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A Guide to Moving in the United States of America (USA)

After arriving in the U.S. to study or work, it is very likely that you will need to move while living in the U.S. and this article will be discussing how you would do that. For international students (F1 visaM1 visaJ1 visa), you may have to move to another geographical location during your practical training time (OPT, CPT, PT, AT) which might be during summer breaks or after graduation.

Table of Contents

Moving Long Distance

When you are moving far away from where you are living, the best option would be to sell the furniture because hiring a moving company to deliver furniture is very expensive in the U.S.A. Unless the furniture is very valuable, most of the time it would be more logical to sell it or even donate it if you do not want to deal with the hassle of meeting with buyers. 

So, for example, if you are moving a one-bedroom apartment cross state from New York City to Los Angeles using a professional moving company, the average should at least be around $5000 USD to $10,000 depending on how many things you have and the exact distance. Most international students (F1 visaM1 visaJ1 visa) usually do not have that much valuable furniture and the cost of moving those furniture would probably be more expensive than the price of the furniture. So, in most scenarios for international students moving cross country (or any type of long distance moving), selling or donating furniture before moving would be more logical.



The following paragraph includes resources on where to sell your used-items before moving in the U.S.A.

Selling Everything You Are Not Bringing

Before moving in the U.S.A., you should get rid of everything that is easy to replace or not valuable to you and replace all those things after you move. You can get rid of your items by selling them or by donating them.

Selling Used Items in The U.S.

  • Student Facebook Group (usually there are always some facebook group where the U.S. school’s students can sell things which should be the fastest way to sell) 

  • Craigslist

  • Facebook Marketplace

  • Offerup

  • Ebay

  • Remoov

  • Recycler

  • Chairish (higher quality furniture & home décor items) 

  • 1stDibs (higher quality furniture & home décor items)­ 

  • Local consignment store 

Sell Back Your Textbooks (Textbook Buyback)

Before moving in the U.S.A. as an international student (F1 visaM1 visaJ1 visa), you can sell back your textbooks online. You can use sell-back price comparison websites first to see which online platform is offering the highest price for your textbook. The process is usually simple and easy. Usually, the used-book company will give you a shipping label and then you just mail it in to the used-book company. 


Selling Used-Clothes Online In The U.S.A.

If you are getting rid of a lot of clothes and do not want to deal with listing the item to sell it before moving in the U.S., you can consider mailing it to thredUP where they choose what clothing items to list for people to buy online and what to throw out. If you use thredUP, you won’t need to deal with taking photos and selling the item yourself, however, the payout is much lower than selling it yourself. 

  • thredUP (you send all your clothes with a clean-out bag that has a prepaid shipping label they provide and they sort out the clothes and decide what to sell: you don’t need to do any listing and you only get paid if your item sells) 

  • Poshmark (it is like ebay for clothes where you will need to take photos and sell directly to the customer, similar to Depop) 

  • Depop (it is like ebay for clothes where you will need to take photos and sell directly to the customer, similar to Poshmark) 

  • The RealReal (this is for when you have used luxury-based designer items that you want to sell) 

  • Vestiarie Collective (this is for when you have used luxury-based designer items that you want to sell)

  • Crossroads (similar to thredUP, where you can order a free clean-out bag with a pre-paid shipping label to mail in, and they will evaluate what they intend to sell and pay you) 


The following paragraph includes resources on where to donate your used-items before moving in the U.S.A.

Donating Unwanted Items

When donating, you have to check the specific charity to see what type of items they accept and if they have a location where you are in the U.S.A. For example, some charities such as Pickup Please do not accept large furniture or appliances such as sofas or TVs.

Also, some U.S. charities allow you to schedule pickups from you and some require you to bring the item to their location. So, you would have to check if it works for your situation. 

DONATION IN THE U.S.A. 在美國捐獻二手物品


When moving in the U.S., you have to first decide if you want to move with a professional moving company or by yourself. The cost of moving with a professional company is not cheap in the U.S. and you will need to remember to add a tip to the movers. The moving costs in the U.S. can change depending on the exact miles, season, availability, the weight of your items…etc. 

Before moving in the United States, you can first get a general idea of how much the move might cost you through different moving methods using a moving cost calculator for evaluation.

Best And Cheapest Way For International Students To Move Long-Distance In The U.S.

The best way and cheapest way for international students (F1 visaM1 visaJ1 visa) to move long-distance, would be to sell all furniture and unwanted items locally and then drive your car to the new location. You can load the important items on your car and mail unimportant small items in boxes to the carrier’s location (such as the USPS office closest to your new place). You can also load extra items onto the top of your car by using a “car roof cargo carrier” if you do not have enough space inside your car.


Shipping Your Items In Boxes


However, if you have larger items you would like to move with you in the U.S., you would then have to consider using a professional moving company, moving pods, or rent trucks.

Professional Moving Companies

Reputable professional moving companies in the U.S.A. are not cheap. Using a professional moving company in the U.S. for a short-distance local move, could still be around at least $500 to $1000 USD for a one bedroom or studio. For long distance moving using professional moving companies in the U.S., one-bedroom or studio’s could cost at least around $5000 to $10,000 USD.  

