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How to settle in USA from India in 2024 ! Complete Guide

Updated on 22 March, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Leading the world financially, politically, and industrially, America is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. All those who aspire growth want to head to this country,  dreaming about their bright future and with a quest on how to settle in the USA. With even bright prospects in higher education, the USA grabs the attention of futuristic Indians who want to ensure a stable future in this land. Well, this explains the interest in how to settle in the USA from India

Read More: Study in the USA from India


What should one do before moving to the USA?

Moving to the US is exciting for many international students. Experiencing a different culture, visiting new places, studying in a practical learning-based environment, and living a better lifestyle attract students globally. 

However, there are certain factors that you must know beforehand so that you do not face any difficulty in adjusting to the US when you reach there.  They are: 

1. Plan your budget 

Planning your budget makes it easier to manage your expenses after reaching the country. The first thing one must do is to check the living expenses of the city where you choose to stay.  Once you know the living expenses, you can plan your finances accordingly by arranging funds from your family or taking a student loan. 

2. Pick an affordable place to live 

The cost of living in the US varies from one city to another. While finding a place to live, you must consider these two factors: affordable housing in the area you choose to live and how far it is from your university campus. 

Choosing an affordable place that is not too far from the university can create problems as it can cause more transport spending. One might also struggle to reach college on time. 

USA Free Course

The USA hosts the largest number of international students from across the world. Over the past few years, it has become one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad. Reasons such as best-ranked institutions, excellent support facilities, flexible academic environment, and cultural diversity contribute to making it the most preferred destination amongst students planning to study abroad.

3. Learn about the traffic rules of the country

The traffic laws in the US are more strict than Indian traffic laws.  

Even crossing a ‘No Crossing’ sign can cost a lot. 

Although most American universities teach traffic rules to new students, it is better to know them in advance. The US driving direction is also different from India. 

4. Get familiar with the US Metric System 

The metric system in the US is entirely different from the metric system of India. Units of measurement in India, such as kilometers, kilos, and degrees Celsius, get replaced by miles, pounds, and Fahrenheit. 

Initially, students might face difficulty understanding the US metric system. Therefore, it is better to learn and practice the metric system of the country before moving there. 

What should one do after moving to the USA? 

Now that you have arrived in the US, you must take care of plenty of things. Some of these things include: 

1. Get the printout of form I94

Form I94 is a document that keeps a record of your arrival and departure in the country. It includes the terms of your admission- your legal status, the period you can stay in the country, and your expected departure date. 

Getting the printout of the form from the Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security is the first thing to do after arriving in the US, as the document acts as proof of legal stay in the country. You should take its printout and keep it safe until you get a local state id or driving license. 

2. Get a printout of the employment verification letter (EVL)

An employment verification letter is required to apply for a job at a US-based organization. If you don’t have the EVL, you should ask the HR of your previous organization to provide you with the same. 

3. Get yourself a mobile connection

A mobile connection will be one of the necessities once you get into the US. There are multiple network service providers in the US, like Verizon, AT&T, LycaMobile, and T-Mobile. 

To choose a suitable network provider, you must check the data plans provided by each of them and pick one that matches your everyday mobile usage. 

4. Get your driving license

Another important thing that you should do after reaching the US is to apply for a driving license. The first step in applying for the same involves visiting your nearest DMV center to register for the driving license test. 

After your driving test gets scheduled, you must get a medical examination from your nearest emergency center before giving the learning test. 

Once you get the learning driving license, you need to learn/practice the rules and schedule an appointment for the driving test. If you clear the driving test, you get a driving license. 

Job Opportunities for Indian students in the USA

Being one of the leading nations in the world, the United States of America offers a wide range of job opportunities for Indian students. 

The shortage of critical skill sets in the US job market has caused a high demand for skilled individuals in the country. Graduates in engineering, healthcare, agriculture, real estate, film production, retail sector, and computers & information technology are highly popular in the US.

There are also part-time jobs for Indians in the USA, which they can do along with their studies. They are allowed to work on-campus in the country for up to 20 hours/per week. 

How is Life in the USA? 

