.S. and the restrictions that apply to Green Cards are non-existent with full citizenship.

Most people who apply for the Green Card Lottery do so outside of the United States through a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Suggested Pathway of Immigration

There is a general pathway that the United States government prefers immigrants to take on their way to the United States. Variation from this pathway often leads to the accumulation of unlawful presence.

Unlawful presence and undocumented status are linked together (the first being the act, the second being the status). With unlawful presence it makes it much more difficult to apply for immigration benefits in the U.S.

Below is a brief summary of the steps to immigration that the U.S. prefers:

  1. Application for a temporary visa
  2. Immigrant leaves the U.S. to apply for more permanent immigrant arrangements
  3. Application for a Green Card in the United States
  4. Move to the U.S.
  5. Apply for citizenship after statutory period of time.

Potential changes in Immigration Law

Recent talks and dealings in Washington, D.C have heralded the possibility of a dramatic change in immigration policy in the United States.

Much of the legislation in discussion has been focused on a pathway to permanent residency and a green card for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.

This means that within the next couple of years there could be a very serious shift in how undocumented immigrants are handled in the immigration system.

For more information how the legislation will affect the Green Card Lottery, please see our blog on the Immigration Reform.



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Immigration Departments in the Department of Homeland Security /articles/immigration-departments-in-the-department-of-homeland-security/ /articles/immigration-departments-in-the-department-of-homeland-security/#respond Thu, 20 Jun 2013 22:42:45 +0000 Until 2002 the matter of immigration to the United States was handled by an organization called Immigration and Naturalization Services, commonly referred to as INS. However, the US government decided to restructure immigration services by grouping all of the relevant organizations into one managing organization: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Along with this restructuring, the responsibilities of INS were subdivided and given to a variety of new agencies. By doing so, oversight of the organizations can be better managed and policies better executed and developed.

Winners of the Green Card Lottery will not have a great deal of interaction with these organizations at first, but in time most of their interaction with the US government will be through the following groups.

Below, we will summarize and discuss the various duties of the important immigration organizations under the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.


The USCIS—United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—is the organization concerned with the service aspects of the immigration processes. It is primarily concerned with handling immigration applications and the processing of forms.

Permanent Residency is granted solely by the USCIS. Green Card holders looking to become citizens must apply with the USCIS who will then analyze one’s application for eligibility.

The USCIS also handles interviews and grants work permits to visa applicants to the United States.

An interesting fact about the USCIS is that it is almost entirely funded by the fees it receives from immigrants. Taxpayers only provide a miniscule part of its budget.


The CBP—Customs and Border Protection—is much like every other customs organization from any other country in the world.

The CBP organizes and regulates the import and export of goods as well as all international trade to the United States. They are also responsible for the collection of duties and taxes upon entry to the United States.

The CBP has several enforcement powers and responsibilities that it conducts on a daily basis and is responsible for the apprehension of those individuals attempting to trespass United States regulation.

Customs and Border Protection is the largest law enforcement agency in the United States with more than 45,000 agents and it’s no wonder considering the US’ extremely large border.


ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement—is very similar to Customs and Border protection in that they are both responsible for law enforcement especially at the border, but the primary difference is when their duties are to be conducted.

While CBP takes a very active approach in detecting and intercepting violations of US law, ICE is more interested in conducting investigations designed to find the violators who slipped through the cracks. Their goal is also to improve the general workings of international flow in the United States.

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Green Cards and Consular Processing /articles/green-cards-and-consular-processing/ /articles/green-cards-and-consular-processing/#respond Wed, 19 Jun 2013 20:56:37 +0000 Consular processing is the steps that immigrants must take to get their Green Cards if they currently reside outside of the United States. It refers to negotiating immigration through a foreign consulate of the United States and processing one’s immigration application.

Immigrants who have already gained their Green Cards, but who are looking to renew or replace their Green Cards while outside of the US should use an entirely different process.

