A permanent resident of the United States has many options for housing, depending on his/her particular circumstances. In some cases, people who move to America may decide to live with or near family or friends who already live in the United States as American citizens or as US permanent residents. Others have the desire and ability to live wherever they decide, regardless of whether or not they already know someone there.

Foreign nationals who are issued a United States Permanent Resident Card may live wherever they want in any of the 50 US states (for example, in New York, Florida, Texas or California).

Some people who move to America choose to live in a big city (such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami or Seattle), often because of the large immigrant populations there and the support they may be able to receive from people who speak their language. They may also seek greater access to many resources, activities and events in the larger cities.

In other cases, those who immigrate to the United States prefer to live in a small town or rural area where life may take place at a slower pace. Whether you want to live near the ocean, have a cabin in the mountains, enjoy the tranquility of a house in the country, reside in the suburbs or live in a high-rise apartment in the city, you’ll have plenty of choices for housing if you move to America!

People who immigrate to the United States basically have four major options for housing after they move to America:

  1. Live with family or friends until they find their own place to rent or buy
  2. Pay to stay in a motel, hotel or long-term suite until they find their own place to rent or buy
  3. Rent or lease an apartment, townhouse, condo, house or other dwelling
  4. Buy an apartment, townhouse, condo, house or other dwelling

Foreign nationals who have family (for example, a brother or sister) or friends living in the USA may be able to stay with them for a while after they move to America until they can locate suitable long-term housing of their own. This gives the immigrant a chance to get accustomed to their new country, learn how things are done in the US, gather information, and explore their housing, employment and other options.

In many cases, newcomers to America will decide to live in a motel or hotel temporarily after they immigrate to the United States until they find their own place to rent/lease or buy. This can become rather expensive over a period of time, but sometimes there are special rates for people who stay several weeks at a motel, hotel or business/executive suite, so it is a good idea to ask and to shop around for the best deal.

There are many ways to locate housing to rent/lease or to buy, including Internet websites, classified ads in newspapers, and real estate agencies (which may charge a fee for their services). It is a good idea to visit several places, ask questions, make sure the housing and neighborhood are suitable (including proximity to stores, banks, schools if one has children, etc.), and also compare move-in costs, rent, terms of the potential leases and other factors before signing a lease (which is an agreement to pay rent to the landlord by a certain date over a specified time period).

When renting/leasing an apartment, condo, townhouse or house, a renter will usually have to give the landlord a security deposit and perhaps the first month’s rent (sometimes, first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit are requested). In some cases, pets are allowed and in other situations pets are not allowed, so be sure to check if you want to have a pet in a place that you want to rent/lease. It is common to also have to pay the landlord an extra deposit if you will have a pet, but sometimes this is not required. Again, make sure everything is specified in the lease (contract), including such issues as: how long the lease is for (i.e., six months, 12 months, 24 months, etc.); how much notice must be given before moving out; who is responsible for paying the utilities (i.e., water, electricity, gas, phone, cable/Internet, etc.), garbage pick-up, and who pays for any repairs (you or the landlord?); and so forth.  It is wise to never sign a lease or contract without understanding all of the details. If you have family or friends living in the USA, it may be good to consult with them regarding leasing or buying a home after you move to America.