Questions about living in NY

Hi guys, how's everything ?!

There was no new post on Monday but I finally finished the new layout! I hope you like it. Everything was done with love and attention to details that will make the transition between two languages easier.

Now let's talk about New York ...

As everyone knows, I live in New York. I spent two years studying, going back and forth to Brazil, until I moved here for good in 2015. As there are people from all around the world in NYC, there are a huge amount of Facebook groups of people living abroad with a bunch of questions about moving here.

Lately, I have received many messages from people in the groups and also friends. Because of that, I put together the most common questions about living in New York here:

1 - Is it expensive? What is the average price for rent?

B: Yes. It is very expensive to live here compared to other states. Taxes are higher and anything you buy adds an 8.875% sales tax to the value of the purchase. As for rent, it depends a lot on where you are going to live. Just so you have an idea, the average rent for just a bedroom in Astoria or Brooklyn is between $500-$1200 and in Manhattan $900-$1800. Of course the price also depends on who is renting for you, location, and some other factors.

2 - I have a tight budget. Where can I study English?

B: There are several libraries and churches that offer free classes. But if you want something with a routine of classes and with a lower price, my tip is to look for community colleges near where you live.  Prices are usually lower than the other schools.

3 - Is it cold in the winter?

B: YES !!!! The winter is VERY COLD and I feel like every year it gets worse. The temperatures between January and February are usually below 32 degrees (or 0 degrees in celsius). If you want tips on what to wear to protect yourself from the cold, take a look at the Winter Fashion post!

4 - Can I work with a tourist visa?

B: No! Legally you cannot work with a tourist visa. To work, you need a specific work visa (H1, H2, H3, H4 or O1)

5 - Is it easy to find a job?

B: Tell me. Where on the planet is it easy to get a job? Here it's pretty much the same. There are many job options, but it also depends on which field you are looking for. There are websites like and LinkedIn Jobs where you can filter your job search by companies that provide visas.

6 - How much does it cost to stay in New York?

B: That depends a lot on where you live. I would say you need at least a thousand dollars, not considering rent, to live a simple life and maybe still save a little bit.

7 - What are the best neighborhoods to live in?

B: I'm of course biased but I LOVE Astoria. It was the first neighborhood I lived when I came here and I loved it! I lived in the Upper West Side and Midtown Manhattan, but to be honest, I was very happy to move back here. It is a very residential neighborhood and full of different cultures. The area I live is predominantly Greek. I think it's amazing!!!

There are also nice areas in Brooklyn like Williamsburg, Dumbo, Park Slope. And in Manhattan, I like the extremes: Uptown or Downtown. I think Midtown is too crowded all the time and I, in particular, prefer to live in a quieter neighborhood. But again, it all depends on what you like and also on your budget.

8 - How long can I stay with a tourist visa?

B: You can legally stay in the country for 6 months with the tourist visa and can apply for up to a year and a half extension. The extension gives you 6 months at the time and you can apply it twice as long if you state the reasons you want to stay and prove that you can afford to stay more time in the country. You can download the form (I-539) from the USCIS website, fill the form, and pay a fee of $ 370. This document is what you will need to enter the country again and prove that you did not stay illegally.

It's always good to remember that you don't need to hire a lawyer or agency for this type of application. There are many people charging for this service, but you can fill it out yourself without any problems. I myself did this process and guaranteed the extension of my stay without any help. If anyone wants to know more about this, leave a comment here or send me an email.(

9 - How do I get a student visa?

B: First, it all depends on how long you're staying. For courses of up to 6 months, no student visa is required. If you plan to stay longer, check with the school of your choice. Most English courses provide the paperwork for student visa but courses like cooking, arts, or theater do not always have that option. The best thing to do is to take a look at what the school provides.

10 - How can I get a Green Card?

B: The Green Card is acquired by work or marriage.

When you are hired by a company, you receive the Green Card as proof of your residence in the country. It is linked to the condition of the bond with the contractor and its validity also depends on the company. Not all jobs give you a Green Card though, usually just the big companies do. The most common document provided by the contractor is the work visa.

The marriage one is acquired through your spouse and it is bound by the condition of staying married for 2 years. After that period, you need to renew it and in that renewal, the condition is removed. Of course, you have to prove you are still married. It is a whole new process.

Both processes are not simple. There are a number of steps where you must prove employment or a legitimate marriage. The forms are also available online at the USCIS website and there you will also find instructions on how to submit paperwork.