Moving from India to US – part I – the preparation

India to USA
India to USA

India to USA (Source:


Before we begin, here’s a disclaimer: this is NOT a post to help you get a visa or a job in USA. This post will help with the things that come after. After you’ve finalized your move to the US.

Me and my family (dear husband and two little princesses, then aged 5 and 2) moved to USA in late 2012. For the first couple years, we lived in beautiful Tennessee. In the middle of 2014 we moved up north to Washington state. All along this time, we learnt a lot of things about moving from India to US (and also about moving from one state to another within the US). Well, we did make our fair share of mistakes, but we did learn from them too.

One of my dear friends is planning to make this move in the coming months and he asked us to share our learnings. That’s how this post was born. :-) This is an effort to consolidate our learnings so these can help others who are going through a similar phase in their lives. 

Once I started writing, I realized I had so many things to share about this topic! So I’m going to break the gynormous list into three parts

  1. Part 1 – Preparation
  2. Part 2 – Travel
  3. Part 3 – Getting settled  

Here goes part 1 of my list. These points below should help you prep for your big move:

Things to do 1 month (few weeks) before the departure:


  1. Make your travel documents ready. You need a valid passport and a valid visa for each of your family members, including babies and children. Make sure you have these done. Print your tickets, itineraries for travel.
  2. Make sure you have some accommodation booked for at least the first few days. A hotel room with a kitchenette is probably best, specially if you would be arriving very late in the night.
  3. Make your important documents ready. Here’s a quick checklist
    1. yours, your spouse’s and your kids’ birth certificates
    2. your marriage certificate
    3. your, your spouse’s and kids educational documents 
    4. your and your spouse’s work related certifications if there are any
    5. immunization records of your kids. Do make an attempt to get your kids’ up-to-date on immunization shots as per the regulations of the State you’d be living in. But if you are roughly there, it’s perfectly alright. When you do come to US, you have to get their records updated and there are always some shots that they end up getting here. So if the kids aren’t overdue on any shots, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just make sure you get their medical records though. That paperwork is necessary.
    6. invitation letter / offer letter of the new job you’d be taking up in US. (College documents if you are coming for studies instead of a job)
    7. Driver’s license for you and your spouse – at least one of you should plan to have a valid 4 wheeler driving license before you come to US. As you might be aware, in some cities in the US it is harder to get around if you don’t have a vehicle. When you move here, you’d be looking for a house, may be visiting the school for your kids etc, as you try to get settled. So being able to go around the town becomes very important. You can easily get a rental car, but you do need to have a valid driver’s license. Most states here will allow people to drive on their country’s (foreign) driving license at least for a period of time (like 6 months or a year).
  4. Start researching online for houses:
    1. Deciding on the locality:
      1. In US, each public school has a specific area (zone) that it serves. For your kids to be able to attend a certain public school, you’d have to live in that school’s zone. So if you have kids who are of school-going age, then first you’d need to decide on a good school which you’d like your child to attend. is a great place to start researching about schools and deciding on your favorite one. Once you determine the school, you’d be able to narrow down your house hunting to that school’s zone. ( A word of caution – even if a certain community’s website has your favorite school as a nearby school, you’d want to double check with the community’s leasing office as well as with the school before finalizing your apartment. Also, you’d want to check if the school bus serves the community or not. For homes that are less than 1 mile from the school, there are often no school buses. )
      2. If you don’t need to worry about kids yet, then you might want to narrow down your house location based on distance to your work place. 
      3. can help understand the overall lifestyle / income groups, crime rates etc of a specific city.
    2. Once you’ve narrowed down the locality / city you’d want to look at some apartment complexes (communities) in that city., are some good places to start researching. 
      1. When you do like something, make a note of the phone number and during the business hours of that place, book house tours for the first week of your coming to US. 
      2. When you do go for the house tour, don’t forget to carry your passport as the leasing folks do need an ID. Also, don’t just look at the floor plan, look at the neighborhood too. Grocery stores, pharmacies, kids play area, parks, Indian stores are some of the places you’d be frequently visiting. Figure out how conveniently some of these are located to the community complex you are considering.

