Moving to a new city

Moving to a new city, photo copyright Adam Awad.
Moving to a new city, photo copyright Adam Awad.

In the United States, people choose to move to a new city for many reasons. One of the main reasons people move to a new place is for a better job.

All newcomers have the freedom to move when they choose. However, moving is a big decision for you and your family. If you are receiving any benefits from the state (such as cash, food stamps, or healthcare), you will have to re-apply for all of these benefits when you move to a new state, and it will be up to the new state to decide what benefits you will receive.

Questions to think about before moving to a new city

In order to help you decide whether moving is a good idea, you should take time to think about why you want to move and if you will be able to find better opportunities when you move. Here are some questions you can think about before you move:

Logistical questions

  • Is housing available in your new community?
  • How much will an apartment or house cost in the new city?
  • Do you need to sell the furniture and other items in your current house/apartment?
  • Is there public transportation or will you need to obtain a driver’s license?
  • Are there nonprofits that provide services to migrants or refugees in the new community? You can search the RCO’s local resource database to find organizations in your new city. 
  • What is the weather like in your new community?  Do you have clothes for this new environment?

Work questions

  • What jobs are available in the new city?
  • If you are accepting a job because it pays more, have you considered the cost of living in that new city?
  • How do you quit your current job?

Education questions

  • Are adult education and ESL courses available in your new community?
  • What is the quality of the public schools in the new community?

Family and friends questions

  • Do you have family or friends in the new community? Will you be able to stay with them?
  • Do you know anyone else in the new community? How will you meet friends to help you?
  • Will you have child care in the new community? What will it cost?

Important things to do when you move

If you do decide to move, make sure you do the following:

1) If you are a refugee, be sure to tell your caseworker you are going to move.

2) If you have a lease on your apartment, make sure you follow the rules of the lease. You probably need to give your landlord at least 30 days notice in order to get back your security deposit. On a piece of paper, write that you will move and sign it with your name and the date.

3) File a a change of address form with US Citizenship and Immigration Services by printing this form and mailing it to USCIS. You can also complete this form online.

4) You also need to change your address with the US post office. You need to do this to make sure you receive any important papers or mail. You can either use the online form, or you can go to a local post office and complete the form. If you do it online, you will be charged $1 to prove your ID by using a credit or debit card. If you do it at the post office, you will need to bring ID with you, such as a driver’s license, but there will be no charge.

5) If you have furniture you cannot bring with you, try to sell it. You can have a garage sale.

6) Tell any friends you have made that you are moving. They might know someone in the new city who can help you. Make sure you give them your phone number and email address and ask for theirs in case you need help after you move.

7) If possible, find a place to live in your new city before you move. You can research places on Craigslist. But, do NOT give anyone money through Craigslist. Wait until you can see the apartment in person.

8) If you need help or are not sure what to do, you can email: info@therefugeecenter.org and we will try to help answer your questions.