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Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide

October 06, 2021
Living in Los Angeles is the ultimate dream, isn't it? The city offers the ultimate urban lifestyle: partying in Hollywood, shopping in Beverly Hills, surfing in Malibu Beach, and more! When you finally get the opportunity to relocate to LA, it's only natural that'd get excited. Anyone would be! However, setting up a new life here is a lot of work. There are so many things to know, do, and understand before you can finally settle down and relax for a bit. Don't worry! This relocation guide will help you deal with moving to Los Angeles in more ways than one.

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide






How to Relocate to Los Angeles


There are truly only very few steps you need to take to move to Los Angeles, especially as an expat. They include:


  • Apply for the proper visa.


  • Find accommodations.


  • Get to work.


Do note that each of these steps requires a lot of effort. They have their own processes and can take a long time too. But once you've done all of these, you can finally settle down and start a new life in the city. 



Is Moving to Los Angeles Worth It?


It depends on your path in life. If you want to work in show business, creative industries, technology, or big business, then Los Angeles is the city for you. The place is, however, more cut-throat than you probably think. You'll need to bring your best to anything and everything, on top of going through the relocation process. Do you think you're up for it? 



Los Angeles Overview



As one of the biggest cities in the US, Los Angeles has a population of around 3,790,742 residents. It's the county seat of the bigger LA country, which itself has a population of 9,861,224. With one-third of the entire county's population in the city alone, it makes sense that Los Angeles is among the most diverse too. Famously, the climate in Los Angeles is generally sunny and warm. The city's hottest month is August with an average daily high temperature of 24.4°C (75.9°F). On the flip side, its coldest month is January with an average daily low temperature of 4.4°C (40°F).



Why Los Angeles is Called The “City of Angels”?


The name Los Angeles is Spanish for “The Angels,” hence, the city is often referred to as the “City of Angels.” The name originates from Los Pobladores, a group of settlers who founded the city as the country knows it today. They initially named the place “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,” which means “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels,” but over time, it got shortened to just Los Angeles. 



What is Los Angeles Known For?


It's no secret that Hollywood is the biggest reason for LA's fame. Though it's technically a neighborhood in the city, it's become an idea larger than the place itself. Hollywood has come to be known as the peak of show business. It started in the 1920s and 30s when major studios virtually established the film industry. Over time, it’s grown to dominate other parts of the entertainment field, such as TV, music, social media, and more. 



What to Do in Los Angeles


Although you're moving to Los Angeles, it doesn't mean you can't get into some touristy fun every once in a while. You'd do well to go all tourist during your first few days in the city because you'll eventually see it in a new light after living here for quite some time. When you have a free day in LA, go on a Hollywood tour, drive up to the iconic Hollywood sign, see the famous Griffith Observatory, hang out in Echo Lake Park, see the characters from your favorite Disney films at Disneyland, and more. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Visa for Los Angeles


Nowadays, the US is pretty strict regarding borders and its immigration process. Depending on where you're coming from, you will need to get a US Visa to gain entry to the country. And that's just to visit the place. If you're moving to Los Angeles, you'll need to apply for an immigrant visa, which is usually based on work, study, or family. This will let you stay in the country for a long time, which will then help you become eligible for a residence visa, more commonly known as the Green Card. 



Do I Need a Visa for Los Angeles?


It depends on where you're coming from. For example, However, if you're eligible for the ESTA Visa Waiver Program, you don't need one. The program allows citizens from 40 countries can get into the US without a visa. They include the EU countries, the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Chile, and more. But those are just for entry! To legally relocate to the US, you will still need a Green Card. You can only get that if you meet certain conditions like a petition from an American employer or marriage to a US citizen. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Getting Around Los Angeles


Here in Los Angeles, if you don't have a car, you'll need a lot of luck! This isn't to say that LA's public transport is awful, but it does leave a lot to be desired. The metro rail system, for instance, doesn't work as fast as, say, the New York subway. The same goes for the buses that travel throughout LA. Though the DASH Buses are pretty fast, they're more so for tourists than locals. Your best bet is to get a taxi to get to where you need to be but it's also the most expensive option



How to Get Around Los Angeles


As already mentioned, your best bet to get around LA is to drive your car. But if you don't have one, you can always go on the metro rail system or ride the Local, Rapid, or Metro Express buses. Just make sure to go on the right one as these buses, which are classified by color (Local buses are orange, Rapid buses are red, and Metro Express buses are blue), go on very specific and vastly different routes. There are also taxis throughout the city but they tend to be pricey, especially if you're going somewhere far. 



