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Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

October 06, 2021
It's safe to say that if you ever move to New York City, you've made it to the big leagues! They don't refer to it as the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” just because Alicia Keys sang about it. The Big Apple has long been the beacon of hope and the city of realized dreams for a lot of people. Just living in the city is already a dream come true for many. But you need to wake up the moment you get here because settling down in this urban jungle is anything but easy. Luckily, this relocation guide will help you with all the basics!

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide



Why Go to New York City?

There are plenty of reasons to go to New York City, let alone move there. Many of these are worth putting in your bucket list and ticking them off when you've done them!

  • - Seeing world-famous monuments in person.

  • - Watching Broadway shows.

  • - Shopping at a fashion capital.

  • - Eating at some of the world's best restaurants

  • - Going to Central Park.

  • - Immersing yourself in the urban energy of the city.

  • - Visiting places you've seen in movies or on TV.

  • - Meeting new people from all walks of life. 


Is Moving to NYC Worth it?

It depends on what you want in life. If you want to further your career in business, finance, fashion, show business, or the arts, then yes, it's worth moving to New York City. The same goes for when you want to make a lot of friends and meet people from different backgrounds. At the same time, however, New York City is notorious for its high living costs and hectic energy. If you simply don't have the means to live a comfortable life in the Big Apple, then it's probably best not to relocate to the city. 


Moving to New York City Alone

If you've already decided to move to New York City, it's best to do it alone. This may seem daunting at first, but doing so will teach important life lessons. Most of those who have moved to New York City go there on their own. They go here to live out their dreams, start new careers, meet new people, fall in love, and live life to the fullest. Though it may seem easier to relocate to the Big Apple with people you know, it's more exciting to take on this bustling metropolis yourself! 


Overview of New York City

New York City is one of the most populated cities in the world. It currently has around 8.089 million residents, making it the largest city in the US by population. Located in the state of New York, the namesake city serves as the major financial hub of the country. Wall Street, the area where most banks and financial companies operate in New York City, handles both the American and world economies. As for the weather, the city experiences all four seasons. Its hottest month is July, which has an average temperature of 76°F (25°C). Its coldest month, on the other hand, is January, which has an average temperature of 35°F (2°C). 


What is New York City Known For?

New York City is the most famous metropolis in the world. It's the archetypal and quintessential big city, complete with tall skyscrapers, lots of people, a bustling atmosphere, and more. You can't pinpoint exactly what makes the city so popular, though there's no denying that the TV series and movies set in New York City help it gain worldwide attention. Perhaps it's safe to say that New York City is famous for a lot of things, including

  • - Big city lifestyle

  • - Big money and big business

  • - Diverse cultures

  • - American fashion capital

  • - Broadway shows

  • - The Statue of Liberty

  • - The Empire State Building

  • - The MET and the MET Gala

  • - Time Square

  • - Central Park

  • - Origin of Pride Month


Why is New York City Called the Big Apple?

Referring to New York City as the “Big Apple” started all the way back in the early 20th century. The story goes that newspaper reporter John Fitz Gerald, who usually covered horse races, heard the African-American stablehands say they were going to the “big apple” (New York City) back in the 1920s. The era's Jazz musicians also used to say “There are many apples on the success tree, but when you pick New York City, you pick the Big Apple.


What to Do in New York City for a Day

New York City is home to an infinite amount of possibilities. Even spending just a day here will take you on a whirlwind! You can to the best museums in New York City, for example, and see some of the most amazing artworks, antiques, and artifacts. If you have the money, go shopping at Fifth Avenue, home to the world's best-known designer labels and luxury brands. Relax in Central Park if you need a breather. The green space is large enough that you can escape to a little corner that's all your own. At night, you can end the day with an extravagant Broadway show or chill out in a nice bar. What’s not to love?

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Visa in New York City

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 for tourism. Moving to New York City will require you to apply for an Immigrant Visa. The US Government only grants immigrant visas to those with family ties in the US, employment in a US-based company, adoption, special immigrant categories, and the diversity visa. This is just to let you stay in the country for a long period. To become a new resident of the US, you'll need to get a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). 


Do You Need a Visa for New York City?

