The cost of immigrating to the United States

Calculating the cost of emigration. Image: Pexels.

The cost of immigrating to the United States: The nitty-gritty details

(Partner Content) Thinking of immigrating to the US? These are the costs to bear in mind…

The cost of immigrating to the United States

Calculating the cost of emigration. Image: Pexels.

The decision to leave your motherland and move to the United States does not happen overnight. It involves lots of planning, calculating and recalculating the cost of immigrating to the United States over several cups of coffee and many sleepless nights. The bottom line is: Emigration is not a cheap affair and mistakes can be costly with long-term effects.

Although South Africans are currently prohibited from entering the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is never too early to start calculating the costs. Researching and understanding the cost of immigrating to the United States and the financial environment to which you plan to move, can make your transition from South Africa to the US so much smoother.

The lawyers at Grant Kaplan have been advising and assisting clients for almost 30 years with immigrating to the US. Our lawyers understand the impact and complexity involved as well as the financial implications. Oftentimes, there are a number of unexpected costs coming up. We have compiled a list of important financial considerations to keep in mind when planning your immigration to the US:

Financial Emigration and a failed emigration

If you plan to emigrate from South Africa, it is important to ensure your financial emigration happens at the right time to avoid unnecessary expenses. When emigrating financially from South Africa, SARS will rescind your tax status as well as your exchange control resident status. As a result, you will no longer be liable for tax in South Africa as a resident. However, if you complete this process too soon, day-to-day financial transactions in South Africa may become a challenge to you. So, it is important to emigrate financially at the right time.

Another important consideration to keep in mind is that at the time of your financial emigration, all your assets worldwide (except fixed property) will be regarded as disposed of for purposes of Capital Gains Tax. This can have far-reaching consequences for an individual returning to South Africa within five years of financial emigration. The deemed disposal means that you can be liable for Capital Gains Tax on assets that you dispose of at a future date. So, if you come to South Africa prematurely, you will be liable retrospectively for all tax that would have been payable in South Africa.

Shipping and storage

When emigrating from South Africa, it is best to sell your assets and buy what you need in the US. However, there will still be some items that you would want to take with you like clothing, some personal items and definitely any antique, inherited furniture and valuables.

When selecting a shipping company, it is important to find a reputable one. There has recently been a case of a shipping company with a financial strain that contracted with over 100 people just before it was liquidated, resulting in many people losing their hard-earned money. So, always opt for a reputable shipping company, even if they may be slightly more expensive.

Once your container with valuables has arrived in the US, the contents will likely have to be stored for a while until you have moved into your new home. Therefore, remember to calculate how many months it will take from the arrival of your container until the date you will be moving into your new home, to work out how much you need to budget for storage. Keep the exchange rate in mind!

Relocating your fur family (pets)

Our fur friends are oftentimes regarded as family and many of us will go the extra mile to take them with us when emigrating. Relocating pets is unfortunately not an easy and inexpensive affair. Quarantine periods, vaccinations and import permits are all formalities that need to be kept in mind. Your pets may be able to travel in the cabin on the airline that you are travelling with. However, if that is not possible you may have to send your fur buddies as cargo through a pet relocation organisation.

Accommodation in the US

Whether you decide to buy or rent accommodation in the US, you will have to ensure that you have the necessary funds in place. Make sure you remember the auxiliary costs associated with accommodation, such as registering for services and utilities like internet access, heating and cooling and other municipal services.

Transport in the US

Although there is public transport in the US, having your own car is much more convenient and common in the US. So, it is a good idea to keep some funds aside to buy a new car and to get licensed. Also, remember to get your foreign driver’s license in order before leaving South Africa.

Contact the experts for a smooth immigration to the US

Immigrating to the US involves more than you might have thought when you started the process. We, at the Law Offices of Grant Kaplan, have been assisting people for almost 30 years with immigration matters ranging from routine applications to the most complex immigration issues. We understand the costs involved as well as the practical arrangements which need to be made. Our experienced team has an in-depth understanding of the immigration matters and can guide you for a smooth immigration process.

Contact us today for a full immigration service for all visa categories.
Tel: +1 561 347 8440