Making the Transition from Costa Rica to the United States


Don’t get me wrong, the majority of folks who live outside of Costa Rica often find themselves wanting live here, or at the very least, visit for a week or so. In fact, Costa Rica has always had a phenomenal reputation of being a fantastic place to retire. Unfortunately though, many residents find themselves in the predicament of having to move—especially to the States’—for job opportunities or some other scenario.

So what should you expect when moving to the United States? After doing a little research, I hope I can answer that question for you as thoroughly as possible.

Proper Packing is Essential!

The United States has a fairly rigorous screening process when it comes to what makes it into the country. Not only are you and your family under the microscope here, but so is each and every one of your personal items ranging from clothing to coffee makers. With that being said, you can probably see why it is crucial to be cautious when packing your belongings as the U.S. Customs division will be sifting through it with a fine-toothed comb.

These items have strict restrictions imposed upon them:

  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Plants
  • Pets
  • Automobiles
  • Certain Foods
  • Animal Skins & Furs

The list above merely depicts a small portion of the items that undergo restrictions and limitations. For the most part, there are many brochures, guides, and printable forms online that can give a much more detailed outline.

Have a Residence Established Ahead of Time

Unfortunately, many newcomers into the States’—both legal and illegal—find themselves in the dicey situation of not having a place to stay. While it certainly is easy to find a hotel, sometimes that just isn’t in the budget. Therefore, before you even consider packing a suitcase, make sure you have a place to live already set up. That way, once you’re in the country, all you have to do is venture to the specified address.

For many newcomers, one of the most affordable and convenient living options can be found in an apartment. Since most new residents from South America enter the nation through Texas, it should come as no surprise that there are many affordable apartments for rent in the general vicinity.

However, don’t feel like Texas is the only option for a decent apartment. There are literally thousands upon thousands of apartment complexes scattered throughout the United States; not to mention, a wide variety of houses ranging from single-family dwellings, to larger ranch-style houses.

The message to take away here is that there are many affordable options available to new residents, but you want to start planning for that before you move so you’re not caught off-guard.

More Tips for New Residents:

The United States is always brimming with new and exciting opportunities for residents, both existing and new. This is what makes the States’ so appealing to outsiders. However, moving to a new country means there are rules, customs, and standards that residents are expected to abide by.

While this is a brief list, here are a few facts you should take into consideration:

  • Taking up residency in certain areas may mean that you are responsible for the removal of snow, ice, and hazardous debris from the property. If someone were to injure themselves as a result of neglect, then they have every right to seek legal action against you. However, some residences have established caretakers that are tasked with these duties. If this is the case, then you are not required to remove it yourself.
  • Similar to what was stated above, some areas might require certain maintenance to the driveway, sidewalk, and street directly outside of the home. This may require regular sweeping and litter removal as necessary.
  • In most areas in the United States, drivers are permitted to make right turn even if the light is red. However, if there is oncoming traffic, you must yield until the way is clear. If you fail to make a right turn when the light is red, then you may face a horde of angry drivers behind you.
  • For safety reasons, drivers are not permitted to pass a stopped school bus. Generally, business are equipped with a sign that says, “STOP,” that swings out when the bus has stopped to drop off children. Neglecting to abide by this rule can lead to serious fines and points on your license.

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