Below are the steps suggested by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for consular processing.

Immigration Petitions

An immigration petition is effectively a document asking the United States government if you can come to the United States to live permanently.

There are a number of different classes or categories in which you can apply for immigration including:

  • Immigration by family
  • Immigration by employment
  • Refugee status
  • Or Special immigration.

Regardless of which category you choose, you will still need to have a person in the United States file a petition for you at the USCIS office in the US.

Notification from the National Visa Center

When a visa petition is filed, there is a field on the receipt form which is called the priority date. This is effectively your place in line for immigration. If there are wait times you will have to wait until your priority number is up.

A priority number is considered up when the priority date is before the delay date of that visa on the State Department’s visa bulletin.

The National Visa Center will notify both the petitioner and the beneficiary of when the petition is received, when it is granted and when they are to attend the Immigration interview. It is very important to keep in touch with the National Visa Center during this time and inform them of any changes in your application.

Immigration Interview Appointment

After the priority date of the petition becomes current the National Visa Center will schedule an interview for you. The purpose of this interview is to give an immigration officer the chance to make sure that you are eligible for a visa.

It is important to bring supporting documentation for your application to this interview. This may include your passport, birth certificate, employment letters, petition receipts, and translations of those documents. All translations must include the original copy and the translation as well as an affidavit from the translator.

Receiving Your Green Card

If you are granted a visa, you will be given a visa package. This package of documents will be sealed and you cannot open it. When you arrive at a US port of entry the immigration officers there will open the package and examine your eligibility to enter the United States yet again.

After being admitted to the United States you will be sent your Green Card in the mail.

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Immigration Terms /articles/immigration-terms/ /articles/immigration-terms/#respond Thu, 13 Jun 2013 21:20:14 +0000 In the world of immigration there are a great many terms that are used to mean very specific things. These terms are called jargon. Although they do a very good job of describing specific situations, they often are misunderstood by people unfamiliar with them.

When applying for immigration benefits, one should always check out a glossary of terms (typically available somewhere on the government website) to make sure you know exactly what the form is referencing.

Below, we have some immigration terms that people often find confusing. We hope that by reading this article you might better understand the immigration system in the United States.

Green Card Lottery vs. Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa Lottery and the Green Card Lottery are the exact same thing. Both terms refer to an immigration program run by the US State Department in an attempt to further diversify the immigration numbers of the United States.

Really, the official term for the program is the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. However, most people call it the Green Card Lottery because it better expresses the ultimate result from the viewpoint of the applying immigrant. Immigrants in the program do not get diversity, but they do get green cards.

Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant

There is a very specific difference between immigrants and non-immigrants.

Immigrants are people from a country other than the United States who come to live in the US on a more-or-less permanent basis.

Non-immigrants are people from a country other than the United States who come to the US for a temporary and limited period of time. Non-immigrants generally must leave the United States after a specified period of time.

Permanent Resident Card vs. Green Card

The term Permanent Resident Card is the official name of the Green Card. They are, in essence, the exact same document. Permanent Resident Cards are green in color and that is why they are called Green Cards.

These documents are proof that an immigrant has the right to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Eventually these immigrants can apply for citizenship in the US.

Deportation vs. Removal

There is relatively no difference between the terms deportation and removal, they both refer to the action of the US government making a person from outside of the US leave the country.

For example, foreign nationals who are in the United States, but should not be will be put into removal proceedings and eventually deported. There are a number of reasons for why a person may be put into removal proceedings:

  • Violating the conditions of the visa that they used to come to the US.
  • Staying after the authorized period of stay specified by an immigration officer.
  • If a foreign national is found to have fraudulently applied for immigration benefits in the United States they will be put into removal proceedings and eventually deported.
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Civil Surgeons and the Green Card Lottery /articles/civil-surgeons/ /articles/civil-surgeons/#respond Wed, 12 Jun 2013 20:31:22 +0000 The Green Card Lottery process is slightly different from other immigration pathways to the United States, but there are many similarities, such as the use of a Civil Surgeon.