Being the third-largest country in the world with a population of 325 million, the US is one of the most culturally diverse countries globally. The country provides a unique experience to international students from all over the world. Some of the factors that make the US an interesting place to live are:

1. American culture

Adjusting to the American culture might seem like a challenge at first, but once you become familiar with the country’s customs and traditions, you will be able to adapt well. Some of the major values that the country holds close are independence, equality, directness, and informality. 

2. Language

As English is a primarily-spoken language in the US, the country is a preferred study destination for English speakers globally. Other than English, Spanish, Chinese, French, and German are the other common languages

3. Religion

America is well-known for its religious freedom. The citizens of the country practice every known religion in the world. As per the report by Pew Research Center, only  23% of Americans distinguish themselves as non-religious. 

These are houses of worship in most American cities, enabling people to continue their religious practice.  

4. Sports

Sports are an essential part of American society. Whether it’s about participating in various ones or enjoying while watching them, Americans are passionate about sports. Some of the most popular sports in the country are football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. 

Checklist to move to the USA from India

Though most requirements are covered in the section- what one should do before moving to the US–other necessary requirements to move to the US from India are:

1. Documentation or Paper Work

a) Passport Corrections before VISA application and stamping

Your passport is a necessary travel document for studying abroad. Therefore, you must ensure that all the information on your passport is accurate. 

Check details such as your name and surname and the details of your family members. For example- In most cases, even after filling in the correct information in the registration form, the surname is left blank, or the spelling of your name is not correct. 

b) Finish your Aadhar Formalities

The aadhar card is necessary for all the finance and identity-related documentation processes in India. 

Before you travel to the US, make sure you register your phone number while enrolling for the Aadhar card so that you can receive the OTP in case of any changes. 

c) Complete or update your Bank Accounts’ KYC

Another important thing is to ensure all the documentation of your bank account is completed, and your KYC is updated before you move to the US. 

If there are multiple accounts under your name, you can switch to a single account while staying in the US. 

d) Keep your degrees and educational transcripts

It is important to keep your educational transcripts and degree certificates handy before moving to the US. If you don’t have these documents from your previous university, you should contact the responsible faculty. 

Other documents 

The documents you will need to apply for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are as follows- 

For Undergraduate degree 

1. Passport

2. Resume

3. Marksheets

4. High school diploma or equivalent

5. Letters of Recommendation

6. English Language Proficiency Test Scores (IELTS, TOEFL, CAE)

7. Entrance Exam Scores – SAT/ ACT

8. Statement of Purpose

9. Work Experience Letters

10. Extra-curricular activities certificate 

11. A copy of the university application confirmation 

12. Proof of finances 

For Postgraduate Degree  

1. Passport 

2. Resume

3. Transcripts 

4. Marksheets 

5. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent

6. Letters of Recommendation (LOR)

7. Entrance Exam Scores- GRE/ GMAT/ MCAT/ LSAT

8. English Language Proficiency Test Scores (IELTS, TOEFL, CAE)

9. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

10. Work Experience Letters (if any)

11. A copy of the university application confirmation 

12. Proof of finances 

Communication and Mobile Applications

1. Verify your mobile number for OTP needs 

OTP is needed for bank account verification, updates in the Aadhar card, and Income tax logins. Before you plan to move to the US, make sure that your mobile number is verified for each of these OTP needs. 

2. Carry a sim card that works in the US for your OTP needs

Make sure you buy an international roaming plan or prepaid connection pack to get SMS for OTPs in the US. 

3. Install mobile banking apps in advance 

The mobile banking apps are not available in the local app stores in the US. Therefore, it is better that you install them beforehand. 

Even if you find them on the app store, you might not be able to install them as they ask for verification. Therefore, it is better to install these apps while you are in India. 

Visas Available for Migration in the USA

The types of visas for Indian students in the US are 

1. Work Visas

The job market in the US has a popular demand for skilled professionals seeking jobs in the country and wishing to get a Green Card through employment. The types of work visas available for Indian students are 

EB-1 visa – For priority workers 

a) Individuals skilled in science, arts, business, technology, and education 

b) Professors and researchers 

c) Multinational managers 

EB-2 visa- For individuals with exceptional ability 

a) Professionals holding advanced degrees

b) Skilled in science, business, and arts 

EB-3 – Skilled and unskilled workers

a) Family-based immigration 

There are several pathways by which immigrants can get sponsored by family members in the US. Some of these pathways are 

i) the petition for Alien Relative (I-130) 

ii) the Affidavit of Support (I-864)

iii) Petition for Alien Fiancé (I-129F)

b) Study permits

To study in the US as a full-time international student, you will either need an F1 or an M1 visa. Both of them are non-immigrant visas that allow you to study in the US. 