Things to do 2 weeks before the move:

  1. This is the time when you wrap up your shopping and packing. Before you try stuffing the entire BigBazaar into your bags, check with your airlines for allowed baggage weight. Take into account how much each person can carry in check-in as well as in overhead luggage. Try to stick within that limit, if you would like to avoid paying per extra bag. :-)
  2. Here are some of the things you should plan on bringing from India, because most of these are not commonly available (some of these can only be found in Indian stores), while the others are costlier if purchased in the US vs back home:
    1. Pressure cooker – buy an extra pair of the rubber ring and may be an extra whistle, if you can.
    2. Rolling pin(belan in Hindi, latni in Marathi) for making Roti / Parantha etc.
    3. Travel adapter / converter for your Indian electronic items – this will help your Indian phone chargers, laptop chargers etc connect to the power outlets / sockets here in the US.
    4. Homemade spice mixes – you do get most spice mixes in Indian stores here, but if you have a family favorite, it will be good to bring a packet of it with you. Do make sure you pack it extra well though. Most Indian spice mixes have things like turmeric in them and they can get some nasty stains on your clothes. Put it in your checkin luggage only, do not carry it with you in overhead luggage. 
    5. Clothes according to the season – some parts of the US get very hard winters. So depending on the time of the year and the place you are moving to, you might need to shop for some special clothing pieces – jackets, gloves, boots. Research online to check the weather conditions and prepare accordingly.
    6. Medicines – If any of your family members takes any routine medication, make sure you get supplies to last through the initial month. Each medicine should have a prescription with it from a doctor. The bulk of these would need to be packed in check-in luggage, but if you do need something while traveling, make sure you carry a copy of the prescription with you in your handbag. Also, we Indians have some favorite over-the-counter medicines that we take for common cold and stuff. Visit your family doctor & pediatrician and get a prescription made for common ailments – cold, fever, travel sickness, stomach upset and sore throat. Pack the medicines and the prescription together.
    7. Coloring books and crayons, story books, some board games etc for your kiddos. Sitting in an airplane seat for 8 or more hours is grueling. Specially for kids. How about making the trip an adventure? Give them something to be excited about and entertain themselves with throughout the long journey. Coloring books & crayons work great for my girls. Go for something that is appropriate for your kids.
    8. Travel accessories for the grown ups: Traveling is going to be at least slightly uncomfortable for you too. Things like travel pillows, noise canceling headphones and eye masks can help make things a little easier. 

I guess I’ve covered most of the prep pieces in here. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below and I will answer them as best as I can.

Hope these lists help you prepare well for your travel. Keep watching this space for the next part which will come up soon.

Take care,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments on Moving from India to US – part I – the preparation

  1. Chiran says:

    Very nice & informative article for first time movers, it will help lot of people. Thanks for sharing this article already waiting for next parts…

  2. Chanaka Priyantha says:


    Thanks a lot for sharing the valuable inputs. Is there any specific format you used when getting the immunization records of your kids. I need the same for the educational certificates.


    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Chanaka Priyantha.

      For both – immunization records as well as educational certificates, the format does not really matter. What matters is that these documents are original and are created by some authoritative entity. For instance, the educational documents need to be the ones you’d get from School / College / University. While the immunization records should come from someone legally eligible to practice medicine – have the doctor / hospital put their stamp on it (with their registration number etc).

      Good luck on your move :-)

  3. swathi says:

    Thanks for amazing article. I am in the process of moving in another 2 weeks. I had a small query on my DOB certificate. I have all other proofs but I do not have the municipal corporation’s birth certificate, I just have 10th std markscard which shows my DOB and my school stamped ceritifing my DOb and also my transfer certificate showing my DOB. So will these be considered as a valid certificate for DOB proof in US?

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Swathi. As far as I know, 10th marksheet is not a valid proof of DOB here in US. So best to get the birth certificate itself.

      In places like Goa, it is quite easy to get a copy of your birth certificate from municipality though. You need to fill a form, pay some fees (6 to 10 Rs. Per copy) and they give you your birth certificate in a few mins.

      You might want to check that out.

      Thanks for your comment and good luck with your move!!

  4. madhavi says:

    Nice information varda. My husband is moving in first week n I will join him later in month of April. We both have dob certificate but in local language. .how much is dob important there?

