Relocation Series—Moving to New York City, USA


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Looking for better opportunities? Want to make a big life change? Finally found the dream destination you want to move to?

Our Relocation Series consists of the most popular destination choices for expatriates to relocate to. We will include all the details on what you need to know on each country and factors to determine if it would be the perfect fit for you!

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A comprehensive guide for moving to and living in New York City 



The main languages spoken are English and Spanish. There are as many as 800 languages spoken in NYC, and nowhere in the world has more languages than Queens, New York—so there should be little to no language barrier problems!



The American Dollar (USD) is used and credit and debit cards are accepted countrywide. ATMs are found in every American city.



It is overall pretty safe, with minimal mugging, pickpocketing and scams. Just always stay alert and be cautious, as you would anywhere you go.



Call 911 for emergencies. For health-related emergencies, walk-in clinics and urgent care clinics are slightly cheaper than hospitals and also provide emergency services with shorter wait times.


Health care

In the United States, health care is offered in a public system with two different programs: 1) Medicaid—for low-income people; 2) Medicare—for people over 65 and the disabled. The rest of the population has to buy private health insurance (mandatory since January 2014) through their employer or on an individual basis. Doctor visits are available Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sunday. If you have private insurance, see a doctor who belongs to the medical network of your private insurance as the consultation cost will be reimbursed at a better rate. If you need a specialist, get the doctor to refer you as you will receive more reimbursement this way; specialist fees are higher and range from $150–$300.



There are four seasons in New York City with cold winters and hot, moist summers. The average daily temperature can reach up to 38°C in July–August and drops to as low as -18°C  in January–February. Snow can reach up to two feet in just 24–48 hours. The city is also prone to storms called nor’easters as well as tropical storms in summer and early fall.



There are various visas available for travel in the US, but they all fall under two categories: 1) Immigrant visa (permanent resident); 2) Non-immigrant visa (non-permanent resident), which lasts anywhere from 6 months to 5 years and can be used for tourism, business, medical treatment, studies, or temporary work.



New York City is full of opportunities and it is considered the doorway to the “American Dream.” However, it is very competitive and you need to have a job offer before moving to the US as you need to be sponsored for a work permit by an employer. The income tax rate in NYC is among the highest in the country, ranging from 2.9%–3.88% depending on your income level.



If you have children, there are many public and private schools to choose from. New York City has one of the largest public school systems in the country, including globally renowned research centres, universities and libraries. NYC has 110 universities/colleges, over 1,700 public schools, and around 70 private schools.


Cost of living and housing

The cost of living in New York City is the highest in the US. Rent takes about 47.5% of an individual’s total income, and the price of everyday products is above average. NYC’s cost of living is 68.8% higher than the national average. There are five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island), so researching where you want to stay before you go will be useful. If you want to purchase a house, it starts at $400,000 USD with a 20% down payment. Renting costs about $2,900 USD per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre and $1,800 USD per month outside the city centre, with two months’ advance rent and a security deposit generally required. Utilities cost about $120–$130 USD per month for water, heating, and gas.


New York’s airports are very well connected to almost every country in the world so it is a convenient base for travelling. Taxis are the most convenient transportation but public transit is also very efficient as it is reliable and available 24/7. There are subways, buses, and commuter trains available for public transportation. Due to heavy traffic, driving may not be the best option; parking is also scarce and the cost of parking spaces is very expensive.  Expats should get an American driver’s license since their international driving license will only be valid for their first six months in the country.



Wi-Fi can easily be found almost anywhere and is easily accessible in shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and most public places. There are a number of telecommunication carriers with great prices for cellphone plans, Internet and TV services.



There is so much diversity in New York City that you can find almost any kind of food! Anything from American to Canadian, Asian, Latin, Italian, Indian, and more—there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone. The city has so many restaurants that you can eat out for the next 54 years and not have to eat in the same place twice.

Things to do

It is a fast-paced lifestyle living in New York City. There are a lot of things to do, from visiting iconic sites like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park to enjoying the nightlife and concerts available. One of the must-sees is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, aka “The Met.”



In business settings, shake hands when being introduced to someone for the first time and dress to impress—men wear a collared shirt or long sleeves and a tie while women should avoid clothes that show too much skin. Don’t assume you can smoke anywhere as they have new laws that prohibit smoking in certain areas. Do tip for good service and do obey traffic signs and laws. Being on time is also very important.


To discover our international health insurance solutions for you and your family as an expatriate, CLICK HERE! If you’d like to speak to a member of our sales team, give us a call at 1-800-749-0917 or email us at at your convenience.

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