What you need first? (before coming)
1. Make sure you carry your passport & visa docs along with you in the first few days once you land in US.
2. If you like home food you can buy some rice or daal (dry items) from nearby Indian store, do some research before coming to the city you are supposed to go. If absolutely no Indian store nearby bring 3-4 days supply with you.
3. Bring some must have utensils like pressure cooker, karai etc those you can get here but might be expensive and hard to get within first week of arrival.
4. Bring formals because they are costly and in some cases alteration or proper fitting might be a problem for you.
5. If you are going in winter season bring one or 2 sweaters and one jacket, because you will find variety of options here.
6. Book a hotel prior coming, preferably hotels like Extended Stay America where you will have a kitchen for cooking and they also provide utensils to cook.
7. Ensure there is a target, walmart or Heb (in case of Texas) nearby the hotel so that you can get supplies.
What to do when I land in USA?
1. Book supershuttle to commute from airport to hotel, their service is awesome and price is reasonable & staffs are great.
2. Never take a private cab, they might charge you super high.
3. Get a phone connection as soon as possible. Preffereably AT&T or T-mobile with good amount of data pack because thats needed for everything.
4. For daily commute to work or school you can use Uber or Lyft or any other ride sharing apps. Research your city before finding an option online.
How to search for Apartment?
1. Look for apartments near your work or suitable to your child's need (school).
2. Here schools are tied to location and apartments are also tied to them so look for it while you search. (As I don't have the experience of that, I am not sharing anything, you might search in Google for that).
3. If you are coming for the first time you won't have SSN (Social Security Number) yet so make sure when apply for apartments mention that, in that case you might need to provide high security deposit. Generally if your rent is $1200/month your deposit is less than that, may be it's $1000. (This may vary based upon location and Apartment complex's rule).
4. While signing the lease you need to keep in mind following things: lease term/how long?, what is the lease breakage policy, connect electricity in your name, have a renters insurance, apply for Internet connection etc. your apartment complex's management will help you and guide you with that, they are very helpful.
5. Make sure to check your apartment before signing lease, you need to look for your preferences and amenities such as washer & drier whether they are inside unit or you need to rent or pay for that or use the centralized laundry of the apartment, microwave is provided or not, gas is a payed or included, heating is included or not, means do you need to pay for that additionally etc etc.
Now I moved into Apartment, what to do now?
1. Go to nearest Walmart or Target for basic required items such as Toilet curtain, door mats, if you are fond of white light search for it (they are called white light), kitchen utensils etc.
2. Furniture can be purchased online or from stores like Walmart, Target (for Short Term stay), Costco, IKEA (for better options and long term stay as they have expensive items but last long as well)
3. You can also buy furniture from stores like Goodwill, they sell used items at cheapest price.
4. Always buy brand new mattress because there is a high possibility of having bed bugs or something like that if you buy used.
5. You can order dining tables and chairs online, as well as sofa, bed frame & mattress. I would prefer online because they deliver at doorstep. There is no hassles of bringing that to your floor.
6. Everything you need to assemble so its better to buy an automatic screwdriver which will save lot of your effort at the time of assembling the items you buy.
What to do in first few weeks?
1. You must apply for Internet connection as soon as you move into the apartment.
2. Open your bank account with the bank that is available in your state. Most of the states have Bank of America.
3. After 2 weeks or so, look for the nearest SSN office and apply for your SSN. This will allow you to do almost all possible transactions and an unique record of your financial as well as all kind of transactions. This will be helpful for Tax purpose and all your future stay.
4. Once you receive 2 address proof (apartment lease document) and another utility bill or bank statement (mailed to your apartment address, not online) you can apply for a driving license. Note: Check with DMV website for the documents required for applying the driving license before going to DMV.
5. If your spouse doesn't want a driving license, you must apply for a state ID as that might be required for age, address & identity proof and it is accepted in domestic air travel and every where in US.