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Madhavi. I don’t recall using mine or my husband’s dob certificate much in the beginning. For us both, we used mostly our passports. We needed to use our dob certificate at the time of extending visa or sponsoring our parents’s visits etc, but that’s for later. Also, in US or in India you can get a translation done for non-English documents and then notarize those. That way you will always have a valid English dob certificate ready.
      Have a great moving experience :-)

  5. Babs says:

    Hi, very informative article. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    I have a few questions about the schools. I will be shortly moving to US with my 4.5 yr old and a 3 yr old.
    I think both will have to go to pre school/ kindergarten. Now do these schools also follow the same guidelines? I mean I need to live in the same area as the school? Also, the admissions. We will be moving in July. So getting admissions will be difficult?
    Would appreciate your comments. Your kids were almost of the same age as mine. So perhaps you can give me useful inputs.

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by!
      1. Minimum age for Kindergarten is 5 years in most states. But the date by when they need to be 5 years old differs. Best to check on that.
      2. If you are looking for public schools for Kindergarten, then yes, you need to live in the same school zone. Again, there are different rules in different states regarding how-many-days-a-week, how-many-hours-a-day (full time / part time), there could be lottery system to get admission into a school for kindergarten, and there could be fees per month (in spite of it being a public school).
      3. For your 3 year old, it will have to be a private preschool for now.
      4. July is mostly summer vacation, so best to check with the school before coming over (email / phone from their website can help).

      Good luck on the big move!!

  6. vidwata says:

    Hi, I have one query regarding the immunization record. Does it have to be signed by the doctor. My little ones records are on a book with the hospitals name, but without doctors signature or name. Will I need additional document from doc supporting the record. Thanks :)

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Vidwata. I am not sure whether it is mandatory. But I think it’s good if it has the actual doctor’s stamp / signature. Something that shows their license number. Typically doctor’s do have it. You can just ask for it and they can either stamp or write it for you. If nothing else, you could just ask for doctor’s visiting card and pin it to the records. Good luck with your move!

  7. GK says:


    I have certain queries:

    1. I currently have an vaccination chart for my daughter, where my doc signs and pastes the label of vaccination for future checks. Will that chart be enough or I need to get something on a letter head?

    2. Chennai corporation doesnt provide birth certificates. You can download online with name and DoB if wanted. Will that be enough?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Varada says:

      1. Does the vaccination chart show the hospital details or doctor’s registration number etc? If so, I think you should be fine. Not 100% sure though, because it might depend from state to state, but it worked for us in TN as our doctor stamped his registration / license details on all our health related papers.
      2. It might be a good idea to download this but get it attested, to prove its authenticity.

      Good luck on your move!

  8. Nishi says:

    Thanks for this informative article, Varada! Your experience is really helpful in guiding us.
    I’ve a couple of questions, actually lot of questions :D, but would like clarification on these:

    – My son is 15, just started Class 10 CBSE. I heard the level of education is pretty high there in US. Is that true? Any suggestions to help prepare and smooth the process for him? Where can I check the (US) syllabus and Grade X books?

    – Do I have to worry about vaccinations at his age?

    – What items are always provided with leased apartments? Would I have to purchase a lot of kitchen stuff or should I carry pots/pans and stuff?

    1. Varada says:

      Thank you for dropping by, Nishi.

      – My kids aren’t as old yet, so I am not very sure. But one thing is certain – here the system has lot of emphasis on practical, hands-on knowledge. For exact syllabus etc, figure out the high school for your area (check section 4A) and look for their website. They will have a lot of good info about books and more. Also will be good to get in touch with the school authorities and start an email conversation to get to know these things.

      – Yes, I think you would need vaccinations / immunization records for any school. Better get them.

      – Mostly apartments provide – cooking range (mostly electric, not gas), refrigerator, dish washer.

      – In some cases they might have washer-dryer for clothes, if not, there are appliance leasing companies like Azuma ( from whom you can rent these.

      – In some cases they might have a microwave. If not, this is easy and non-expensive to buy.

      – I’d recommend buying some Indian pots and pans – pressure cooker, idli cooker if you enjoy a lot of idlis, tawa, belan (rolling pin for making rotis). Check out for a more elaborate shopping list for things you can buy after you get here.

      Good luck with your move. Feel free to ask away if you come across more queries.


    2. Rakesh Agrawal says:

      Hi Nishi – is there anyway to connect with you. I believe I will be in similar boat very soon. Hence if I can connect with you to understand how was your son’s transition from class 10 in CBSE to USA.

