Expats in the US Reveal Their Biggest Relocation Challenges

In a recent expatriate study, The Expat Review Vol. 1, Expats living in the United States revealed what their biggest relocation challenge.

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions for many Expats, “What was the hardest part?” To most people, moving to a new country and starting a new life in a new culture is like something out of a movie. But every year, hundreds of thousands of Expats take the leap of faith.

But that question is an important one to ask. Why? Because one of the smartest things to do is to learn from those who came before you. If you know the obstacles in your path, you can start working on your plan to overcome them.

In The Expat Review Vol. 1, Expats living in the United States for an average of eight months were surveyed and each shared what their biggest relocation challenge. The three most commonly named challenges were as follows:

  1. Obtaining Documentation.

Nearly half of those surveyed said that it was challenging to obtain documentation. With language barriers, unfamiliar systems, and the sheer volume of documentation needed, it doesn’t really come as a surprise.

“[The] biggest challenges were getting all of the administration resolved, like [social security] number, driver’s license, bank accounts, etc.,” shared one surveyed Expat, Marc L.

Tip: Remember to stay patient and use your resources. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out answers.

Credit came up as number two on the list of challenges. Newcomers in the United States have no local credit history, and unfortunately your home country credit history is not considered. That means Expats have a harder time getting loans from lenders and face higher interest rates and down payments.

“The biggest challenge has been credit history. Even something as simple as opening a saving account is a problem. It’s like ‘hey, I have some cash, can I put it in your account [?]; I have an SSN and visa to show my legality here’,” wrote Brandon E., an Expat in the United States. “To which the answer from all [lenders] has been a universal ‘NO CREDIT = NO ACCOUNT’, which is really backward.”

Tip: Research and find companies that offer expatriate programs. These lenders will base your credit worthiness on more than just credit history, and working with them will help you start building your U.S. credit history.

  1. Finding a Home.

 When you consider the first two challenges, it comes as little surprise that challenge number three is finding a home. If you’re having trouble getting your documentations in order, and it’s nearly impossible to get a loan, both of these challenges are going to make finding a home extremely difficult for Expats.

 “All Expats have the same problem. Listen to other colleagues as they had the same problems that you have, and try to make things simpler and have time with family and friends. It will be helpful in order to manage the stressful moments,” said Magali N, an Expat in the United States.

Tip: Use your local resources and ask your new coworkers for advice on neighborhoods, schools, and commutes. Use online groups to find expatriates in your area and ask for their recommendations!

It’s pretty much inevitable that as an expatriate you’re going to hit some roadblocks and face some challenges. One day when you’re asked “What was the hardest part?” remember to appreciate the challenges you encountered as a lesson learned and an adventure traveled.

For more information and statistics about moving to the United States, download your copy of The Expat Review Vol. 1. Read testimonials and get tips and advice from real Expats!

International AutoSource (IAS) is a leading provider of Expat car leasing, financing, and purchasing. The expert Product Specialists at IAS will help guide you through the car buying process, helping you obtain an auto loan without U.S. credit history, and find the right vehicle to fit your needs. Learn more about International AutoSource at www.intlauto.com.

By: Amy Oberlies, International AutoSource