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futurecoloradogrl

Packing to move to the US?

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Hi all! 

 

My K1 interview is in a few days, so if all goes well I'm hoping to be moving in around a month - which is very exciting! 

 

I just wondered if those of you who've already made the move have any packing advice for someone who is planning on making the big move very soon. Besides the obvious essentials like your passport, documents and visa, is there anything you wish you'd brought that you didn't bring? Or anything you brought which you wish you'd left at home? 

 

I've already been selling off and donating any personal items I can part with - luckily I can leave anything with parents that they can either ship with SendMyBag (haven't yet used it myself but have had many personally recommend it), or for them to bring over on a future visit. I do have a lot of clothes and shoes that I'd prefer to keep, since they're good quality, cost a lot and I struggle to find things that fit me well (tall female, big feet). And with unpredictable Denver weather, it's pretty typical to start the day in snow boots and then need your sandals a few hours later, so I think a variety of all-season clothing is essential! 

 

I won't be booking the flight until the visa is in hand, but I'll see if I can book a ticket where I can bring 2 large checked bags - I have a hard sided suitcase and a heavy duty canvas duffel.

 

I don't think there's much specifically British that I'll want to bring, aside from maybe some Bluebird tea (of course tea)! Whole Foods sells Green & Blacks chocolate, the supermarkets there sell Nando's sauces, and most of my personal care products are easily found in the US - might bring a few favourite Lush products if possible since they're much cheaper here. 

 

Thanks for any packing advice - much appreciated! 

 

 

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  • I would suggest that you bring some kind of record of the income you earned in the U.K. from Jan 1 2019 until you leave.  Pay slips maybe, or ask your employer to help you figure it out. You will need that information next February when you want to file a joint tax return with your spouse for tax year 2019. Better to gather that now while it is fresh in your mind. It would be gross income before taxes are taken out. Knowing how much tax you paid in on that portion of your income could be useful too. 
  • Refills of any prescriptions you might need
  • Immunization records

Bring all the clothing you like because it's a really crappy time being a K1 stuck at home for 6 months or so with no work authorization, no driver license, bored, homesick, and unhappy. You don't want to feel more pitiful because you can't find new clothes that suit you, nor do you have enough money to buy new. 

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I agree with everything @Wuozopo suggested!

If you are flying with one of the main scheduled airlines like BA/BA/United etc, do yourself a favor and go buy a cheap suitcase, fill it up and pay for the extra bag. It is SO much cheaper than shipping things over and mailing stuff adds up a lot, really quickly. 

DO BRING: 
Whatever you like to lounge around the house in. Those old, stretched pants and baggy oversized top with holes in it may seem like a silly thing to put in when you are about to get married and have to choose what to take and what to leave behind, but trust me ... it takes some time to adjust and if you suddenly go from working full time to sitting around at home for months unable to get out, work, go shopping etc independently, there is much comfort in the things you have that are familiar. Same goes for a favorite coffee mug etc. 

Bring clothes that are suitable for the climate you are moving to. For me, moving from Scotland to Florida .... there were things I could have left behind! 

DON'T BOTHER TO BRING 
Any small  electrical appliances like straighteners, hairdryer etc.  They just don't work here and you can get way better items for less money.  

Finally, and very importantly, PLEASE make sure you enjoy your last days with your family and friends before you leave them behind.  I was so stressed with a year long process and all the delays from backlogged cases when I left, I was a wreck and my family got the worst of me to hold onto as their last memory of me for a few years.  



 


Lee & William

8/2/2014 - Sent I-129F Petition with USPS by Express Mail    
8/4/2014 - I-129F delivered to dropbox    8/6/2014 - NOA1 Text/E-Mail received    8/11/2014 - Alien Registration Number Changed (Text/E-Mail) / NOA1 Letter received by Mail    3/16/2015 - NOA2 Text/E-Mail received (224 days)    3/20/2015 - Sent to NVC    3/31/2015 - NVC Received    4/1/2015 - Case Number Assigned       4/7/2015 - NVC Sent to Embassy    4/10/2015 - London Embassy Received    4/11/2015 - Medical     4/15/2015 - Packet 3 Received    4/12/2015 - Packet 3 Sent    4/23/2015 - Packet 4 Received    5/18/2015 - Interview - APPROVED     5/30/2015 - Visa collected from courier    6/1/2015 - POE    6/14/2015 - Wedding 💍💍
 
N400
06/30/2019 - Filed online
06/30/2019 - NOA1
07/16/2019 - Biometrics completed (early walk in - successful) 
⏱⏱⏱ ....