The requirements to get an F1 or an M1 visa are as follows – 

i) You must be enrolled as a full-time student in an academic education program, a vocational program, or a language training program.

ii) Be selected into a school authorized by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

iii) Must be familiar with the English language. 

iv) Have enough finances to support yourself during the entire duration of your study program. 

v) Have a residence abroad. 

Eligibility criteria to get a green card in the USA

A Green Card is an official document that shows that an individual has permanent residency (PR)  in the US. It is issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to all permanent residents as evidence that they are authorized to live and work in the country. 

If you are a permanent resident in the US, you must have a valid Green Card. There are various pathways to get a PR in the USA for Indians. You are eligible for the same if you come under the following: 

1. Through family 

If your relative is a US citizen, you are eligible to apply for a Green card while you are in the country.  To be precise, if you fall under the following categories:

An immediate relative of a US citizen- 

a) Spouse 

b) Unmarried child under the age of 21

c) Parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old

As a Special Immigrant 

You are eligible to apply for a green card if you fall under the following category

a) A religious worker who is a member of a religious denomination whose purpose is coming to the US to work for a non-profit organization.

b) Juvenile seeking protection from a juvenile court because you have been abused or neglected by a parent. 

c) Afghanistan or Iraq national who has worked under the US government. 

d) An international broadcaster who has come to the US as a member of the media for the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) or a USAGM grantee. 

e) An employee of an international organization or NATO-6 (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). 

2. Through Registry

If you have been living in the US since before Jan 1, 1972, you are eligible to apply for a Green Card.

Comparison between USA and India

There is a big difference in the lifestyle of Indians and Americans. Here, we have picked the major factors on the basis of which we can compare the two countries. 

1. Cost of living 

The overall cost of living in an expensive Indian city like Mumbai is around INR 25,000 per month. 

On the other hand, the cost of living in lavish cities in the US, such as New York, is around INR 5,39,470. Thus the living expenses in the US are far more than in India. 

2. Education system

The education system in India is more strict than in the US. In the US, the syllabus is systematically organized and does not aim to put too much pressure on the students. The schools in the US focus on students’ overall growth by including fun-filled activities and projects in the curriculum. 

3. Language

In India, both English and Hindi are considered to be official languages. However, Hindi is a more dominant language. More than 70% of people in India speak and understand Hindi. Therefore, it is difficult to move to the country if you are unfamiliar with Hindi. 

Whereas in the US, English is widely spoken. It can be an advantage for English speakers but not someone unfamiliar with the language.

4. Household costs 

Hiring house help is cheaper in India than in the US. Most middle-class families are able to afford to hire a maid or even a driver. However, in the US, you can’t afford to hire someone to cook or clean your household as the labor cost is exceptionally high. 

5. Electricity consumption 

In general, the electricity consumption of the US is comparatively higher than in India. To be precise, an average Indian uses 96% less electricity than an American does. Therefore, the electricity bills of a typical household in the US cost more than that of India. 

To conclude, both India and the US have their pros and cons. After knowing them in detail, you can figure out which is a better option for you. 

How can I get Citizenship in the US?

The process through which Indians can get US citizenship is called Naturalization. To become a US citizen, you must: 

1. Be in possession of a Permanent Resident Green Card for at least five years. 

2. You Must renew your Permanent Resident Card before applying for citizenship if your card has already expired or will expire within six months of applying. 

Meet certain eligibility requirements such as: 

1. You are at least 18 years old when you apply. 

2. You can read, write, and speak basic English. 

Go through the 10-step naturalization process that involves: 

1. Determining if you are eligible to become an American citizen. 

2. Fill out form N-400- the application for naturalization and make a free account to submit your form online.

3. Taking the US Naturalization Test and giving a personal interview

Important Requirements to move to the US from India

The candidates who intend to move to the USA from India must fulfill certain criteria to be fit to travel to this country and get Visa approval quickly. 