  9. Arun says:

    Hi Varada, Thanks a lot for beautiful and informative article. It already helped me with most of my queries. I will be moving to Minneapolis in next 2 weeks and with regard to that i have a few more queries that are puzzling me. Like:

    1. Pressure cooker should be the one that is flat bottom which can be used on induction stove? Is that true?
    2. Do we need to carry other utensils like patila in hindi that is induction compatible? Or can we carry utensils that can be just used on gas stove? Gas stoves are the options there or not?
    3. On some other sites people suggested to bring mixer of 110V. So is that really required?
    4. For my son who is 3 years old, i need to get his admission done in pre-primary school. In India he has not yet started schooling. So is birth certificate, medical file and his passport sufficient to get admission in the school?
    5. I heard that primary education is free of cost in some states. Is that true? If not how much expensive is it?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    1. Varada says:

      Thank you for dropping by, Arun and I am sorry, I am late in replying. But better late than never, right? :-) So, here goes:

      1 and 2 – Not really. We have been using normal cookers and kadhai’s from India and they work just fine with the cooking ranges here. It is a good idea to bring pressure cooker with you as it’s available in Indian grocery stores only. For other pots and pans like kadhai etc, these are easily available in stores like Target, Walmart, Bed-Bath-and-Beyond etc. So if you don’t want to carry a lot of weight with you (airline baggage restrictions), then you can decide not to bring those with you.

      3. Not required really. You get a good everyday mixer / grinder for a reasonable price and when you buy it here locally, you know it will work with electric fixtures here.

      4. As for documents you need to get from India, those are sufficient. In addition to those, most public schools will ask you to show proof of address that confirms you are living in the area zoned for that school. Your little one though, is too young for public schools (here kids do KG at 5 yr old), so you’d need to find a private daycare / preschool. Their charges vary from place to place.

      5. Yes, primary education is free in public schools and public schools are very good. However, primary education starts from KG (not from 3 yr) and in some states like WA, there’s still a monthly fee to pay if your child is attending full day KG vs half day KG.

      Hope this is helpful. Good luck with your move!!

  10. Ruchita says:

    Hi Varada,
    Thanks a ton for nice information. Really very helpful. I have few doubts .Is it difficult to get admission in public school? If session starts there in august , then should we move early or later will also be fine?
    Little tensed about school admission . Have one girl going to 2nd std here and son 9 months old.

    1. Varada says:

      Hi Ruchita, thanks for dropping by. Don’t worry about school admission. Almost everywhere in US, there is no-child-left-behind policy, so even if you reach a little later than when school starts, the school will accept your kids. Make sure you choose your apartment based on which school you want your kids to go to, though. Because each community is zoned for a certain school and that is where your kids can go.

      Also, if you think you guys will reach after the initial few days of school starting, it will be a good idea to use internet / email / phone to get in touch with school officials and find out what they would recommend.

      Hope your move goes great!! Have fun!!


  11. Varsha says:

    Nice and informative link. Me, hubby and kids..6 and 3 yrs are moving to Ohio! No direct flight so bit worried about luggage.. To carry and house hunting..and all. How long shd it take to settle in new home? Should I take a month rental apartment till I find go place for school n home?

    1. Varada says:

      Welcome to the States, Varsha!! If you have time to research and find a good place while you are in India, I would recommend doing that because 1-month rentals are usually expensive. See if you have other friends / colleagues with similar aged kids who can help from here. If for some reason it is not possible for you, 1-month rental would be the way to go.

      Also, one good idea would be to talk to the leasing office of your 1-month apartment if they will let you pay 12-month rental amount if at the end of the month you decide to continue living in the same place.
      Won’t hurt to ask that.

      Good luck!

  12. shilpa paleri says:

    Hi Varada. Very useful info. Thanks for sharing :) .
    We are moving to Texas. Any idea about the winter in Texas? Should i be carrying heavy woollens ?
    Is there anything else that i should know ?

    Thanks :)

    1. Varada says:

      Hi Shilpa, thanks for dropping by. Haven’t lived in Texas myself (yet), so not sure, but I would assume Texas isn’t too Wintery. If you are prepared for Delhi winters, it should be sufficient, I’d think. But best check online some more. Welcome to the States! ~Varada

  13. Akshay says:

    Hi Varada
    Thank you for this informative article. I have relocated to Seattle and my family joins me in Jan 2017. I have two sons aged 7 (2nd std in India) and 3 yrs.

    Will my elder son be able to join school as a 2nd grader in Jan? Will any additional documents required? Will there be an admission test? Is it a good idea or should wait for session to end?


    1. Varada says:

      Might be a good idea to wait simply because the transition will be easier for the kids. But if that is not an option, it should not be a problem to get admission in a public school. In US, we have no-child-left-behind policy for schools, so all children get school admissions.