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9 minutes ago, wbeem said:

f you are flying with one of the main scheduled airlines like BA/BA/United etc, do yourself a favor and go buy a cheap suitcase, fill it up and pay for the extra bag

 

You don't even need to buy a suitcase. You can check a cardboard box in checked luggage as long as it doesn't exceed the weight limit. Our grown kids regularly check an empty cardboard wine box (with special bottle liners) when flying out, then bring it home full of wine they bought at wineries. Also I've noticed large families loading up carts in baggage claim with a mix of luggage and cardboard boxes. 

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Bring all documents that would be expensive, difficult, or impossible to obtain from afar:  birth certificate, BCs of children if applicable, divorce certificate if applicable, school transcripts, immunization records (more than one copy, optimally stamped by your clinic), et al.  Renew your driver's license -- and, if feasible in these few days, your passport -- for the longest period possible.

 

Even if you're tall for a woman, consider that U.S. resale/thrift shops will have a smorgasbord of items from which to choose, and at bargain prices.  Mrs. T-B.-to-be was amazed at the high quality of the (often-designer) apparel, and she very rapidly filled her closet.  We even centered entire weekend trips around out-of-town forays to such places (and to garage sales, at the same time), serving the dual purpose of getting out of the house to see the scenery and different places.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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On 7/24/2019 at 9:34 AM, Wuozopo said:
  • I would suggest that you bring some kind of record of the income you earned in the U.K. from Jan 1 2019 until you leave.  Pay slips maybe, or ask your employer to help you figure it out. You will need that information next February when you want to file a joint tax return with your spouse for tax year 2019. Better to gather that now while it is fresh in your mind. It would be gross income before taxes are taken out. Knowing how much tax you paid in on that portion of your income could be useful too. 
  • Refills of any prescriptions you might need
  • Immunization records

Bring all the clothing you like because it's a really crappy time being a K1 stuck at home for 6 months or so with no work authorization, no driver license, bored, homesick, and unhappy. You don't want to feel more pitiful because you can't find new clothes that suit you, nor do you have enough money to buy new. 

This is a bit of an exaggeration- You can most certainly get a DL here-I got mine for 1 year , you just need to show proof that you have filed for AOS so your NOA is proof of that. There are lots of volunteering opportunities to keep yourself occupied and most importantly, you can embrace the fact that you  get to be together! Enjoy the phase- work will be there for the rest of your life!

On 7/24/2019 at 9:07 AM, futurecoloradogrl said:

Hi all! 

 

My K1 interview is in a few days, so if all goes well I'm hoping to be moving in around a month - which is very exciting! 

 

I just wondered if those of you who've already made the move have any packing advice for someone who is planning on making the big move very soon. Besides the obvious essentials like your passport, documents and visa, is there anything you wish you'd brought that you didn't bring? Or anything you brought which you wish you'd left at home? 

 

I've already been selling off and donating any personal items I can part with - luckily I can leave anything with parents that they can either ship with SendMyBag (haven't yet used it myself but have had many personally recommend it), or for them to bring over on a future visit. I do have a lot of clothes and shoes that I'd prefer to keep, since they're good quality, cost a lot and I struggle to find things that fit me well (tall female, big feet). And with unpredictable Denver weather, it's pretty typical to start the day in snow boots and then need your sandals a few hours later, so I think a variety of all-season clothing is essential! 

 

I won't be booking the flight until the visa is in hand, but I'll see if I can book a ticket where I can bring 2 large checked bags - I have a hard sided suitcase and a heavy duty canvas duffel.

 

I don't think there's much specifically British that I'll want to bring, aside from maybe some Bluebird tea (of course tea)! Whole Foods sells Green & Blacks chocolate, the supermarkets there sell Nando's sauces, and most of my personal care products are easily found in the US - might bring a few favourite Lush products if possible since they're much cheaper here. 

 

Thanks for any packing advice - much appreciated! 