Typically, you'd need a US Visa just to get to the country, let alone New York City. But now, thanks to the ESTA Visa Waiver Program, 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. Do take note that those are just for entry! To legally relocate to the US, you will need an Immigrant Visa and, down the line, 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. 


Do You Need a Visa to Live in New York City?

As already mentioned, you'll need to apply for an Immigrant Visa to stay in the US for beyond 90 days (approximately three months). Then, to become a legal resident of the country, you'll need to get a Green Card. 


How to Get a Visa for New York City

The process of getting an Immigrant Visa or Green Card typically includes

  • - Applying for the Green Card category you are eligible for. 

  • - Filing your immigrant petition.

  • - Submitting the required documents

  • - Conducting in-person interviews with the consular office.

  • - Waiting for approval. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Getting Around New York City

You don't need a guide to tell you that there are several ways to get around New York City. As busy a place as it is, New York City's public transport rarely fails. There's the trusty subway system, buses, iconic yellow taxis, rental bikes, and more. No matter where you're going there, there's sure to be a mode of public transportation to take you there. 


How to Get Around New York City

First things first, get a MetroCard. This is Big Apple's version of a transit card that lets you access the New York City subway and bus systems. You'll only need to pay for a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard just once and it only costs $1.00. Once you have that, you can refill it with more money as it deducts $2.90 each time you ride the bus or subway. There's also the option of riding a cab but this tends to get pricey. You also have to be careful with their colors. The famous yellow cabs go to all five boroughs while the green cabs only travel within Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. 


Is New York City Easy to Get Around?

Yes, it is. Though the city tends to get quite hectic, especially during rush hour, it's still fairly easy to get around here compared to other, smaller cities. Fortunately, there are also transportation apps that serve as another option when you can't/ don't want to take the typical modes of public transportation. Popular apps like Uber and Lyft operate in the city, so you'll have no trouble booking a ride no matter where you are and whatever time it is. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Where to Live in New York City

The neighborhoods in New York City are as diverse as its population. In Manhattan alone, the areas where the rich and famous reside are practically a world away from where students and young professionals live. While Fifth Avenue and the Upper East Side glimmer in ultimate luxury, places like Midtown Manhattan and Little Italy remain vibrant with youthful energy, different cultures, and more. When moving to New York City, it pays to pick an area that will suit you best. Of course, things like living costs, proximity to work/school, and nearby facilities matter too. 


Where to Stay in New York City

As already mentioned, where you stay in New York City depends on what sort of place suits you best. The Big Apple has five different boroughs and Manhattan is already the most diverse among them. If you choose to stay here, you're gonna have to pick the right neighborhood for you. If you can afford to, settle down in the Upper East Side for a life of luxury. Stay in Midtown Manhattan and share an apartment with a roommate if you live on a strict budget. But if you're creative and you can afford to stay in the very bohemian Greenwich Village, you'll find that this is the right home for you! 


Where to Stay in New York City with Family

Tribeca, the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, and Battery Park City are some of the best neighborhoods to stay in New York City with family. Not only are these some of the safest districts in town, but these areas are relatively affluent, have lots of great schools nearby, and plenty of much-needed facilities. A few, like the Upper East and West Sides, are also fairly residential and more peaceful compared to other parts of New York City. 


Where to Live in New York City for Cheap

Among the most affordable neighborhoods in New York City, specifically in Manhattan, include Inwood, Gramercy, Harlem, and Washington Heights. Though these places are far from “cheap” by any standards, they have lower rent and living costs compared to other parts of the city. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Living Costs New York City

At one point in time, New York City was the most expensive city in the world. From the common rental fees to the cost of living, the Big Apple was notorious for draining its residents' wallets and bank accounts. Today, other cities have taken its title but the living costs in New York City are still high. Consider that the average net salary one earns in the city is $6,583.48 per month. Numbeo reports that a single adults spends approximately $1,617.00 per month without rent. A family of four spends $5,984.80 per month without rent too. These figures alone are enough to show you just how high the cost of living in the Big Apple is. 


Is NYC Expensive to Live?

There's no doubt that it's expensive to live in New York City. Let's take a look at the common rental fees. Renting an apartment in New York City will cost you a minimum of $1,800.00 to a maximum of $15,000.00 per month. It only depends on how big the place is, how many rooms it has, and its location. Now, what if you want to buy property in New York City? How much will that cost you? Well, about a minimum of $10,763.91 to a maximum of $26,909.78 per square meter. If that's not expensive, then what is? 


What Salary Do You Need to Live in New York City?

Without even joking, you'd need to earn an annual gross salary of around $90,000.00 to $100,000.00 to live comfortably in New York City. Though it's still possible to get by with considerably less than that, you will face lots of challenges along the way. 


Can You Live Cheaply in New York City?

The short answer is yes but it's more complicated than that. You're gonna have to be smart about it and expect to make a lot of sacrifices. If you think that living in your own apartment in New York City is the ultimate American dream, sharing a place with possibly more than one roommate is the stark reality of living cheaply in the city. Instead of dining in New York City's Michelin-starred restaurants, living cheaply will require you to go for $1 pizza slices. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Employment in New York City

If there's one place you'd want to move to for work, it's New York City. There's a good chance that you're already relocating here because of work, but in the off-chance that you need to find new employment, there's nothing to worry about. New York City is a major business hub, both in the US and the rest of the world. With a currently stable US job market resulting in a low unemployment rate of 3.70%, the odds are in your favor. 


Careers in New York City

New York City is the best place to foster a career in business, finance, fashion, art, show business, news & media, and the food industry. Even if you start small, working at it might just lead you to the big leagues. Finance, in particular, has its home in Wall Street. This is where the big banks and other important financial institutions reign supreme. As the American food and fashion capital of the world, both industries are mainstays in the city. What if you want to go into show business? Where would you go in New York City? Broadway, of course! 


Jobs in New York City

There are millions of jobs available in New York City. The metropolis didn't become the major business hub it is now without a lot of hustle and bustle. Whether it's a barista position in a cafe or a big-shot slot in a huge company, the Big Apple is a treasure trove of employment opportunities. You just have to know where and how to look for a job in the US. The first thing to do is to craft the perfect resume. Secondly, you need to get yourself out there and apply as much as you can. And third, if you get to the interview stage, just do your best, don't show your nerves, answer the questions clearly, and hope that luck is on your side! 


Jobs in New York City that Pay Well

Since you already know that New York City's main industries include business, finance, fashion, news & media, entertainment, and the food industry, you'd also know that the highest-paying jobs are in these fields. Among the various positions that have the best pay in the Big Apple include general managers, IT specialists, PR managers, social media managers, financial advisors, UX designers, and pediatricians, among many others. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Education in New York City

Moving to New York City with your kids? Not to worry! With its diverse population, any child from anywhere in the world will easily adjust and comfortably continue schooling in the Big Apple. Even the city's public schools are equipped to teach foreign students, whether they know how to speak English or not. This is the benefit expat kids enjoy when they move to a sanctuary city like New York City. This famous metropolis has always been about welcoming people from all walks of life and teaching them to become part of the American dream. 


How Many Schools are There in New York City?

As of this writing, there are 1,819 public schools and 204 private schools in New York City. 


Schools in New York City

As already mentioned, most schools in New York City are equipped to teach local and foreign students alike. Among the most notable are Townsend Harris High School and Stuyvesant High School, two primary and secondary institutions known for their high-quality education and safe campuses. The Staten Island Technical High School and Queens High School for the Sciences at York College are also prominent schools outside of Manhattan. 


What Schools are in New York City?

Few realize New York City is as much an academic city as London. The Big Apple is home to many of the most prestigious American universities, some of which are even Ivy League schools. There's Columbia University, for example, which joins the ranks of Harvard and Yale. New York University in Manhattan is pretty notable in its own right too. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Healthcare in New York City

American healthcare remains a hot political issue in the USA. So if you can afford it, it might be better to go for a private insurance plan instead of relying on Medicare. The latter is still good, but until the political situation in this country improves, foreign residents might benefit more from getting healthcare through a private insurance company. At the very least, you'll get access to New York's finest hospitals. The Bellevue Hospital Center, the Metropolitan Hospital Center, and Mount Sinai Hospital are just some of the respected institutions in the city. 


Does New York City have Free Healthcare?

No, it does not. That's why it's better to have health insurance to help pay for any sort of treatment you'll need in New York City's many hospitals. Something as simple as a checkup can cost a lot without proper coverage. 