      I am thinking there might be a test of some sort because of the age difference for 2nd graders here. You should bring all school documents like his previous grade report cards etc.

      Hope this helps!! Have a safe and happy move!!

    2. Deepthi says:

      Hi Akshay,

      We will be moving to Seattle from Bangalore in April. We have two kids aged 6 and 2.
      I have few doubts, Can I please get your id where I can send private messages regarding the same or can you please ping me at my email.
      Sorry if this is against the policy of the blog.

      1. Varada says:

        Thanks for dropping by, Deepthi. I am emailing you on your id.

        Talk soon,

  14. Chaitali says:

    Hi Varada,

    We would be moving to the US in two weeks. I would like to know if it is best to learn driving here in India before leaving or better learn in the US itself.

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Chaitali and I hope I’m not too late in replying. I think it is definitely easier / better to have one of you have an Indian drivers license before you come over. But since you guys are so close to your moving date, I’m not sure you will be doing much learning-to-drive in such a short time. I’m afraid this is something you need to figure out for yourself. Good luck with your move!

  15. Deepak Badiger says:

    Hello Varada, I have been searching day and night on some legible information on documents that would be required for admitting my daughter to the schools here in Florida. My daughter has just finished her grade-2 CBSE pattern from india in the month of march 2017. She will be travelling to Florida in June2017. I would like to have her admitted to grade-3 here in Orlando, Florida from the next academic year starting July-August 2017. Please suggest if you have any idea taking this forward. Many Thanks for your guidance in advance. – Deepak B

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Deepak ! The only things you would need are her immunization records. Make sure they are signed & have the doctor’s / hospital ‘s official stamp. I think she would still undergo a school physical exam with a pediatrician and might need some extra shots. You’d also be bringing her birth certificate, passport and visa. I think that should be all. Good luck with your move.

  16. Prawin says:

    Hi Varada,
    I am moving to NJ probably this december, so in regard i have following queries
    1. I have 2 kids one in std 5th and one in std 9th, so if i travell with them to usa is it possible to get admission to them in the middle of the year as a transfer or we will be loosing their 1 complete academic year, should we have to retake the admission for the same grade once again.
    2.Though they have studied in india then in the case what are the major problems that will arise while adoptiong US school culture or education methodology for them or can they able to manage on them coz we are little worried on american accent they will find difficult ( how to overcome on this ).
    3.Is public school are better or private school, frankly speaking i have an image of muncipalti school in front of my eyes when we talk about public school, well i understood very well that it cannot be like that but though we are new to US and we have no reletives or friends there. Hence were looking for experts advice for our sake. loneliness, a big problem for kids in US, india we both are working and our kids manage to stay at home on their own, i am worried,same can happen in US or we need to send them to daycare.
    6.also we came across while googling that burglary is also a big problem is it true? upto which extent?

    1. Varada says:

      Hi Prawin,

      Here are my thoughts:
      1. You can take admissions in the middle of a school year. However it is always a good idea to research on the schools they will be joining way ahead of time. Prepare them about the school and also speak with someone at the school itself to let them know about your situation. I’m sure the school folks will have some good advice on how to make the transition smoother for your kids.
      2. Kids are far more adaptable than we give them credit for. Get into a habit of talking to them about their current experiences, fears and excitement about school now. This will help you guys to help your kids. One way to get used to American accent is to watch English movies with them. Even YouTube has many excellent videos about Animals, Science, DIY / Crafts and more which my kids love. Education with entertainment! :-)
      3. Here Public schools are far better than Municipality schools back in northern parts of India. So you don’t have to worry about that. Private schools are great but usually they need more parental involvement. Both my kids study in Public schools and we are very happy with the progress they are making. This is something you’d want to personally research and decide upon though because every county’s school system is very different. So me saying my kids in Public schools are doing great is very specific to the counties we have lived in.
      4. Depends on which area you live in and how your neighbours are. Kids usually make a lot of friends at school and if they go to Public schools, most of the neighboring kids will be going there too (because of school zones). So we haven’t faced this problem much except when we had newly moved to WA and didn’t know very many people around.
      5. Laws for this defer from state to state. I believe that in TN, teenagers can stay at home while both parents work. They can also take care of their younger siblings. Anyone 12 or younger can stay at home by themselves, but they cannot be expected to take care of any younger child. In your case though, I’d recommend at least in the beginning one of the parents being home with the kids. Once they get used to the surroundings and understand safety / “what to do in an emergency”, they should be fine. Do check the specific rules for the state / county where you will be moving.
      6. Again depends on where you are moving. You can use online tools like to find our more about the exact neighbourhood / specific address where you want to live.

