Moving to NYC: What to Bring and What Not to Bring
Figure out what to bring with you
Sort out your essentials and make sure you have a several-month supply. Things like medicines and toiletries are must-haves (and should come to the U.S. with you; don’t ship them separately!).
It’s also a good idea to bring along some sentimental items that may help when you’re feeling homesick or suffering from culture shock. Bringing cell phones and laptops can be a good idea, but it’s worth noting that electronics are often cheaper to buy in the U.S. than in Europe, so only bring the items that matter to you. Do some research to figure out costs of buying here vs. the costs of transporting and buying the appropriate adapters or converters.
Figure out what not to bring with you
There are a number of items that U.S. Customs and Border Protection either doesn’t allow into the country or requires certain conditions to be met before entry into the country. See here for a comprehensive list of these prohibited and restricted items.
Aside from these, there are plenty of things that you are allowed to bring to the U.S., but you might not want to. Whether any one thing is worth the hassle of bringing with you is a personal decision, but there are plenty of questions you should consider such as:
Will it be more expensive to ship or to buy in the U.S.? Bulky things like furniture can be extremely costly to move and relatively inexpensive to buy here. In addition, if you decide to sell your things in your home country, that money can go towards buying new furniture once you’re here.
Will your electronics work with U.S. outlets? Chances are your electronic devices won’t be compatible with U.S. outlets, which supply electricity at 120 Volts at 60 Hertz. Check http://electricaloutlet.org/ to see whether your electronics will work with U.S. outlets.
If your electronics won’t work, but you want to bring them anyway, many electronic stores sell plug adapters (which will allow you to plug your devices into U.S. outlets) and power converters (which will convert electrical currents to settings that are safe for your devices).
You would probably do better selling or giving away things like television sets that may not work in the U.S. PAL, the color encoding system commonly used for analogue televisions in many parts of the world, is not used in the U.S., so leave foreign televisions in your home country and buy a new one here.
Is it worth bringing your car with you? New York City has one of the most efficient and extensive public transportation systems in the world, and you most likely won’t need your car here (or won’t be able to afford to house your car: Garages are expensive and can run up to $300 – $400 a month).
If you decide you must bring your car, you’ll need to make sure it’s compliant with U.S. safety, fuel savings, air pollution control, and other standards, and keep in mind that modifying your car can be incredibly costly. See this Foreignborn.com article for further information on importing a car into the U.S.
Will the U.S. allow your pet into the country? All pets entering the U.S. will be subject to various requirements and prohibitions, and it’s important that you know whether your pet meets U.S. standards. Any animal that is excluded from entry must be exported or put down. Read this U.S. Customs and Border Protection guide carefully before you decide to bring your pet with you.
To bring your pet, certain immunizations have to be proven upon entry. Dogs from areas of the world not free of rabies must have a rabies vaccination certificate, while birds and wild animals are subject to very specific rules (see the guide above).
It’s worth noting that animals are free of duty if imported as pets, but check the guidelines thoroughly, as they include some very specific rules. For example, dogs need a screwworm check within five days of arriving in the U.S. Dogs and cats may be quarantined at the owners expense long enough to establish that they are free from tapeworm and any disease capable of being spread to humans.
If you find yourself short on time once you’re here, dog walkers will charge about $20 to $30 for a half hour-walk, and $50 to $60 for an hour’s walk for a medium-sized dog.