Getting Around Los Angeles Without a Car


Perhaps the best alternative for getting around Los Angeles without a car is to use a transportation app. Famous ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft operate in LA. You could even say that they've become the most common public transport option in the city. Many of those who could afford to take these services usually go for them instead of waiting for the bus or riding the train. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Where to Live in Los Angeles


You'd be surprised at how different the neighborhoods in Los Angeles are from each other. It's almost unbelievable that they're all in the same metropolis. There are suburbs like Brentwood, Los Feliz, and Porter Ranch, for example, which are a far cry from the bustling energy you'll find in Downtown LA or West Hollywood. Chinatown and Koreatown, on the other hand, embody the culture of the communities that dominate them all while evoking the same sort of liveliness you'd expect in LA. And there's Echo Park, a neighborhood brimming with botanical bliss. 



Where to Stay in Los Angeles


Where you ought to stay in Los Angeles depends on what kind of life you want to live. Or the kind of lifestyle you already have. If you can afford to live in Beverly Hills, for example, then, by all means, move to this famous neighborhood. If you're more into urban city life, Downtown LA is probably the place for you. Big skyscrapers and jam-packed areas harken back to the likes of New York, Chicago, and Boston. And if you're starting a family, Los Feliz is the quintessential suburban district to raise your kids in. 



Where to Stay in Los Angeles on a Budget


Mar Vista, Porter Ranch, and Los Feliz are just some of the best budget-friendly neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It's still a bit pricey to stay in these districts, but they're not expensive. At the same time, though they're also safe and quite suburban-like, guaranteeing a peaceful life ahead. 



Where to Stay in Los Angeles That's Safe


Arguably the worst thing about Los Angeles is that many of its famous areas are also places you'd better off avoiding at night. Downtown LA, Chinatown, and Koreatown are great for a visit, but not exactly for you to stay. You're better off in Brentwood, Los Feliz, Bel Air, and Playa Vista. These are some of the safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, not to mention among the most peaceful and upscale. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Living Costs in Los Angeles


Living in LA is expensive. There's no going around that. It's a beautiful city full of exciting opportunities, yes, but if you get relocated here, expect you'll have to spend a lot of money just to live a comfortable life. What more if you want a little extra from time to time? Since it's such a famous major city, with so many people wanting to live here, it's no surprise that the living costs in Los Angeles are high. 



How Much Does it Cost to Live in LA?


All in all, it'd typically cost around a minimum of $1,364.00 to a maximum of $4,938.20 per month without rent. Do you think you could afford that? A single adult would usually spend $1,364.00 every month on top of their rent. Meanwhile, it costs about $4,938.20 without rent to raise a family of four in Los Angeles. 



Housing Costs in Los Angeles


Looking at the common monthly rental fees is another good way to see just how expensive a city is. Renting a luxury apartment in Los Angeles> would cost you about $1,700.00 to $7,000.00 per month. It all depends on how big the place is, how many rooms it has, and its location. On top of that, purchasing property in Los Angeles would cost you about $5,920.15 to $9,382.24 per square meter. Imagine how expensive buying a solo apartment already is! 



How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Los Angeles?


Multiple sources such as KTLA and Fox 11 Los Angeles note that earning more than $76,000.00 per year would guarantee a comfortable lifestyle. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Employment in Los Angeles


With the current unemployment rate of 3.9%, the US job market is a lot more stable now than in recent years. Even in California, in particular, the current unemployment rate is only 5.10%. This can help you stay optimistic as you move to Los Angeles. Typically, you'd relocate to such a city because of work, but if you moved because you want to go back to school or you have family here, then you must look for a job. Apart from show business, which is LA's most famous industry, the city is also known for its creative industries, aerospace, fashion, tourism, manufacturing, IT, trade, finance, and more. 



How to Find Jobs in Los Angeles


Finding a job in the US is the same all around, be it in Los Angeles or anywhere else. These days, your best bet is to go online and log into job-seeking sites such as LinkedIn, Monster, and the like. These platforms are where you'll find the best jobs that pay well and are in your industry of choice. Going through the classified ads is also still a thing, but the hiring process for this option tends to be more tedious than, say, applying online. 



Is it Easy to Get a Job in Los Angeles?