Some Commonly-Known U.S. Professional Moving Companies


Moving Pods

A cheaper way to move larger items such as furniture yourself in the U.S. is using moving pods. Moving pods are large containers, where the company drops it off to where you live and you fill it up with the items you want delivered. After you fill the moving pod up, the shipping company will come pick it up and deliver it to your new apartment or house. Also, moving pods works best for houses, because sometimes apartment complexes do not allow moving pods to sit in the parking lot for a long time.

Moving pods is a cheaper alternative to using professional moving companies, however, it is still not cheap for long-distance moves in the U.S. Using moving pods for long-distance (such as from New York City to Los Angeles) one-bedroom or studio moves could cost at least around $3000 to $4,000 USD.  

Some Commonly-Known U.S. Moving Pod Companies


Rent Trucks

Another cheaper way to move bigger items such as furniture yourself in the U.S. is using rental trucks. Renting trucks to move is very common in the U.S. and the whole process is quite simple. You rent and pick-up the truck from the rental truck office near where you currently live and then drop-off the truck to the rental truck office near where you move to. The pick-up and drop-off usually can be done just using the rental truck company’s app such as U-Haul

Renting trucks for long-distance one-bedroom or studio moves such as from New York City to Los Angeles, could cost at least around $3000 to $4,000 USD.  

Some Commonly-Known U.S. Moving Rental Truck Companies

Renting Trucks Just For A Shorter Time Frame

RENT TRUCKS IN THE U.S.A. 在美國租用卡車&貨車來搬家

Moving Shipping Bidding

In shipping bidding websites, you can list what you want to ship in the U.S. and people can bid on the job. You will need to be more careful when using this and look at reviews because the people who bid are private third-party individuals. 


Rent Movers

You can also find movers to rent for the hour in the U.S. if you just need some extra help with moving. 

RENT MOVERS IN THE U.S.A. 在美國雇用搬家人力的平台

Some Last Tips On Moving In The U.S.A.

  • Moving in the summer time (May to September) is more expensive than moving in the winter


  • Moving on the weekends or at the end of the month usually is more expensive


  • Some mattress now can be shrunk into a smaller size so you can load it into your car
moving house loading in car




Academic Students (F1 visa)

Vocational Students (M1 visa)

Students, Research Scholars, Professors, Exchange Visitors, Interns, Trainees, Foreign Medical Doctors (J1 visa)


Tourists (B2 visa)

Tourists Using ESTA (VWP visa, Visa Waiver Program)


Immigrant Visas (Green Card)

Extraordinary Ability in the Science, Art, Education, Business, Athletic field (EB1a Employment Based Green Card)

Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB1b Employment Based Green Card)

Multinational Manager and Executive (EB1c Employment Based Green Card)

Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability Worker (EB2 Employment Based Green Card)

Professional Workers, Skilled Workers and Other Unskilled Labor Workers (EB2 Employment Based Green Card )

Religious Workers and Special Immigrants (EB4 Employment Based Green Card)

Business Owner and Investors (EB5 Employment Based Green Card)

Nonimmigrant Visas (Temporary Visas)

Workers in Various Fields:

Temporary Business and Tourism Visitor (B1 visa & B2 visa)

Extraordinary Ability in the Science, Education, Business and Athletics field (O1A visa)

Specialty Occupation Workers (H1B Visa)

Specialty Occupation Workers for Person from Chile or Singapore (H1B1 Visa)

Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia (E3 visa)

Professional Workers from Canada and Mexico (TN Visa)

Specialized Knowledge Transferee (L1B Visa)

Temporary Skilled and Unskilled Workers (H2B Visa)

Trainees and Special Education Exchange Visitor (H3 Visa)

Business Owners or Workers in Business Related Fields:

Manager and Executive Transferee (L1A Visa)

Treaty Traders or Their Employees (E1 visa)

Treaty Investors or Their Employees (E2 visa)

Workers in Art (Entertainment) or Athletic Related Fields:

Fashion Models (H1B3 Visa)

Extraordinary ability in the Arts and Extraordinary Achievements in Motion Pictures and Television (O1B visa)

Essential Support Staff for O1B Workers (O2 visa)

Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group (P1B visa)

Reciprocal Exchange Program (P2 visa)

Culturally Unique Program (P3 visa)

Internationally Recognized Athlete (P1A visa)

Essential Support Staff for P Visa Workers (P1S/P2S/P3S visa)

Workers in Other Specific Fields:

Temporary Religious Worker (R1 visa)

Agricultural Workers (H2A Visa)

U.S. Department of Defense Workers (H1B2 Visa)


Immigrant Visas (Green Card)

Family of U.S. Green Card Holder:

Marriage to U.S. Green Card Holder (F2A Marriage Based Green Card)

Unmarried Adult Child of Green Card Holder (F2B Family Based Green Card)

Family of U.S. Citizen:

Marriage to U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1 Marriage Based Green Card)

Unmarried Adult Child of U.S. Citizen (F1 Family Based Green Card)

Married Children of U.S. Citizen (F3 Family Based Green Card)

Brother or Sister of U.S. Citizen (F4 Family Based Green Card)

Parents of U.S. Citizen (F5 Family Based Green Card)

Widow(er) of Deceased U.S. Citizen (EB4 Family Based Green Card)

Nonimmigrant Visas (Temporary Visas)

Foreign Fiance(e) (K1 visa)

Foreign Spouse (K3 visa)

Dependent Children of Foreign Fiance(e) (K2 visa)

Dependent Children of Foreign Spouse (K4 visa)