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, AAAA27 said:

You can most certainly get a DL here-I got mine for 1 year , you just need to show proof that you have filed for AOS so your NOA is proof of that. 

I think if you check the requirements of each of the fifty states, you will find most would not give a one year license without an EAD or greencard. 

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For tea I got an Amazon subscription. It's way cheaper than those online Brit stores (which are a rip off). I can't stand American tea. It's Yorkshire Gold for me and I can't live without tea.

 

On 7/24/2019 at 11:18 AM, wbeem said:

Same goes for a favorite coffee mug etc. 

Ha! Yeah, I packed my mug and stuffed it with socks and wrapped it in a t-shirt in the middle of my suitcase. 

 

I miss good old M&S underwear. There comes a point where you find alternatives though as it's cheaper and easier. It's also not good for you mentally to keep harking back to the UK and compare it to here.

 

I wish I'd brought a particular handbag with me that I gave to my daughter. I had an interview last week and I could have really done with having it. Now I have to find one similar (I don't like shopping for bags or like many styles here). It's difficult to think way ahead when you're at this stage but you will want and need things for certain occasions. It's wise to think about your clothes and what's available where you'll be. I shop at H&M and Zara now as they are the most European stores I can find here. TopShop here is so expensive, as I found out when I failed to look at the $ part on the label when I bought a sweater (I automatically looked at the price in GBP). I agree with @wbeem - I lived in my holey old sweatpants once the weather got cool and I was stuck at home. 

 

If you like Lush then check out Witch Baby Soap and Moon Harvest. 

 

It depends on your personality really. If you know that you're sentimental then pack something from home that will bring you comfort. Homesickness really kicks in once the novelty of being here wears off. I also liked getting letters from back home, they seem more personal and real than emails or WhatsApp messages. 

 

Use the Marie Kondo method for packing, you'll fit much more in. 

 

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9 minutes ago, fip & jim said:

There comes a point where you find alternatives though as it's cheaper and easier. It's also not good for you mentally to keep harking back to the UK and compare it to here.

 

This right here!  When you hit this point, you know that you have really settled. 

There's a couple in the house across the street from us. They are in their 60's and have been married since the mid 90's. He is from the local area, his wife is from England. She refers to the UK as 'home' even now and makes multiple lengthy trips back there for months at a time at least 2-3 times a year.  She refers to everyone here as "them" and "they". I refer to Americans as "us". It tells me she never settled and we feel sad for her husband who works his butt off and spends almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving alone. 

 A lot of this is a mindset shift. Having a few things with you that make you feel good and help you settle are far more valuable than the money you spend / save replacing them. So while there are a few things I would not have bothered to bring when I moved if I had to do it all over again now, at the time, I brought things that I wanted to keep and I wouldn't change that.  

 


Lee & William

8/2/2014 - Sent I-129F Petition with USPS by Express Mail    
8/4/2014 - I-129F delivered to dropbox    8/6/2014 - NOA1 Text/E-Mail received    8/11/2014 - Alien Registration Number Changed (Text/E-Mail) / NOA1 Letter received by Mail    3/16/2015 - NOA2 Text/E-Mail received (224 days)    3/20/2015 - Sent to NVC    3/31/2015 - NVC Received    4/1/2015 - Case Number Assigned       4/7/2015 - NVC Sent to Embassy    4/10/2015 - London Embassy Received    4/11/2015 - Medical     4/15/2015 - Packet 3 Received    4/12/2015 - Packet 3 Sent    4/23/2015 - Packet 4 Received    5/18/2015 - Interview - APPROVED     5/30/2015 - Visa collected from courier    6/1/2015 - POE    6/14/2015 - Wedding 💍💍
 
N400
06/30/2019 - Filed online
06/30/2019 - NOA1
07/16/2019 - Biometrics completed (early walk in - successful) 
⏱⏱⏱ ....

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2 hours ago, fip & jim said:

I can't stand American tea.

We dumped all yours into Boston Harbor, remember.

2 hours ago, fip & jim said:

It's also not good for you mentally to keep harking back to the UK and compare it to here.

Welcome to the Colonies.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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On 7/26/2019 at 3:04 PM, wbeem said:

This right here!  When you hit this point, you know that you have really settled. 