Yes and no. Yes, it’s technically easy to find a job in a city as big as Los Angeles. However, the job you find might not guarantee a comfortable lifestyle. As mentioned previously, you’ll need to earn at least $76,000.00 per year to live comfortably in LA. Not all available jobs in the city offer that kind of salary. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Education in Los Angeles


Do you think a city like LA will ever fall short in education? This is where the biggest celebrities send their kids to school. Expect that there will be countless prestigious schools, both public and private, that will offer a high-quality education that movie star money can buy. And if you're moving to Los Angeles with your family, another thing you have to deal with is your kids' schooling. It's high time you choose the best one for them, which can either be a public school (usually free) or an international school (usually private with high tuition fees). 



How Many Schools are There in Los Angeles?


The Los Angeles Unified School District has approximately 1,302 schools, both public and private. 



Schools in Los Angeles, CA


Among the many schools in Los Angeles, it pays to take note of the international institutions. These include Harvard-Westlake School, Flintridge Preparatory School, and Polytechnic School, among many others. Although they’re mostly private and cost a lot, they offer the highest-quality education in the city. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Health Care in Los Angeles


Whether you rely on Medicare or have your private insurance plan, you can trust that the healthcare in the US, especially in LA, is top-notch. While its system is still up for debate, just know that you're better off having insurance no matter its kind. As long as you get some sort of coverage, you'll be fine here! The US is notorious for not having universal healthcare. Unlike in Europe, for example, there's no general system that grants access to public medical care for all citizens and residents. So you'll need to get health insurance on your own. Typically, companies include it as one of their many employee benefits. 



Hospitals in Los Angeles


It also helps that there are several prominent hospitals in Los Angeles. Each with its respective strengths and specialties, you won't have to travel outside the city to get treated for whatever's bothering you. A few notable ones include the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the UCLA Medical Center. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide



Safety in Los Angeles


You may think that you're in for a glitzy and glamorous ride upon moving to Los Angeles but the reality is much grittier than that. The cold harsh truth is that the crime rates in Los Angeles are high. It's only a handful of areas where you can be truly safe, but overall, the city is much rowdier than you think. Its current general crime rate is 60.07%, which is already considered high. On top of that, its rate of increasing crimes is 62.78%. These figures should warn you to be more careful as you start your new life in the big city. 



How Safe is Los Angeles, CA?


Do LA's high crime rates mean that the city is not safe? Not necessarily. It just means that the city has many areas where crime is common. Overall, however, Los Angeles is not that dangerous of a place. The city's current safety rate is 66.24% during the day, which is considered high. At night, this falls to 42.37%, which is still considered moderate. 




How Safe is Los Angeles, CA?

Do LA's high crime rates mean that the city is not safe? Not necessarily. It just means that the city has many areas where crime is common. Overall, however, Los Angeles is not that dangerous of a place. The city's current safety rate is 66.24% during the day, which is considered high. At night, this falls to 42.37%, which is still considered moderate. 

How to Stay Safe in Los Angeles

Here are a few tips to stay safe in Los Angeles

  • Conceal your money and any valuables you have on you.

  • Always go out accompanied by locals at night. 

  • Avoid certain areas (e.g. Downtown LA, South LA, Chinatown, etc.) at night. 

  • Secure your belongings in a sturdy bag.

  • Always treat people with respect.

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide

Taxes in Los Angeles

The US tax system is more complex than you might think. You have to pay your fair share to keep the country running and its many national systems intact. At the gist of it, the country imposes three main categories of taxes. The first, and one that you'll have to pay for, is your income tax. More often than not, your employer/company will already deduct this contribution from your paycheck before they pay it to you. Second, there are the property taxes, which deal with homes and commercial buildings in your name. And third, there's the VAT on goods & services. 

How Much Taxes Do You Pay in Los Angeles?

Since Los Angeles is in California, you have to follow the state tax rates when paying your income tax. They range from 1% to 12.3%, depending on how much you earn per year. When you sell property in LA, you'll have to pay the sales tax and in this state, the rate ranges from 5% to 7%. And of course, there's the Value-Added Tax (VAT), which is a flat 9.5% in California. It’s worth remembering these rates when it's time to deal with your taxes in LA. 

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide

Relocation Tips for Los Angeles

Let's end this Los Angeles relocation guide with a few tips you'd do well to remember. 

  • Take your time in getting to know the city. 

  • Save up as often as you can. 

  • Get a car if you can afford it.

  • Don’t forget to read the road signs when you drive. 

  • Make friends and build a strong network. 

  • Be careful in choosing a roommate. 

  • Avoid the dangerous areas at all costs.  

Moving to Los Angeles: Your Relocation Guide

Moving to Los Angeles is serious business. Sometimes, it's easier to forget everything you already know or perceive about a city and start from scratch. The basics of relocation to LA are all you need to start. 





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