The criteria are:

1. A completely accurate and verified passport

Checking the passport for all the accurate information about the applicant is essential before it is sent for stamping for the Visa. An accurately checked passport plays a key role in getting Visa approval easily for travelling to the USA.

2. International Driving Permit 

If an applicant is looking forward to settling in the USA, he/she should learn proper driving through a good source. Once the driving course is complete, this individual should not delay getting an International Driving Permit, which comes in handy during their stay in this country.

3. Completion of Aadhaar formalities

Indians looking forward to settling in the USA should also complete their Aadhaar formalities so that their passport and Visa application aren’t blocked for any reason during the immigration procedure.

4. Completing and updating the bank’s KYC details

An individual planning to settle down in the USA should close all the DEMAT accounts in the country and try to update all the KYC details with all the banks they work with. This helps in clearing the Visa procedure easily.

5. File and complete the Income Tax formalities

If the individual has some tax liabilities pending, then completing all these are important for a seamless acceptance of a Visa and an easy migration process.

6. Providing a health proof

Because of the current situation and in general, the candidate needs to provide relevant health documents along with the Visa application.

7. Appointment letter or admission proof

If a candidate is looking to settle in the USA for higher studies, they will have to provide admission proof and fee receipt as the basic requirement for getting the Visa. If the person intends to work there, then the aspirant should show financial proof and some legal proof of the business starting there, while a job holder should submit the appointment letter as proof of employment. 

Read More: Part-time job options for international students

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Why should you settle in the US?

There are lots of reasons why people consider settling in the USA to fulfil. It is a country that welcomes visitors from across the world. Being one of the most developed countries in the world, it provides some great reasons to settle there permanently. 

Some of the prominent reasons are:

1. Excellent education

This is no hidden fact that the US provides a superlative quality of education to students there. This country is home to some of the topmost universities and colleges of the world, providing all the varied and à la mode courses. 

2. Better health facilities

The USA is the leader even in having the most extraordinary health facilities in the world. Almost all the great medical innovations happened in the USA. Some of the most excellent practitioners lead medical teams in most US hospitals. This ensures that the individuals getting settled in the USA will get access to top-class medical facilities whenever required.

3. Better job facilities

The aspirants desiring to settle in the USA get many job opportunities there. For applicants of every genre, there are a whole lot of opportunities and work options that ultimately leads to a better and more stable lifestyle in this nation.  

4. Economic conditions 

The economy of the US is so large that it is often considered an economic superpower, which is why it attracts many individuals towards it. 

5. The living space

America has a wide living space allotted for residential areas, ensuring a large area per person on its land. 

6. Exquisite culinary culture

US is considered a cultural melting pot with people settling across the globe. This makes the culinary culture of the USA very diverse and rich. This country blends tastes from all over the world and serves food from all around the world. The best part is that you have the most budget friendly eatery options and some extremely lavish restaurants.

7. Wonderful nature

USA is a land of natural beauty that is worth enjoying. This country has incredible green spaces, lovely valleys, mesmerizing hills, bountiful oceans, cascading waterfalls, and lots more, attracting travelers from across the world to explore them.

8. Ease of transportation

Transportation and conveyance have never been a problem in America. It has wide, highly developed roads suitable for all kinds of vehicles, timely metros providing services round the clock in many metro cities, and even flights ensuring a secure and rapid transposition in the country. 

9. The welcoming crowd

The US crowd is never hostile to its visitors. A friendly ambiance, cooperation, and an active society conducive to mingling that welcomes all kinds of cultures is a perk of America that couldn’t be overlooked. 

8. Better lifestyle 

A person intending to settle in the USA can enjoy a fabulous lifestyle in this country. From high paying jobs to better education and good social life along with comfortable living space adds to the benefits of staying in this country.

Read More: Cost of studying in USA || Masters in USA

Types of Immigrations

Immigration basically refers to the status of an individual when they travel to a certain country. According to the intention of travelling to America, the USA has four categories of immigration. Immigrants travelling to the US can fall into one of these categories and are provided the Visa only according to their status of immigration. 

Four types of immigrants in the USA are:

1. United State Citizen

Even if an individual is born and resides in another country, they can hold United State Citizenship. This requires one’s parents to keep the US citizenship either by birth or by staying there for a long time, getting married to a US citizen, or having a child in this nation. Such individuals must provide proof of their relationships, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. Once these documents have been verified, these individuals receive US citizenship that allows them to stay in the country without renewing their visas, pay taxes and cast votes.

