Immigration and Everyday Life in the United States

Immigrating to the United States can be a very complicated process. From paperwork to navigating the cultural norms of a new country, immigrants have a lot to learn about living in the U.S. Fortunately, many resources are available to help immigrants with the adjustments, like obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN), meeting citizenship requirements, and finding employment. Here is a guide on the basics immigrants should know when settling into the United States.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

All non-citizens in the United States must obtain a non-citizen SSN before they can work or open a bank account. An SSN is generally assigned shortly after a non-citizen arrives in the United States or is granted specific immigration statuses such as lawful permanent resident (LPR).

Citizenship Requirements

To become a U.S. citizen, immigrants must meet certain conditions:

    • Residency Requirements: Immigrant must be physically present in the US for at least five years.
    • Language Requirements: Immigrants must be able to speak, read, and write English.
    • Civics Test: Immigrants must pass a 100-question civics test.
    • Background Check: All immigrants must pass a background check.

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Depending on your state, the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license may differ for immigrants. Generally, immigrants must be able to provide the following documents to the state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles):

    • Proof of identity
    • Proof of residence in the state
    • Proof of legal status
    • Valid Social Security Number

Registering to Vote

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now allow immigrants to register and vote in local and/or state elections. The requirements may vary from state to state, but generally, non-citizens must meet the following criteria:

    • Be 18 years or older
    • Be a resident of the state for at least 30 days
    • Be a lawful permanent resident (LPR)

Filing Taxes

Immigrants must file federal income taxes, regardless of their immigration status. To do this, they must obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Most immigrants can obtain a TIN through the IRS.

Finding Employment

Finding employment as an immigrant can be difficult, as there are usually language and cultural barriers to overcome. However, there are job search websites that are specifically designed to help immigrants find jobs. Additionally, there are organizations and initiatives that can help immigrants gain job skills and gain access to employment opportunities.

Ultimately, there are a variety of resources available to help immigrants understand the intricacies of life in the United States. With the right resources, immigrants have the tools to successfully settle into life in the US.