What are The 11 Public Hospitals in New York City?

According to the Official Website of the City of New York, the city's public hospitals are

  • - Bellevue Hospital Center

  • - Elmhurst Hospital Center

  • - Harlem Hospital Center

  • - Jacobi Medical Center

  • - Kings County Hospital Center

  • - Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center

  • - Metropolitan Hospital Center

  • - North Central Bronx Hospital

  • - Queens Hospital Center

  • - Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital

  • - Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Safety in New York City

You've probably seen enough TV crime dramas to know that New York City isn't exactly the safest city in the world. With millions of people living here, it's only natural that things aren't always so peaceful in the city. But generally, New York’s crime rates are pretty moderate. Its general crime rate, for instance, is at 53.73%, which is pretty moderate but still a cause for concern. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to shelter yourself at home, but rather a warning sign to encourage you to be more careful when traveling around the city. Even more so since the city's rate of increasing crimes is 59.41%, still pretty moderate but something to keep your eye on just the same! 


How to Stay Safe in New York City

Here are a few tips to stay safe in New York City.

  • - Don't show off your valuables. 

  • - Research about places you plan to visit, especially at night. 

  • - Know where the nearest police stations are.

  • - Avoid going off into dark alleys. 

  • - Remain in the more crowded areas come nightfall. 

  • - Stay accompanied by locals when you go out at night. 

  • - Wear comfy shoes that you can run in. 

  • - Keep your doors locked at all times. 

  • - Stay out of other people's business. 

  • - Don’t ride the subway after midnight. 


How Safe is The Subway in New York City?

The subway is a pretty safe place for the most part. It's the most used mode of public transport in the city. With so many witnesses around, criminals and other dangerous people rarely commit any crimes here. With that said, it pays to still be careful when you're riding the train. Avoid going on the subway during late hours and don't go on train cars that don't have a lot of people in them. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Taxes in New York City

You don't need anyone to tell you that you need to pay taxes in the US. The country is pretty particular about it. It's even become common for the people here to ask the politicians to show their taxes, especially during elections. So yeah, taxes are pretty important in this country. As you're a new resident here, the main gist of the American tax system is that it's divided into three main categories. There are taxes on income, taxes on property, and taxes on goods & services. Living in a place like New York City, you'll probably face all three types of taxes during your stay.


Income Taxes in New York City

Income taxes are pretty important in New York City. It's a major business and finance hub, after all. It's no surprise that such a place is keen on people paying their taxes properly. Here, the tax rates range from a minimum of 4% to a maximum of 5.5%. If you earn up to only $12,800.00 per year, your tax rate is 4%. If you owe up to $107,650.00, on the other hand, you have to pay $901.00 and 5.5% of your annual salary which amounts to over $20,900.00. It's a complex tax system. 


Property Taxes in New York City

Perhaps what's surprising about property taxes in New York City is that they're not as high as you think. Despite how in-demand New York City real estate is, the average property tax rate here is just 0.98%. That's comparatively less than the statewide New York property tax rate, which is 1.62%. And depending on your property's assessed value, you only have to pay property taxes around two to four times a year. 


How Much are Property Taxes in New York City?

As already mentioned, New York City's average property tax rate is 0.98%. In comparison, New York state's average property tax rate is 1.62%. Do note, however, that this is just the average. Your own property tax rate may be a lot higher depending on the size of your real estate, its location, and more. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Relocation Tips for New York Cit


Let’s finish this New York City relocation guide with a few important tips worth following.

  • - Get a job ASAP!

  • - If you can't afford to live alone, get a roommate. 

  • - Pack a lot of winter gear. 

  • - Know which train you'll use frequently in the subway.

  • - Familiarize yourself with the area you're staying in. 

  • - Avoid confrontations at all costs. 

  • - Save money as often as you can. 

  • - Learn how to cook if you live on a strict budget.

  • Stay accompanied when you go out at night. 

Moving to New York: Your Relocation Guide

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Moving to New York City might just be the most important decision you've ever made in your life but you don't have to let it get to you. Rely on this relocation guide to learn the basics of starting a new life in the Big Apple!


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New York City, United States
23 $ / night    
3 bedrooms3 bathrooms5