      Prawin, I must say that all these opinions here are entirely my own and are limited only to my personal experiences. By no means, am I an expert. Please research thoroughly on the points above before making your decisions. Don’t hesitate to call / reach out on emails to organizations like your children’s schools for finding out more details.

      I wish you all the luck with your big move.

      1. Prawin says:

        Hi Varada,
        Firstly ZILLION THANKS TO YOU,
        We received a great, helpfull and very usefull information from you, though this are your personal experiences, but are hope giving to us… And you know, Once you choose HOPE everything is possible. So once again thank you very much.
        May God always bless you.
        Regards and best wishes
        From Prawin and Family

        1. Varada says:

          Thanks for your kind words, Prawin! Hope your move goes well :-) ~Varada

  17. Mukesh says:

    Hi Varada

    That’s a really nice and informative article you’ve put together. Thanks for taking time out and helping newbies like us to move comfortably to US. All good deeds are paid back by the Universe in kind :)

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Mukesh and thanks for your kind words! Hope your move goes smooth.

  18. Prawin says:

    Hi Varada,
    Sorry in advanced for reposting, i knew its hard for taking time out for us from your routine schedule, still the queries are related to kids and their education, so was bit eager to receive your opinion.
    I am moving to NJ probably this december, so in regard i have following queries1. I have 2 kids one in std 5th and one in std 9th, so if i travell with them to usa is it possible to get admission to them in the middle of the year as a transfer or we will be loosing their 1 complete academic year, should we have to retake the admission for the same grade once again.2.Though they have studied in india then in the case what are the major problems that will arise while adoptiong US school culture or education methodology for them or can they able to manage on them coz we are little worried on american accent they will find difficult ( how to overcome on this ).3.Is public school are better or private school, frankly speaking i have an image of muncipalti school in front of my eyes when we talk about public school, well i understood very well that it cannot be like that but though we are new to US and we have no reletives or friends there. Hence were looking for experts advice for our loneliness, a big problem for kids in US, india we both are working and our kids manage to stay at home on their own, i am worried,same can happen in US or we need to send them to daycare.6.also we came across while googling that burglary is also a big problem is it true? upto which extent?Reply

    1. Varada says:

      Sorry for being late in responding, Prawin. We just moved recently so not back on track yet. Will respond in detail later tonight… thanks for your patience with me…

  19. DS says:

    Nice article. Thanks.

    It would be great if you can guide me on below questions:

    1. As of today I just know my office address. How should I go about finding school and house?
    2. Is driving licence in India valid in USA?

    1. Varada says:

      1. Go online and check which County your office will be in. On a state map, you will see neighboring counties too. Once you figure these out, you will be able to do further research on to find good schools.
      2. Yes at least for the initial 30 days (in some States, it can be up to 6 months). Check your state’s driving license website.
      Good luck with your move :-)

  20. Saranya says:

    Hi Varada,

    I have a 2.5 year old and we will be moving to US by this year end. My daughter will probably be going to play school and daycare. My problem is how will she communicate. She can understand and speak only tamil. Will it be easier for her to adapt? Will the teachers and caretakers be understanding about the communication problem? And she is not used to american foods. She can have only traditional Indian foods. I heard in school and daycare , their food only will be serves.

    1. Varada says:

      Hey Saranya, thanks for dropping by. When we moved to US, my younger princess was also 2.5 years old. She spoke Hindi and no English at all. I have had several kids of my friends who go to playschool at that age and they haven’t been exposed to much English at all at home. As you will find, playschool teachers here are some of the most kindest and hard working people. Most often they will work with you to note down some common phrases that your child uses in her language at home, so that her teacher can respond to her needs. Also at this age, children are like a sponge, they will learn to communicate in English before you know it! I know as a Mom, it is hard to trust someone else completely with your little one. But have faith and try not to worry too much.
      With that said, I also want to urge you to meet with various playschools (if possible) before enrolling her. Mom’s instincts will give you a feeling and you will know when it is the right place for your little princess. For the first few weeks, you would also want to closely watch your child – is she happy when you pick her up? Does she eat well? Is she abnormally worried or anxious when you drop her to school, etc? Let your instincts guide you.
      All the best with the move. Hope it goes well for all of you.

