Moving to California in 4 weeks.

(32 Posts)
ChinaRose Tue 31-Oct-17 09:36:17

House is under offer (for the second time 😠), both cars sold, my visa is ready to go after a 3 month application with the US embassy, I've started changing addresses to my BIL address in CA, a lot of things boxed up already. We still haven't found a temporary apartment in San Diego just yet. Currently house hunting In Carlsbad area but can't do much till we complete here. I'm sleepless and irritable. Taking anti anxiety medicine which is helping some what. We have 2 DC under 3. So is anyone out In California? Any words of advice? DH will be in his new role straight away, I'll be a sahm for now. We've been waiting months for this move and it's finally starting to materialise but it is SO stressful. Mostly associated with our house sale here.

OP’s posts: |
OlennasWimple Tue 31-Oct-17 21:12:49

I'm not in CA, but just to say hang in there! Moving is stressful, moving overseas is immensely stressful. Hopefully it will all come together for you shortly [tea]

QueenCity Thu 02-Nov-17 04:02:52

With you on the stress front! We are moving to Charlotte NC in a few weeks. Hoping we'll get a completion date for our house tomorrow. People keep asking if they can do anything to help but it just feels like I need more brain power to slot all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together properly!

We will book temporary accommodation once we have a confirmed arrival date. We were planning to stay in an Airbnb. There were lots available last time we looked. However as our visas took so long and we are now going to need the accomodation over Christmas there is nothing available now!

Good luck with your move!

barkingfly Thu 02-Nov-17 04:22:05

It is a beautiful area and i think you will like it. San Diego County is separated from the rest of Southern California by a military base, so it does not have the same sprawl. You have beaches, local mountains, arguably the world's best zoo, good schools, et cet.

noodlezoodle Thu 02-Nov-17 05:01:10

I moved to California 5 years ago, and I love it. (SF, not San Diego - you will have better weather!).

An international move is incredibly stressful, I just gritted my teeth and kept saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming" to myself, and it really did all get done in the end. Don't be afraid to ask people for help - whether it's with packing, or just taking your mind off things when it gets a bit much.

I don't regret the move - it has changed my life for the better. The weather is so good that I don't have SAD for half the year, people are very friendly and positive and it really does make life easier. I still spend a fair amount of time pushing down my cynical side, but anyone who tells you Americans don't get irony or sarcasm hasn't met many Americans. The lunatic President is obviously a bit of a worry, and there are many cultural differences but you'll get to grips with those when you get here.

It took me ages to get to grips with cash (working out coins took ages), supermarkets, and what to buy where - e.g. what's the equivalent of M&S or John Lewis? Google has the answer to almost everything. When it doesn't, expat forums or this thread will be able to help [smile}

ChinaRose Sun 05-Nov-17 08:06:04

I'm back!! Movers are booked November 30th and we are heading out there in the first week of Dec, still no flights booked yet. House sale going through slowly. We are both so excited but I'm terrified. One of the first things we will do is try to find a new nursery for our 3 year old. He's doing 3 full days a week right now and loves it.

queen did you get a completion date yet?

Our buyers still haven't got a valuation booked and they are hoping to complete early Dec! Our house may be empty for a short period but we have no choice, we have to go.

Any experiences with US entry on an immigrant visa? I've a huge white envelope that I'm not to open to hand into immigration when we land. Hopefully the worst is over with that.

We have two pets we are shipping too. Just need to get a rabies shot for the dog and I think they'll be good to go. Bringing a cat also. Hopefully this time next week we will have flights booked! Thanks all, I'm hanging in there. Feeling a bit better now the movers are booked.

OP’s posts: |
mumisnotmyname Thu 09-Nov-17 18:54:20

We moved this autumn and brought cat and dog, we used a pet move company but had no issues.

The biggest problem with immigration was the large queue, no more skipping through the self scan esta machines. They asked a couple of questions, looked through the paperwork, took digital fingerprints and pictures but it wasn't any more hassle than visiting pre esta days.

Good luck


ChinaRose Fri 10-Nov-17 06:54:02

Thanks mum. We are leaving for california early December now it's all booked finally. Glad the visa stuff isn't too bad. We're still looking for a buyer for our house. I've a feeling this could take a long time.

OP’s posts: |
BritInUS1 Fri 10-Nov-17 18:26:57

Hi we moved to Northern California last year. We found entry through SFO no problem at all, a few extra questions about why we were coming, etc but not too bad at all.

Make sure you pack the essentials to take with you as the shipping can take a long time.

Other tips

1. A bit late now but if you have an Amex card in the UK you can get one opened in the US, this helps with your credit history and means you can get a decent limit

2. Get to the social security office as soon as you can and apply for your SSN - this can take a few weeks to arrive, and you need it before you can do anything else

3. Once you have SSN open a bank account. We found the credit unions a lot more accommodating than the banks, with no credit history.