2. Lawful Permanent Resident Status 

The Lawful Permanent Resident Status (LPR) is the people who get a US nationality card, better known as a Green Card, after spending some years in the country. If these individuals stay in the country for three or four years without a break, they can apply for a Green Card and receive the status of LPR. Generally, students who travel to America to study abroad or people intending to work there are categorized under this section.

3. Temporary Visa status 

These kinds of immigrants are the ones who visit America temporarily and have no intention of settling in the country after the Visa period gets over. Generally, tourists and entrepreneurs are included in this category. The validity of this Visa ranges between a month to three years. 

4. Undocumented immigrants

These immigrants are the ones who enter the country without any legal documents or visas. Such immigrants have considered illegal people staying on board who are normally deported by the officials immediately. The individuals who stay in the country after their visa expires are also counted in this category.

The USA is certainly a land of immense prosperity and opportunities. And this is the reason there is a place for everyone who adores the country and aspires to visit or even settle there permanently. From students looking forward to enriching educational life and prospective career in the country to entrepreneurs and service persons admiring the corporate energy there, the opportunities in the US are alluring.


In conclusion, settling in the USA from India in 2024 involves a comprehensive understanding of the immigration process, a well-thought-out financial plan, and a readiness to adapt to a new cultural and social environment. This complete guide underscores the importance of thorough preparation, from obtaining the appropriate visa to securing employment and housing, as well as navigating the legal and healthcare systems. Additionally, building a support network and embracing the diverse culture of the USA are crucial for a smooth transition. The journey from India to the USA is not just a physical move but a significant life change that offers opportunities for personal and professional growth. With the right preparation and mindset, Indians can successfully settle in the USA, contributing to and benefiting from the dynamic and diverse society that defines the American experience.

Read More: Best countries to study abroad for Indian students || Study in USA

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FAQs about settling down in the USA

How do I study and settle down in the USA?

When the candidates intend to study in the USA, they have to get admission to a university and apply for the visa with proof of fee receipt and admission documents. After completing their education, when the student gets a job, they can apply for a work Visa and settle down at this location.

Is the USA safe for Indian students?

The modern outlook of America and the welcoming nature of the people here make it possible for people of myriad nationalities to adjust to the country easily. This makes it a safe location for the students of India as well.

What is the cost of studying in the USA?

The cost of studying in the USA depends on the course and genre the student opts for. But on average:

1. English language studies$700 — $2000 a month 

2. Community colleges$6000 — $20,000 per year 

3. Undergraduate Bachelor degree$20,000 — $40;000 per year 

4. Graduate programs $20,000 — $45,000 per year 

5. Doctoral degree$28,000 — $55,000 per year 

What is the cost of living in the USA?

The estimated cost of living in the USA is around $10,000 – $18,000 per year, which makes it $1000 – #1500 per month.

How to settle in the USA with your family?

If one of the family members is already a citizenship holder of this country, the other close family members, like siblings, spouses, children, and parents, get a green card easily. But if the entire family intends to settle together, an application for the visa and the formalities followed should be made accordingly.

Which is the best place to settle in the USA?

Though America as a whole is a wonderful place to settle down, some of the locations are most suitable for new settlers. These are:

1. Miami, Florida 

2. Atlanta, Georgia 

3. Indianapolis, Indiana

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

5. West Chester, New York

How much time does it take to get USA visa approval?

If all the documents are provided properly, the visa approval process for the USA takes around 3-5 weeks which can only be rushed if there is an emergency.

Which category of visa is easy to get?

The B category visa, that is basically for the ones intending to travel to this country temporarily for either business or travel purpose gets comparatively easier approval than other categories.

Why is America considered the best country for start-ups and entrepreneurship?

The basic reasons why America is considered the best nation for start-ups and entrepreneurs are:

1. This country embraces innovations and new ideas wholeheartedly.

2. The immigrants coming with an entrepreneurship idea are provided visa easily 

3. The Americans love international brands and their ideas

How long can I extend my Visa, or what is the time period an emergency Visa is valid for?

At times of emergency or if the person’s visa expires, they should opt for an emergency visa. This lasts for a maximum of 90 days after which reapplication is required.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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