  21. Asley Fernandes says:

    I am moving to USA in April 2018 and my son is eight years ago old going to 4th grade,
    I wanted to know what is the process in USA and what documents do I need to bring and which grade will he be in once we get the admission.

    1. Varada says:

      Thanks for dropping by Asley. I’ve listed the basic documents above (passport / visa, birth certificate and immunization records). We had also brought our older daughter’s school reports with us, but did not need to use them. It can’t hurt to bring those along.

      As for which grade you son can be admitted to, that will depend on the school district or school. Best to find out their phone number and discuss with them beforehand.

      Good luck with your move!

  22. Vijayendra says:

    Hello Varada,

    Thanks a lot for such an informative and helpful blog.

    I see this blog as “part I”, when is part 2 coming. We are waiting eagerly.

    1. Varada says:

      Also, Vijayendra, do go through some of thr comments from other readers. You will find lots more info there also.


      1. Vijayendra says:

        Thanks Varada, I did read each and every questions and your comments for those.

        I am preparing myself.

  23. Adi says:

    Hi Varada,

    Hope you and your family are doing great. Thanks for putting this together – all the three parts are very informative and I’m sure is helping lot of ppl like me. And its great to see how you are helping others by responding to each and every query of theirs.

    I’m planning to move to US (Portland, Maine) somewhere in mid Jan 2018. I have a young family and am bit confused if I should bring them along with me. I would love them to be with me and would really miss them especially my son if they are not able to accompany me :-(. My son is just 2.5 y.o. I am worried because of the harsh winter in Portland during this time of the year. We have mostly stayed in the southern parts of India and I’m not sure if my son would be able to adjust to such climate.

    One of your kids was just 2 y.o while you had moved to Tennessee in 2012 and I think it also gets too cold during winter. I would like to seek your advice here. How did your kids adjust to the winter there? Please share your experience – what challenges did you face and how did you manage? If I do decide to bring them along, what all we need to take care of – what kind of clothing we need to get for our son, any specific medications etc. Just want to ensure that we are fully prepared (specially mentally) while we land there.

    Also, my son’s Birth Certificate is in regional language. I think it is only needed while admission to KG. Since he is just 2.5 y.o, he would be going to preschool and hope Birth Certificate is not needed there. In one of the comments you mentioned that it can be translated in US, so guess I can worry about it later?

    Please do reply when you get time. Stay blessed.


    1. Varada says:

      Thank you for dropping by, Adi!

      1. I understand your worry about bringing you little guy over in the middle of winter. But I believe it will be okay. Do make sure you get some water/snow resistant clothing from India and also purchase some good ones for him. These will need to be used only outdoors. All indoors are temperature controlled including apartments, so you all should be fine. Also pollution / germs are far less here in the US, so sickness is also less.

      2. I think it will be a good idea to seek legal help in translating your son’s birth certificate to English before you come over. That way you have one less thing to worry about.

      As far as my kids adjusting to things here, they were fine. Even we were pleasantly surprised. My little one only had trouble understanding English at first. But as she started pre-school, all her hesitation disappeared. Kids are far more resilient than we think.

      Hope your move will be just another big adventure for you all. Good luck!

      1. Varada says:

        Also, Adi it is a good idea to visit your kid’s current doctor in India and take his/her prescription for common illnesses. Make sure you pack these medicines and the prescription itself in check-in luggage.

        You can read more about tips like these in the posts below:


      2. Adi says:

        Hi Varada,

        Thanks a lot of responding; feel lot relieved! I will be reaching out to you for more advice as we get started with the preparation :-) God bless.

  24. Adu says:

    Hi Varada, Thanks for the informative post. A silly question. Does all the homes in US have electric mechanism for cooking ? Majority in the India still uses cooking gas based Stove. So will it be any utility to carry the same to US ?


    1. Varada says:

      Hi Adu, thanks for dropping by. Most rental apartments in US have electric cooking range. Gas stoves are found in custom homes and that too when people have asked for this feature when their house was getting built. Also, most rental apartments come with several appliances like refrigerator, dishwasher and sometimes even microwave + washer-dryer. Best to do your research and find out based on the location where you are planning to move. Most rental property managers will communicate over email or phone.

      Hope this helps. Good luck with your move.


