I think the first step to do to smoothly transition to US is to settle all important stuffs in the Philippines. These are the things that need continuity even if you reach the US soil.
1. Special Power of attorney or Authorization
The top of the list is to make an SPA to solve almost all of your problems as soon as you arrive in US because most likely, you won’t be done settling all your documents before you leave. Doing so saves you time and a headache.
PRC Nurse License
PRC for example is a bit strict in this part. Only PRC holders are able to use authorization, if not, you need to make an SPA that needs to be original and specific to every task and not written as general such as for filling out forms, submitting or claiming.
Your bank accounts on the other hand, especially for checking accounts or if you have properties with ongoing monthly payments, banks usually have their own SPA form. So, visit them and try to inquire.
Don’t forget about your government contributions, if you plan to continue or not; make sure to settle these in the Philippines. If yes, then Switch to online payments. If time does not permit you to do so, then SPA is the solution.
School / College
Also create some if not SPA, authorization letter can suffice for your highschool or College OTRs claim just in case you need to submit new copies for endorsement. Especially for NY or NMI that do not undergo CES or CGFNS, these are the stuffs needed for endorsement other than license verification.
2. Online Accounts
If you have plans to continue your contribution in the Philippines, you need to convert your accounts to online. Just in my case, I am kind of lazy in this part that I haven’t used or open my online account since I created it way back in 2013. Turns out I needed to update a lot of stuffs in order to make use of the online account and some requires you to do it in their Physical office. SSS and Pagibig, for example.
Online accounts require OTP in order to sign in. Although some provides OTP in the app, itself, however, password expires every now and then and you are obliged to change it which asks for OTP. In this part, you have a lot of options to choose from. (1) One is if you need to leave your sim and have someone open it for you, (2) Two is you can set your sim to roaming to be able to continue receiving text messages in the US. However, there might be areas in US that might have low signal or may depend on your sim card.
Mine, for example, is TM and the roaming does not work most of the time compared to the Globe sim of my dependent which until now is still working. Good thing, I have a relative who recently visited so I was able to leave the sim. So, option 1 worked for me.
(3) Three is not really an option but you can try inquiring about this since I’ve read that you can change your number to an international number. I tried doing so here in US but it’s kinda a hassle because of the time difference and also international calls are not free here despite of the free toll advertisement.
3. Phone / Sim
You have to open line your Phone. On the other hand, there are phones that don’t work here in US because of bandwidth that also includes iPhone. So if you’re planning to buy a new one, just spare and do it here.
For the sim which you can use data in US, my sister bought a sim in Shopee that she was able to use here in US. It was so easy to activate. Though you can’t use it for text or call messages, using mobile data is a big help enough to get you adjusted during the first few days. Activate this as soon as you arrive at the airport.
For SSN, I’m not sure if it’s right to share this but what I did is I used the address of my relative in US where I stayed during my first few weeks. I did it because I’ve heard of horror stories about getting their SSN delayed because of the agencies receiving too many mails of the number of immigrant nurses they have. So, to spare them a headache, I went the other way around. They say, you can’t use a residence address but that time, I’ve also heard some receiving their SSN in their residence so I pushed through with my plan.
In the end, I received my SSN in 1 week and my Green card in just a month.
It’s also best to start looking for an apartment ahead in the Philippines especially if you are already aware of your final facility. I was a bit passive in this part since I received help from my relative in US. By the time I arrived here, the process was not smooth since a lot of times, we have to start over. It was summer that time so almost all of the apartments are full. Everything here are online so you can easily search a lot of sites such as apartment.com, zillows and etc.
If your agency is affiliated to Advancial, then you can start processing it ahead too in the Philippines. You may not receive a pre-approval certificate yet since you have not arrived in the US but at least you’re already one step ahead by passing all the requirements needed. Also, inform ahead of credit card application. So by the time, you arrive here, everything will be smooth. Watch my video here.
7. Pocket Money
For the pocket money, there are a lot of things to consider.
First is your airport budget, do you need to buy a meal during your layover.
Second is your transportation from airport to your accommodation. They don’t pay cash here so try to refill your uber app at the airport. Or if you can refill it ahead in the Philippines using your credit card, the better.
Third is your clothing. Depending on which season you arrive here, especially winter or fall, try to buy a thick coat ahead so you are good to go as soon as you step out the airport. Buying here takes a lot of effort, since you need to go to a store that needs transpo plus your dollars pocket money is bought using your hard earned Philippine peso so, everything here will be indeed pricey.
Fourth, bank deposit. Most banks have a minimum balance of $500 but you can deposit as low as $25 I think as long as you can reach the minimum within a specified time because their is a penalty once you go below it.
Fifth, your apartment deposit. My transaction with my current apartment was not really good like they were thinking twice if I could afford the monthly fee. So, they’ve charged me a monthly deposit plus a security deposit that totaled to $3000+. Thankfully, I received the $2500 relocation reimbursement in time for the payment.
Sixth, if you have a credit card, do not close it yet because it can be a good emergency fund in case you run out of cash in US. Also, debit cards can be used as well here which we were able to use in doing groceries and etc.
Seventh, you can do loans as additional funds. I did a bank loan and SSS loan. I even tried Pagibig loan but time did not permit since there were discrepancies in my account and I needed to fix those first before applying for loan. My thought here is, as soon as I start earning dollars, paying the peso value wouldn’t be that much anymore.
Eight, for food budget, bringing canned goods is your way to go. You get free 2 luggages of 23 kgs so pack as many as you can. You can also bring tuyo or bulad as long as it is properly packed.
8. Stay at Relative’s house
As much as possible, it’s always a practical way to stay at a relative’s house for an easier transition. I did that for 3 weeks in exchange of my 4 days hotel. My ticket was still reimbursed, I just filled out a travel request form.
They weren’t really strict as to the duration I should be with my relatives. In fact, I myself was the one who initiated and keep them updated of the things I did.
So, if you do have some relatives, inform your case manager who will transfer you to the onboarding manager and make arrangements.
Once you arrive in US, here are the 11 things to note: