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According to Itamaraty, about 1.9 million Brazilians live in the United States. Whether looking for a better financial situation, security or a better future for their children, no other country attracts more immigrants from Brazil than the U.S. However, only some consider the many challenges of starting a new life in another country. Immigration lawyer Marcelo Gondim, who has already assisted thousands of Brazilians in their U.S. visa and green card processes, provides some examples of unexpected day-to-day situations that can make a difference in the planning and adaptation process in the U.S.

Fluency in English is essential: “As incredible as it sounds, many Brazilians who have lived in the U.S. for years have never bothered to learn English. This is a big mistake because not knowing how to communicate in the local language makes people miss better job opportunities. Especially for new generations of immigrants, in an increasingly globalized world, speaking English is essential to achieving a more valued professional future and a whole interaction in American society.

Say goodbye to labor laws: “Very few holidays, half-hours lunch, non-paid overtime work companies that do not offer any benefit besides salary, etc. For many people, this is the reality of the labor market in the U.S.  Of course, there are compensations, such as high salaries and many job opportunities. Still, the Brazilian immigrant must prepare to “let go” of the labor protection accustomed to the Brazilian Laws.

Learn about the American credit system: “New immigrants must understand how the country’s credit system (Score) works. You can open a bank account the same day you arrive in the country, but it takes time to gain the trust of the U.S. financial system. The Score grows as you create ties with the United States t, such as renting an apartment, buying a vehicle, paying your bills on time, etc. Similarly, this Score may drop if you cannot honor your commitments, apply for a loan, etc. Maintaining a good score is vital to anything in the United States.

Forget the Brazilian “Jeitinho”: “The U.S. is an organized society, with objective laws and exemplary punishments for those who try to circumvent the system. The famous “jeitinho” has no chance in the country, and this is perceived in everyday life, in all social circles. Forget things like “skip the line” or “withholding taxes” and just follow the rules.”

Complicated health care system: “Probably the worst part of living in the U.S. is facing the American health care system. Public care is inefficient and limited, making it very difficult to live in the country without paying for private medical insurance. Even so, the overwhelming majority of insurance doesn’t cover all expenses, and it’s not unusual to have to spend a few hundred (or even thousands) dollars to make simple appointments and treatments with doctors and dentists.”

Climate difficulties: “A lot of people think this part is easy but living in a place with a very different climate is not so simple and remains one of the main factors that lead an immigrant to give up and return to their home country. Not coincidentally, most Brazilian immigrants seek Florida and California, which have temperatures closer to Brazil’s. Besides the cold, living in the U.S. means preparing for natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and blizzards, which are natural phenomena that don’t exist in Brazil.

Don’t stay illegal under any circumstances: “Legalizing your immigration situation is the best starting point for a successful future in the United States. Remember that without being properly documented, an immigrant will permanently live without rights and constantly fear being arrested or deported. There are many opportunities to legalize before U.S. authorities. So, stay away from bad advice and seek a legal immigration path in the U.S.


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