Moving to another country is challenging and may be a little scary for anyone, especially for a family or individual who was forced to leave their home due to war or persecution. The entire family has to learn new laws, languages, customs and systems to find a job, make friends at school, or simply go grocery shopping or commute around town. Here are a few tips to help our newcomer neighbors adjust to life in the United States.
1. Know your rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident
As a permanent resident, you are expected to respect and be loyal to the United States and to obey the laws. Being a permanent resident also means that you have new rights. Most importantly, you have the right to pursue happiness, justice, and self-sufficiency. A list of your rights can be found here.
2. Be sure you have all of your important documents
Permanent residents are issued a valid permanent resident card as proof of legal status in the United States. If you’re a permanent resident who is 18 years or older, you must carry this as proof of your legal status. Keep important documents you brought from your home country in a safe place. These documents include your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate, diplomas showing that you have graduated from high school or college, and certificates that show you have special training or skills.
3. Research healthcare
People in the U.S. pay for their own medical care. Medical care is expensive, so many people buy health insurance. You should get health insurance for yourself and your family as soon as possible. If you do not have health insurance, you may be able to get federal or state healthcare assistance. Check with the public health department of your state for more assistance or research healthcare options at healthcare.gov. If you need urgent medical care, you can go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
4. Remember education is the key
The United States offers educational opportunities for both children and adults. Make sure that your children are enrolled for school (all children from age 5 to 18 are granted free education in America), and if an older child or you are interested in receiving education, look into your options for higher education at reduced costs.
5. Learn what to do in case of emergency
In the United States, you can call 911 on any telephone to get emergency help. Call 911 to report a fire, report a crime in progress, receive emergency medical help, and report suspicious activities such as screams, calls for help, or gunshots.
As a new resident of the United States, newcomers may also need help finding work, searching for a place to live, or learning English. LSS/NCA, and other local organizations can help. If you are a refugee or asylee in need of assistance, contact us at (703)698-5026 or click here for a full instructional guide for new immigrants.