4. Make sure you have access to money / credit cards from the UK as you cannot get paid without a SSN, nor can you open bank accounts, get a credit card, etc

5. If you want to lease a car you will need to get your California driving licence, so get onto that as soon as you have SSN. You have to do a theory and practical test, appointments up here were scarce for the practical so I would give yourselves plenty of time

6. In Northern California it is really hard to find somewhere to rent with no credit history - be prepared to have to offer a much larger deposit than normal

7. The utility companies are a nightmare without a credit history and US credit cards / bank account, but it is possible - you have to put down a few hundred $ deposit though

8. If you have an L2 spouse visa and want to work, then you also need an Employment card. You cannot apply for this until you have your SSN and it can take up to 3 months to come through one the application is received. You cannot legally work without one of these.

9. Everything is eyewateringly expensive - food, mobile phone bills, cable. We just pay for internet and have Netflix and Hulu rather than paying for all the channels

It's a challenge and I'm afraid it will get more stressful before it gets easier, but hopefully you will think it is worth it in the end.

QueenCity Sat 11-Nov-17 00:13:13

Has your buyer's valuation been done yet China? We exchanged contracts today, complete next Thursday and fly to Charlotte on Friday morning. Our dogs are being collected on Thursday and will arrive on the Monday which gives us a couple of days to get our bearings and source food, bedding and toys for them. I'm so worried about how they'll cope.

ChinaRose Sat 11-Nov-17 14:55:33

We lost our buyer early this week. Had a few more viewings this week. Looks like our house is going to be empty for a while. Flights booked for the 6th! We are switching agents this week. Selling our UK house has been a total nightmare! !

OP’s posts: |
mumisnotmyname Sat 11-Nov-17 14:57:06

We are having a nightmare renting ours this time round. Fingers crossed for another buyer soon.

mumisnotmyname Sat 11-Nov-17 14:58:38

queencity our dog coped much better with the travel than our DC, he is very happy now but I need to buy him snow boots!

ChinaRose Sat 11-Nov-17 21:48:28

Where in the US did you move to mum ?
Had another viewing today. Hate this process. We will be shipping cat and dog to San Diego via new York so they get a little break in the middle at least. We actually brought our cat from the US a few years ago so it's home time for her. The dog will be terrified I think. She loses it when I hair dry/hoover/sweep/use the garbage picker (staffie). Poor girl. One thing about Califirnia that has been bothering me - coyotes. Most Americans I know are very familiar with them. I've watched a few YouTube cctv videos and they look awful. And apparently are rampant all over suburban areas. Our cat won't stand a chance so thinking of keeping her indoor...

OP’s posts: |
QueenCity Sun 12-Nov-17 08:32:35

Sorry to hear about your buyers China. Really pleased to hear that your dog coped well with the flight Mum.

BeALert Thu 23-Nov-17 03:32:44

Lots of coyotes where I live too, and fishers. The cats have survived though.

I totally empathise with your anxiety about the house sale. Ours fell through repeatedly before and after we left the UK. In the end I took out a loan against some of the value of the house and left it in a bank account to pay for up to a year of mortgage payments. Then I was a bit less stressed.

In the end the house sold 5 months after we'd emigrated which sounds terrible but actually the exchange rates had moved in our favour during that time so we ended up making more on the sale.

Try to enjoy all the newness when you arrive. It will be busy and confusing but also exciting.

Good luck!

barkingfly Thu 23-Nov-17 06:45:07

Coyotes do not climb as well as cats, but they have been everywhere the last few years so make sure cat & dog can come inside.
Call Social security at 1-800-772-1213 for an appointment because you will need the card.
You will find the weather a pleasant surprise-prepare for Surfing Santa-it was 99F/37C today.

Regressionconfession Thu 23-Nov-17 06:49:21

Coyotes and possums too!!! Good luck op!

elland Thu 23-Nov-17 17:16:13

I can’t help with moving advice but I can tell you San Diego is brilliant! I’m very jealous.

mumisnotmyname Thu 23-Nov-17 19:21:18

We are in the mid west, much worse weather. Our cat is indoors anyway, they enjoy the sun through the glass but don’t want the frozen air outside.

ChinaRose Wed 27-Dec-17 02:54:33

OP here! Well we've been out here almost 3 weeks and I love it here. We have been in the pool, on the beach, watched a glorious sunset in Carlsbad and have been enjoying the delicious avocados and fish tacos, mmm. Got my social security number through the post. We are still in the enquiries stage of our sale, hoping to complete in January some time. We are actively house hunting though, as soon as the money comes in we want to be ready. It is beautiful out here! The schools are just awful though. There is basically one area that has good schools and the rest are very poor. It's baffling.

OP’s posts: |
ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 27-Dec-17 04:15:51

That's a great update. It's lovely to hear how people are getting on after they've made the move. I'm very envious OP.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 27-Dec-17 04:17:03

So will you settle in the good schools area?

FirsttimemumJan18 Wed 27-Dec-17 04:30:07

@ChinaRose wow your first experiences sound great, so I hope your mind is a bit more relaxed now...wishing you lots of luck with everything and to the next chapter...Glad to hear your SSN has arrived!

salukish Sat 06-Jan-18 23:13:11

@ChinaRose Was poking around on this board since we're planning our next move, but shoot me a PM if you need to chat! I've been in San Diego for the past few years (from abroad), live down south but work up north just below Del Mar. It sounds like you're doing really well but happy to chat or help in any way I can (been through all the admin hassles you could imagine) - also if your pup needs to blow off some steam I have some very friendly dogs that love to play!

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