Knowing every part of the visa process to the United States better prepares immigrants for a smooth transition to their new home country.

Though you may not have to deal with a civil surgeon right away during the visa application process, by becoming familiar with them now, you can be better prepared for that step in your transition.

What is a Civil Surgeon?

A civil surgeon is a medical doctor in the country who has been qualified to conduct medical exams for United States immigration (USCIS). In order to become a Civil Surgeon, doctors must apply using the prospective civil surgeon process on USCIS website.

Civil surgeons must conform to certain guidelines in their examinations as according to the Center of Disease Control. This organization regulates the technical instructions for examinations, tuberculosis detection, vaccinations, assessment of mental disorders and substance abuse, syphilis and Hansen ’s disease and any further updates.

The primary job of a civil surgeon is to ensure that incoming immigrants will not pose health issues upon their entry to the United States.

When Will I Use a Civil Surgeon?

Every immigrant will at one point in their application will have to have a medical examination performed by a civil surgeon. The dual purpose for this requirement is to make sure that a person is healthy enough to become a permanent resident and that they won’t bog down the health system of the United States.

Reasonably healthy people with the usual battery of vaccinations can expect to be examined quickly and to be accepted.

How Do I Find a Civil Surgeon?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a convenient civil surgeon locator on their website. Immigrants looking for a civil surgeon in the united states can search by ZIP code (which will return the nearest civil surgeon) or can select a state (which will return all civil surgeons in that state.

What Kind of Documentation Will I Have to Give the Civil Surgeon?

When you reach the stage in your application where you need to visit a civil surgeon it is a good idea to gather your medical records in case the civil surgeon may need to see them. These records may include:

  • Vaccination records
  • Records of surgery
  • History of contagious diseases
  • Mental health histories

The interviewing USCIS officer will be able to more accurately tell you what information you will need to bring with you.

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Path to become US Legal Resident /articles/path-to-become-us-legal-resident/ /articles/path-to-become-us-legal-resident/#respond Tue, 07 May 2013 16:50:34 +0000 Legal residency is an immigration status in the United States which allows foreign nationals to live and work within the country on a more or less permanent basis. In most circumstances, immigrants follow the same pathways to permanent residency.

However, with the Green Card Lottery, there are a number of steps that can be passed by on the way to legal residency. In this article we’ll point out the shortcuts you can take advantage of if you register and win the Green Card Lottery.

Non-Immigrant Status

Most visas for non-immigrant status do not allow the holders to then immigrate while they have that status. Students, visitors and temporary workers must leave the country before they are allowed to attempt to immigrate fully to the United States.

H-1B visas are one status that allows non-immigrants to file for immigration while still in America, but these visas are incredibly popular and are quickly taken up. In 2013, all 65,000 available H-1B visas were issued within one week.

Green Card Lottery applicants need not concern themselves with non-immigrant visas.

Immigration Petitions

The first step to immigrating to the United States is filing an immigrant petition. These forms are filed by immigrants to effectively ask the government for permission to come to the country to live and work permanently.

There are two general types of immigration petitions:

  • Employment-Based: This type of petition is filed by employers on behalf of immigrants to allow them to come to the United States to work.
  • Family-Based: These petitions are filed by a US Permanent Resident or citizen on behalf of a foreign family member to request permission for them to enter and live in the United States.

After the petition is filed, there is often a waiting period that immigrants must undergo before they are allowed to immigrate. These waiting periods are often quite lengthy.

With the Green Card Lottery, the registration is effectively the petition to immigrate. If an applicant wins the lottery they can then apply for immigration and a green card.

Green Cards

Green cards are official US immigration documents that are issued to qualified applicants who have approved petitions. This document acts as proof of a person’s right to live, work and travel throughout the United States freely.

The application process for immigrating to the United States (and the issuance of a green card) can be accomplished one of two ways:

  • Consular processing, where an immigrant applies at a foreign consulate before entering the United States.
  • Adjustment of Status, where an immigrant applies at a USCIS office after they are already in the United States.

Green Card Lottery winners simply file the forms sent to them by the Kentucky Consular Center after they have won. If they are found to be qualified they will then be issued a green card.


After a certain period of time and with the completion of a few other requirements, permanent residents can then apply for citizenship in the United States.

With citizenship, a person cannot be deported unless it is found that their immigration documents or citizenship was granted fraudulently. Also, citizens have the right to vote.

Future Immigration Pathways

Currently, immigrants who reside in the United States without legal documentation are not allowed to immigrate legally (meaning receive a green card) unless they leave the country for a period of time.

However, this may soon change if certain immigration reform measures are passed in Congress. If this legislation is passed, there may be entirely new pathways to permanent residency for immigrants looking to live in the United States.

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Helpful Resources for Moving to the US /articles/helpful-resources-for-moving-to-the-us/ /articles/helpful-resources-for-moving-to-the-us/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2013 22:17:23 +0000 Moving to a different country is a big process and takes quite a bit of research to make sure that it goes smoothly. The period of time that you use to research your moving arrangements should be concurrent with your application to immigrate to the United States. It’s never too early to start!

Let’s talk about some of the salient aspects of moving to the United States.

Customs and Arrival

When you actually travel to the United States you will likely not take all of your things with you right away (see Moving Companies below) you may take a plane or boat or perhaps even drive over the border. However, regardless of how you travel you will encounter immigration officials when you cross the border and customs.

The immigration officials, likely employees of USCIS, will stamp your passport and ensure that you are allowed in the country based on your documentation.

Customs will examine the things that you brought with you to ensure that you have not brought anything illegally over the border. Items that may not be accepted are fruits or vegetables, large amounts of cash, or certain other items explicitly prohibited from entry to the United States.

Changing Your Address

When you move, just like moving within your previous country, you will have to adjust your address. Here are some people that you may need to contact to let them know what your new address will be:

  • Friends and family.
  • The USCIS, ICE or CBP.
  • The Post Office.
  • Your bank.
  • Any magazine or newspaper companies you have subscriptions with.
  • Former employers.

You may find that there are more people you need to contact, but let this list be a starting point.

The format for addresses in the United States is:

Your Name

(Street Number) (Street Name) (apartment number preceded by a “#”)

(City), (State) (A five digit number called a Zip Code)


Emmy Grant

1234 Street St. #123

Cityville, Statia 12345


Moving Companies

There are a great deal of professional movers throughout the country who can help you deliver your things to your new abode in a safe and orderly fashion. Their contact information can be obtained through an online search engine or the yellow pages of a local telephone book.

You can either pack the things yourself or have the movers pack them, then your possessions are shipped to their new location and either you or the movers can unpack the items.

There are several tricks to moving such as being sure to throw out as much as you can. With less items you don’t have to pay as much to move the things and there will be much less confusion in unpacking.


During the process of moving you may first visit your new home for house scouting. During this part you may decide to get a house based on the schools located nearby for your children, or for future children.

Make sure that upon arriving to the United States you register your children to begin school. School is compulsory, meaning that they must attend until a certain age.

Home Repairs

After you have settled into your new home some you may notice that there is some light damage. Perhaps it occurred during the confusion of the mood, maybe you missed it in your first examination, or maybe you were able to broker a better deal on the property if you said you would fix it yourself.

Regardless, it probably needs to be fixed. For smaller jobs you might be able to complete the repairs with only a little help from the local hard-ware store and you can do-it-yourself. However, if the project is a little bigger, you may need to hire contractors. Contractors are professionals such as plumbers, electricians or carpenters. They are otherwise known as “builders” in Britain.

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