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The steps involved in finding and renting an apartment

How the apartment hunting process works.

When immigrants come to the United States, they know that one of their first priorities is to find a job so that they can send money to their families. As important as this may be, however, it may be even more vital to find a place that they can come home to.

Immigrants are likely well aware that the state of housing in the U.S. isn't as healthy as it has been in the past, with many property values losing their value. Perhaps as a result of few people buying homes, there's been an increase in the number of people renting properties, such as condominiums and apartment units.

While immigrants may have a goal of eventually a buying a home of their own, they're typically in financial situations more conducive for renting. However, given immigrants' newness to the country, they may be unsure of what they need to do to begin the process.

To help, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers a few tips.

The best way to find a place is simply by looking around. When driving or walking in an area, there will likely be signs saying "Apartment Available" or "For Rent." Immigrants who are apartment hunting may also want to peruse their newspapers under the "Classified" section, as this part of a newspaper has the contact information for people who are renting out residences. Other ways the source advises immigrants of finding a place to live includes asking friends who they may work with or checking the internet. If consistent web access isn't available, public libraries typically have computers with internet accessibility offered to local residents.

The next part of the rental process is meeting with the building's landlord. As the USCIS indicates, "landlords" are the people that own the building that's being rented out.

In the process of speaking to the landlord about the unit, they will likely ask that a rental application be filled out. This is so the landlord knows what the immigrant's background is and if they have a steady job to pay for the property. These forms require that the immigrant fill in pertinent information, such as their Social Security number, name and proof of employment. Establishing proof may involve listing the contact information for their company's boss or attaching a pay stub to the application.

Helpful links:

Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants
Department of Housing and Urban Development
NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center

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