How to prepare for a move
to a new city or town

People in the USA move each year for many reasons. They may want to:

  • Find a new or better home 
  • Move closer to family 
  • Take a new job opportunity 
  • Transfer job locations 
  • Enroll in an educational program 

The majority of people in the USA move to a new city within the same county or state they live in. Some choose to move across states or outside the country. 

Sometimes immigrants and refugees don’t get to put much thought into where they first live in the USA. Find resources and tips on how to move to a new city or town. 

Learn about the city or town

Research the area to consider your options. If you can, explore the city and neighborhood in person or research it online. Talk to people who live there and ask about their experiences.  

Use the following tools to get an overview of cities and neighborhoods. 

Things to consider

 Look for the following details as you decide where to move.  

  • Cost of living
  • Availability of housing
  • Job opportunities
  • Quality of schools and university options
  • Friends and family nearby
  • Safety and crime rates
  • Services for immigrants & cultural centers
  • Diversity and people from your home country
  • Places of worship
  • Childcare options and cost   
  • Healthcare providers
  • Public transportation and walkability
  • Grocery stores and ethnic foods
  • Accessibility for those with disabilities
  • Culture and politics  
  • Community events and recreation
  • Weather and climate

The cost of living is an important thing to consider. It is how much money you need to live comfortably in a city. Cost of living compares how much people earn on average in a city to how much they have to pay for housing, goods, and services. These can all vary by city which affects the cost of living.

Considering all of these things can also help you know what other things you might need for your move. If there is no public transportation, you might need to buy a car. If the weather is different, you might need to buy new clothing.

You can search your new city in FindHello to see what kind of services and resources are available for immigrants in the area. 

Moving tips 

Moving to a new city or town can be stressful. Here are some helpful things to remember.

Give notice to your landlord. If you are renting, you must give notice at least 30-60 days before moving. Be sure to follow the lease rules.

Talk to your caseworker. If you are getting help from a resettlement agency, tell your caseworker you are planning to move.  

Find a place to live. Learn more about finding housing

Create a moving budget. Make a list of expenses and apply for moving assistance if you need help paying for moving costs.  

Sell or donate unwanted items online or at a thrift store near you.  

Give yourself plenty of time to pack. Collect packing supplies beforehand such as moving boxes, packing tape, and supplies. Label your boxes. Find packing tips and save money.

Set up utilities at your new home. Schedule things such as your electricity, gas, internet, phone, cable, water, trash, and recycling to stop at your current home and start at your new home.

Set up your doctor and pharmacy if you or a family member has any immediate medical needs as soon as you will arrive. 

Forward your mail. Change your address with the post office online or in person. 

  • USCIS: You must update your address with USCIS within 10 days of moving if you applied for or received an immigration benefit, such as a green card. 
  • EOIR & ICE: You must file a change of address form with EOIR and ICE within 5 days of moving if you are in immigration court proceedings.
  • Social Services: You must notify your local Department of Social Services that you moved if you receive government benefits, including SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid.

Download a printable moving checklist.

Get settled in 

Adjusting to a new city or town can take time. Be sure to think about the following as you get settled in your new home.

Apply for a new driver’s license and update your car registration. Be sure to also update your address with your car insurance provider.  

Enroll your children in school

Change your voter registration if you are a U.S. citizen.

Get involved in your community. Join community events in your neighborhood, local cultural center, place of worship, recreation center, and public library.  

Reach out for community support. Use our FindHello app to search for organizations and services in your city.

FindHello Search
Find help near you

FindHello is an app you can use to look for help near you. It shows a map and a list of services for immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented people in the USA. Search for legal help, English classes, healthcare, housing support, and more.

Start your search

The information on this page comes from trusted sources, including USA.gov and move.org. We aim to offer information in plain language that is easy to understand and updated regularly. This page is for guidance. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice.