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Moving to Chicago from abroad: a brief guide

There are millions of gorgeous places in the world. But one of them is superb. Welcome to Big Onion, or My Kind Of Town, or City of Big Shoulders! Or simply Chicago! If you are moving to Chicago from abroad, you will certainly feel uncertain. But we can help and give you advice on what documents you need, how to choose the best movers and storage Skokie and other Chicago neighborhoods can offer, how to enjoy the city. Of course, we are not the know-it-alls, but this brief guide will hopefully give you a sense of the basics. 

How to choose movers for moving to Chicago from abroad?

Obviously, this is not an ordinary move from, let’s say, Evanston to Skokie. Nor is it an interstate move within the U.S. borders. You will be relocating to Chicago from abroad and that makes everything more difficult. When you consider all the costs for preparing the move, packing supplies Chicago agencies can charge you, shipping the belongings, unpacking, etc., the price might seem exorbitant. Not to mention other expenses, such as plane tickets, food, cleaning services, and so on. 

For that and many more reasons that wouldn’t even cross our minds, the essential step is to hire a reputable moving company. To succeed in that task, you need excellent research skills, an eye for details, and a great deal of persistence. Compare the offers for moving to Chicago as an expat in several agencies. Pick one that is the most suitable. Mind the weight and volume of your possessions, as well as the mileage. The prices are mostly based on those two criteria. 

Another important thing to mention is that you ought to have good insurance. No matter how reputable the moving agency is, unpredictable issues might appear. And your belongings can end up damaged or completely broken. Usually, reliable movers offer insurance packages to their clients. And if you pay for more service, you might also get a discount. 

Beautiful buildings and river in Chicago
Chicago has amazing architecture and breathtaking scenery.

What about a visa and documents?

This is a really complex question. And we have the worst answer ever. It depends. However, we won’t stop here without trying to elaborate on that. 

First, you have to know your goal. Are you going there to live or to stay for a short time? Choosing the right type of visa depends on that. If you are going to stay for a long time and live there, you need an immigrant visa. The non-immigrant one is for those who are staying in the USA temporarily. Supposed that you are relocating to Chicago from abroad to stay for a long time, then you will have to get the first type. In order to be eligible for an immigrant visa, you need to be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or legal entity, such as your employer. 

You will have to apply for a visa and schedule an appointment or interview in the U.S. Embassy. Some necessary documents include:

  • a valid passport with a clear photo
  • a correctly filled-out application form
  • proofs of the reasons why you are moving to Chicago from abroad
  • bank account details and reports

Pay attention as this is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list of the essential things. It is your responsibility to collect all the required documents and submit them. And you should not try to skip something and avoid the rules. The authorities are extremely strict when it comes to issuing visas and not to mention citizenship. 

Where to live after moving to Chicago from abroad?

There are almost 80 neighborhoods in Chicago. Each and every one of them is special and has its own beat. Depending on the reason why you are relocating to Chicago from abroad, you can choose one among the wide array of neighborhoods. There are also affordable Chicago neighborhoods for those who are not so well-off. And if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t get desperate. When there are so many places, you can easily change the flat or house. 

Affordable houses for those moving to Chicago from abroad
The architecture of Chicago does not only boast skyscrapers but also some nice one-story houses.

The best Chicago neighborhoods

  1. Some neighborhoods on North Side and Lakefront are near the city center. They are calm and family-friendly. Lincoln Park and Lakeview are the most popular. Besides, Lincoln Square and Roscoe Village are the best choices if you are looking for a house.
  2. If you want to live in the heart of the corporate world, then choose Loop in Downtown Chicago. Normally, you will need lots of money to cover the bills and rent.
  3. Logan square on West Side is the most popular with newcomers as it is a bit cheaper than the rest. 
  4. In case you are a student, go for Hyde Park on South Side. The University of Chicago is situated there and thousands of students live there. 

Cheaper places to live after moving to Chicago from abroad

Chicago is also surrounded by other towns and villages which belong to the so-called Chicagoland metropolitan area. There are numerous reasons why people leave Chicago, but that doesn’t mean they don’t leave close to it. As you are moving to Chicago as an expat, your budget might be a bit on the low. So, it is a good idea to consider living in Evanston, Glenview, or Des Plaines, etc.

Chicago theater
There is a lot of art and entertainment that you simply cannot miss.

How to adapt after relocating to Chicago from abroad?

First and foremost, make friends! Meet your neighbors and colleagues. They can give you valuable tips on how to use the transport, where to buy fresh fruit, or have some really tasty coffee in the morning. As you are moving to Chicago from abroad, there is no chance you can know all these things in advance. Also, you can join some free time clubs. Don’t reject invitations to the theater, cinema, home parties, etc. Be friendly and stay calm! 

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