There's a couple in the house across the street from us. They are in their 60's and have been married since the mid 90's. He is from the local area, his wife is from England. She refers to the UK as 'home' even now and makes multiple lengthy trips back there for months at a time at least 2-3 times a year.  She refers to everyone here as "them" and "they". I refer to Americans as "us". It tells me she never settled and we feel sad for her husband who works his butt off and spends almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving alone. 

 A lot of this is a mindset shift. Having a few things with you that make you feel good and help you settle are far more valuable than the money you spend / save replacing them. So while there are a few things I would not have bothered to bring when I moved if I had to do it all over again now, at the time, I brought things that I wanted to keep and I wouldn't change that.  

 

 

I feel so bad for your neighbours! That must be rough for both of them. I'm actually looking forward to spending the holidays with my fiance (spent last 3 Thanksgivings together, and last 2 Christmases with his family). I'm fairly close with my parents but there was a lot of extended family drama following a close family member's death a few years ago, so I was one of those people that dreaded the holidays due to the loneliness and couldn't wait for it to be over. It's been so nice having a 'proper' Christmas that we're both excited about. And I love Thanksgiving food - we even did our own version here in the UK last year, I bought almost everything at Lidl for a fraction of the price of what it would have cost in the US and it was amazing! 

 

I haven't been truly homesick on any long trip to the US since I was a small child and just so excited to hopefully be moving soon. Wondering if homesickness will hit at all? Will just have to wait and see. 

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If you can settle for Typhoo, Tuesday Morning sells it for less than half the price of the PG Tips we were buying at our local supermarket. Cost Plus World Market also sells some British staples. I checked and both seem to have a few stores in/around Denver. Carry on all important documents, including income, bank and investments if not available online (if you will need them for FBAR/Fatca). I don’t know the laws of your state on the driving thing, but where we are, my partner (on an O1, not K1) was allowed to drive for 1 year with his non-US license before taking the permit and road tests to get a local DL. Also, think about bringing or shipping over things for your new home to make it yours, like old photos you can’t easily reprint here or a small piece of artwork. I think it is worth the expense to have a bit of your history and memories in your new space.

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9 hours ago, futurecoloradogrl said:

 

I haven't been truly homesick on any long trip to the US since I was a small child and just so excited to hopefully be moving soon. Wondering if homesickness will hit at all? Will just have to wait and see. 

I don't think it's necessarily longing to go back - it's more pining for things that feel familiar. I had the silliest thing with coffee.  You know those nice, more expensive instant coffees you get in the UK? So easy to make and taste so good?  Well, instant coffee in America .... don't bother. Seriously, don't even bother!  I bought a coffee press and found it was actually cheaper to get ground coffee and just brew what I want and it tastes better because you have so many choices.  But for some reason, it was one little thing that made me unhappy in the mornings because I had to change the way I started my day lol.  

When I moved here, I made a conscious effort to always speak about the US as home and not refer to the UK as 'home' anymore.  I think it helped me a lot by getting that mindset from the start. 


Lee & William

8/2/2014 - Sent I-129F Petition with USPS by Express Mail    
8/4/2014 - I-129F delivered to dropbox    8/6/2014 - NOA1 Text/E-Mail received    8/11/2014 - Alien Registration Number Changed (Text/E-Mail) / NOA1 Letter received by Mail    3/16/2015 - NOA2 Text/E-Mail received (224 days)    3/20/2015 - Sent to NVC    3/31/2015 - NVC Received    4/1/2015 - Case Number Assigned       4/7/2015 - NVC Sent to Embassy    4/10/2015 - London Embassy Received    4/11/2015 - Medical     4/15/2015 - Packet 3 Received    4/12/2015 - Packet 3 Sent    4/23/2015 - Packet 4 Received    5/18/2015 - Interview - APPROVED     5/30/2015 - Visa collected from courier    6/1/2015 - POE    6/14/2015 - Wedding 💍💍
 
N400
06/30/2019 - Filed online
06/30/2019 - NOA1
07/16/2019 - Biometrics completed (early walk in - successful) 
⏱⏱⏱ ....

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8 hours ago, wbeem said:

instant coffee in America .... don't bother. Seriously, don't even bother!

Instant coffee = immediate caffeine = good/one of the major food groups/perhaps the most crucial thereof


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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