Before you arrive
It’s said that LA isn’t just one city but a mosaic of six or seven cities, and indeed its sprawling neighborhoods each have a unique culture and aesthetic. Before arriving, consider whether you want to live near the ocean, the mountains, the downtown core, or the up-and-coming eastside. Health and wellness is a large part of the city’s culture, so you may want to brush up on your yoga practice (and vegan recipes) before you arrive. If you’re moving from outside of the US and plan to stay longer than three months, you’ll need a visa before your arrival. Note that 38 percent of Angelinos speak Spanish as their primary language, so learning some Spanish will make your transition even smoother. While LA is a bustling city, the infrastructure for public transportation has been slow to keep up, so you’ll probably need a car. However, it is also a very congested city, with residents spending an average of 102 hours per year in traffic.
Visas and Work Permits
How long you’d like to stay in the US determines which visa to apply for. For stays of longer than ninety days, you can apply for a variety of visas that last for up to three years. There are also permanent visas you can qualify for based on whether or not you have family in the US, your work experience, and whether or not you have plans to invest within the country. Some of the standard visas offered within the tech space are the H-1B, B-1, DS 160, and the T-N for non-immigrant Canadian and Mexican applicants. Another common visa for entrepreneurs is the E-2 Investor Visa, which allows you to enter and work in the US on the basis of an investment that you’ll be controlling within the US. With all of these visas, you can live and work in the US for extended periods of time. You may also be eligible to apply for a Green Card to live and work in the US on a permanent basis, once the requirements of your visa have been fulfilled. Each visa has its own benefits and limitations. For example, the H-1B will tie you to a specific employer, whereas the B-1 Visa will allow you to pursue various work opportunities, but only for a period of six months and with the intent to return to your country of residence. Consulting with an immigration lawyer is strongly advised before making a petition for a US visa.
Healthcare is constantly changing in the US, and California is no exception. If you’re visiting the state and are not tied to an employer or university, you can purchase travelers insurance from a variety of providers, such as Kaiser Permanente, Aflac or AARP. For temporary travelers insurance, expect to pay in the range of $31 to $115 per week. For residents, health insurance is mandatory and can be expensive. However, if you’re enrolled in school or employed within the state, you may be eligible for significant reductions or health benefits. A good starting point in searching for insurance quotes are aggregate services such as healthcare.com and healthforcalifornia.com, or check out California’s official insurance marketplace at Covered California (coveredca.com). Insurance plans vary in cost and coverage, depending on your age, gender, medical history and income.