      1. SS says:

        Hi varada….Your posts r simply super n informative ..
        My one query about schooling…
        What is the syllabus in public schools…?? How do we screen down the schools based on rating….

        1. Varada says:

          Hi, I believe all public schools follow respective state syllabus. Private schools are more or less free to follow their own syllabus. Websites like use several factors like how the students perform in public exams, satisfaction of parents with the overall system etc to rank schools. We have always chosen schools that are 9 or 10 in ranking and have had great experience with our girls. You can do even more research by calling the school, looking over their district websites, talking to other parents etc.

          Hope this helps! Good luck with your move!

  25. SS says:

    Oh thank you varada…
    That is so nice of you….
    We r planning to move to Richmond,VA by June …So there r so many questions raising in my mind…
    *In India my daughter is studying grade 2…(igcse)(Cambridge syllabus)….do they have any languages like French…For grade 3…
    *And my twin daughters are 21/2years….Do they HV schooling in public schools…..
    *I am having my l2 visa….I am architect with no experience….Can I work there…N wt all documents do we need.

    1. Varada says:

      So sorry, I did not realize that my reply did not get posted :-(

      Here are my thoughts:
      1. There are several schools that offer Spanish as a second language (optional class) here. You will need to check with the specific school for this though.

      2. For 2.5 yr olds, there are several private preschools available. Usually the ones led by a church are cost effective. I don’t think there are any public school options available for little ones.

      3. On L2 visa, you will need to apply for and get an EAD (Employment Authorization Document). You will need to bring your own school / college degree certificates etc and apply for it after you come here. It’s a quite straightforward process. After you get approved for this, you should be able to work in any organization / career based on your skill sets. Please do confirm this information one more time though. My information on this is 4-5 years old. Someone from your spouse’s office will be able to guide you.

      Good luck with your move! Do keep in touch :-)

  26. Sravanthi Dingari says:

    Hi Varada. Have gone through your posts and comments. I am very impressed by your intent on helping others and the time/effort you are putting in to provide such information to others. Such info can only come from people who experienced it and not from any portal. Thanks a ton from all of us who read this blog!

    We are planning to move to Seattle in May. My kids are 6 and 2 yr old. School dates as per the online seattle calendar starts from Sep 6th. Meaning my elder kid will need to stay home for 3.5 months. 3.5 months of no-school could be quite boring for them ( considering they do lots of activities all day here in India). The last term day for school in Seattle seem to be June 22. Do schools take in kids in May for the current term? If not, what do parents generally do with the kids in such a long break (May to Sep). I am planning to apply for EAD which takes around 3 months, so I will be at home till Sep. Some insight as to whether there will be such thing like our summer camp for kids would be very helpful?

    1. Varada says:

      Hi Sravanthi, thanks for dropping by. For your older one, summer camp sounds like a good idea – but in Seattle these get filled up pretty quickly. Also, we did Girl Scouts summer camps for our girls and for these they need to be a Scout member first. So not sure how that will pan out. However, therer are several other activity classes where you can enroll kids – gymnastics, swimming, crafts, sports, Math / English (check out Kumon) etc. Once you all get settled in an apartment/ home, you will need to check with your neighbors or community folks and you will find a ton of information appropriate for your kids. You can also start at the County centers or Public library in your area to find out more information. Grocery stores also have pamphlets or ad newspapers which give such information.
      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions. Good luck with your move.

  27. SS says:

    Hi varada,
    How do we freeze on the car…(seconds)
    Wt all r the websites available for do we go about it….is there any lease options for car…

    1. Varada says:

      According to me the best way to do this is by visiting car dealers in your area. They will be in a much better position to guide you. And yes, leasing options are available also.


  28. Nethra says:

    Hi Varada, ur doing a great job. I just loved ur blog. We r moving to Boston in mid August, heard school starts there by September. My son is 10 yr in grade 5 Cbse syllabus. What are the documents needed for school admission. Kindly do the need ful.

    1. Varada says:

      Hi Nethra! Thanks for dropping by. I have listed important document for you guys as well as kids in . It will also be a good idea to bring any school certificates / mark sheets etc (at least for the latest year), but I don’t think these will be mandatory. It also can’t hurt to call the school if you can before coming over and find out for yourself. This is provided, you have decided which school your kids should attend.

      Good luck with your move!

  29. wow! its very helpful. its make me known how to get visit in aboard being very simple Indian.

Leave a Reply to Varada Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: